Boycott Watch
July 17, 2006
Emailing Polls Which People Hate Only Encourages
More Polls On The Same Topic
Summary: Some Jews are boycotting CNN claiming an anti-Israel bias, yet regularly forward Internet polls on to friends not realizing they are helping CNN make money despite their boycott. Boycott Watch gets to the truth behind polls on news websites and why the news agencies seldom quote their own polls.
    Emails regularly circulate asking people to visit news websites and vote for their positions in polls. Such emails may also contain commentary about perceived website bias on the topic as well as pleas to sway the poll outcome. These are unscientific polls designed for the sole propose of drawing people to the website in order to make money by displaying advertisements. Additionally, almost nobody but the actual voters ever see the poll results and then usually only while voting. These polls, therefore, are likely to only affect the personal egos of the voters.

   Looking at a random poll on half way through the day, the particular poll has had more than 500K respondents, and that does not include the people who look at the poll but do not vote for whatever reason. There are different ad types on the pages, and each ad type pays a different amount of money per-thousand ads displayed. I saw 4 display ads, a Yahoo tie-in plus pop-under ads. Conservatively estimating an average of $4 per thousand ads rate, let's do the math:

500K voters (K=1000)
5 ads per person
= 2500K ads displayed.

   2500K ads at $4 per K, results in an estimated $10,000 of income for CNN for the one-day poll ½ way through the polls run, and the evening rush had yet to begin, thus the total number of ads displayed will likely double at the least, especially as the emails are forwarded in multiples. So, the more people forward such polls to their friends in order to influence the poll numbers, the more people are encouraging polls about topics they are sensitive to may or wish never to have been posted to begin with. "This is business," said Boycott Watch president Fred Taub, "the bigger the poll response, the more polls that will appear on that topic." CNN will probably bring in more than $25K from this daily poll alone, not to mention readers of this page which have nothing to do with the poll.

   So much for Jews boycotting CNN with "CNN LIES" bumper stickers in order to punish CNN for a perceived anti-Israel bias. By passing along Israel-related polls to their friends, boycotters are actually helping their boycott target make money, thus defeating their own boycott efforts.

   These polls are also non-scientific and therefore have no bearing. Website polls are, therefore, statistically meaningless, yet they draw people to the ads, and that is what these polls are actually for. There may be, however, PR benefits to participating - you decide.

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