Archive for January, 2012

SOPA:Killing Free Speech? Or, a Misunderstood Bill?

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

If you opened a newspaper or booted up a computer in the last few weeks, you likely heard of SOPA.  But what is SOPA, what are the proponents and opponents of SOPA saying, and what is the future of SOPA?

What is SOPA?

The ‘Stop Online Piracy Act,’ better known around the United Stated by as SOPA, is a bill introduced by U.S. Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX).  The Bill was designed to expand the scope of law enforcement to better fight the online trafficking of copyrighted materials. The law would expand existing criminal laws to include unauthorized streaming of copyright material, imposing a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The full text of the bill can be found online at The Library of Congress.

Proponents of SOPA

Proponents of the bill argue that SOPA protects intellectual property and corresponding industries, jobs, and revenue, while bolstering the enforcement of current copyright laws. Proponents also claim that piracy costs the U.S. economy up to $250 billion a year. Some sources dispute those numbers including the authors at Freakonomics.com and The U.S. Government Accountability Office, who in an April 2010 report, reports that  estimating economic losses from piracy are “extremely difficult.”

Opponents of SOPA

Opponents of the bill claim that SOPA threatens free speech and innovation while bypassing the “safe harbor” protections from liability presently afforded to Internet sites by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Furthermore, opponents of SOPA believe the bill could bring about an unprecedented censorship of the Web.

Is SOPA Dead?

Last Friday – January 20, 2012 – following an outpouring of opposition (including a petition drive by the Internet juggernaut Google that attracted more than 7 million participants and a one-day blackout by the online encyclopedia Wikipedia) Senate and House leaders promised to put off further action on legislation to combat online piracy.

So yes, SOPA is dead…for now.

How do you feel about SOPA?   Please comment below.

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If you have questions, contact the market research specialists at Observation Baltimore by calling 410-332-0400 or click here today!

Observation Baltimore has been serving the market research industry for two decades, consistently rated “One of the World’s Best,” by Impulse Survey. Our experienced recruiting is the foundation of our mission, as well as courteous and proactive hospitality and client services.  We understand market research!

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Sources:

Stop Online Piracy Act Wikipedia.com

SOPA and PIPA: What Went Wrong? PCWorld

SOPA is dead, Smith pulls the bill CBSNews.com

The History of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Friday, January 20th, 2012

On April 4, 1968, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was struck down by an assassin’s bullet. Soon after the civil rights icon’s death, Congressman John Conyers Jr. of Michigan introduced legislation seeking to make Dr. King’s birthday, January 15, a federal holiday. But nothing came to pass.

Even in 1971, after the Southern Christian Leadership Conference – which Dr. King headed until his death – presented Congress with a petition signed by more than 3 million people supporting a federal holiday, nothing happened.

Soon, individual states – including Illinois, Massachusetts and Connecticut – began to pass their own bills proclaiming January 15 a state holiday. But still, no federal holiday.

Then, in 1979, President Jimmy Carter vowed to support the formation of a federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an action that reenergized Coretta Scott King, the widow of the slain civil rights leader. Coretta organized a nationwide lobby to support the bill. Still, the Conyers’ King-holiday bill was defeated in the House (by just 5 votes). But Coretta continued to fight for her late husband, testifying before Congress several times and mobilizing governors, mayors, and city council members across the country to make the passage of a King-holiday bill part of their agenda. But still, no federal holiday.

In 1980, singer Stevie Wonder joined the cause. He and Coretta presented a second petition to Congress, this one containing more than 6 million signatures in support of a federal holiday. Despite strong opposition, both the House and the Senate passed the bill. And on November 2, 1983 – 15 years after Dr. King’s death – President Ronald Reagan signed the King Holiday Bill into law.

“This is not a black holiday; it is a people’s holiday,” said Coretta Scott King.

The first official Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed on the third Monday of January 1986. However, it was not until 2000, 17 years after the bill was signed into law, that the last state – South Carolina – signed a bill recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday.

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If you have any questions, contact the market research specialists at Observation Baltimore by calling 410-332-0400 or click here today!

Observation Baltimore has been serving the market research industry for two decades, consistently rated “One of the World’s Best,” by Impulse Survey. Our experienced recruiting is the foundation of our mission, as well as courteous and proactive hospitality and client services.  We understand market research!

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, Google+, and LinkedIn!

Facility Fervor

Friday, January 13th, 2012

This week, we provide useful tips and resources for researchers to help locate focus group facility partners.

How do you find great focus group facility partners?

Technology provides the most efficient source for locating focus group facilities in new markets. Greenbook.org, the AMA New York Chapter’s product, is our personal favorite. You can search by location, company name, or service. The MRA Blue Book, Impulse Survey, and Quirks Marketing Research Review, are also valuable resources. These resources are available in hard copy, as well.

Recommendations by satisfied peers or colleagues provide a confidence level beyond a search vehicle. QRCA is a great resource, as is RIVA, to establish relationships.

How do you determine if a new facility will best serve your project?

The Impulse Survey provides insight from past clients who take the time to rate facility experiences. Additional clues that a facility will be an effective partner:

Responsiveness: How quickly do they respond to your RFP? Do they provide answers to your questions, without reiteration? What types of questions do they ask about your recruitment? Do they review with you specific quotas before the project is launched? Do they proactively communicate deliverables and timelines?

Price: The least expensive is not always the best option. A quality recruit (the priority) takes experience, time, and rich resources. Requesting multiple bids from various facilities will provide an understanding of cost in that market.

Technology: Focus Vision, Active Group, and wireless Internet are mainstays in the facility business. If a facility does not offer these services, it’s likely their physical location lacks other creature comforts, as well.

Food: We all know that food is the second priority to recruiting. Keeping observers content while they are in the dark is important, as is making sure the moderator is well taken care of while juggling research objectives, participants, and clients. Be sure to request (if it is not noted) that the facility provides a dedicated host/hostess to your project. This is especially important for projects where methodologies require highly responsive, between-group assistance.

At Observation Baltimore, Experienced Recruiting Makes All the Difference! Highly responsive, professional service is our goal. For over 19 years, we get it!

If you have any questions, contact the market research specialists at Observation Baltimore by calling 410-332-0400 or click here today!

Observation Baltimore has been serving the market research industry for two decades, consistently rated “One of the World’s Best,” by Impulse Survey. Our experienced recruiting is the foundation of our mission, as well as courteous and proactive hospitality and client services.  We understand market research!

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn!

Making a Positive Change in 2012

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Regardless of the resource you consult, “resolution” is defined as a promise, pledge, oath, or vow to change. Change of behavior is our expertise! We could publish a plethora of white papers based on collective recommendations (gleaned through qualitative prowess, of course) of behavior influencers, impact of distinct stimulus, and identifying primary drivers of habit – that’s what we do!

Likewise, change for qualitative scholars should be a breeze.

If defining your resolution is significantly easier than accomplishing change, we provide scholarly advice of the academic and historic ilk.

According to John F. Kennedy: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

As we research the topic of change, many familiar terms emerge: Attitude & Information, Reinforcement, Environment, Incentives, and Social Influencers & Behavior Modeling. It seems we might be well- prepared for change, and importantly, applying what we’ve learned through our work can prove personally gratifying.

In addition to a thoughtful written plan of action, the following primary elements of successfully accomplishing change may enlighten the path:

  1. Attitude & Information: Establishing a realistic goal and sufficient time to accomplish it (old news I know) is consistently reiterated. That said, uncompromised belief in change is essential. Informational rationale should serve as your impetus. Research the topic with vigor and take notes on critical supportive elements. Beginning this way will cognitively establish your goal as important and provide tangible benefits toward the efforts. “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.” Abraham Lincoln
  2. Reinforcement: As the business of life takes over, goals towards change can be challenged. Reinforcement can evolve as recruiting a partner in your goal, inputting “reminders” on your outlook calendar, posting inspiring images (or typed reminders noted from your research) in prominent places, or subscribing to electronic daily inspirations. “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” Elbert Hubbard
  3. Environment: Changing the environment where your behavioral issues occur is a necessary reinforcement. Examples: limiting spending may require leaving credit cards at home (or destroying them), improving time management may require use of a stop watch or complete a timesheet for a month; exercising more or losing weight might require daily gym clothes in your car, or stocking health snacks at work. To change stubborn behaviors, “establishing beneficial or replacing destructive habits are necessary.” “To fly, we have to have resistance.” Maya Lin
  4. Incentives: Effective for respondent cooperation and change-seekers alike! Similar to multi-phase research studies, academics recommend interim and final incentives to sustain behavior changes. Common sense and caution should be utilized when establishing incentives, and it is recommended that the reward be external to the category. For example, a purchase is not appropriate for limiting spending goals. “In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.” Robert Green Ingersoll
  5. Social Influence and Modeling Behavior: Surround yourself with people who currently display the behaviors you desire. Make new friends at the gym, yoga class, work, or establish supportive connections through a social networking site. Distancing yourself (at least temporarily until new behaviors are established) from destructive influencers and replacing the time spent with encouraging people will reinforce the habits you are changing. “All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity are easy. Stay away from easy.” Scott Alexander

Cheers to making a positive change in 2012!

If you have any questions, contact the market research specialists at Observation Baltimore by calling 410-332-0400 or click here today!

Observation Baltimore has been serving the market research industry for two decades, consistently rated “One of the World’s Best,” by Impulse Survey. Our experienced recruiting is the foundation of our mission, as well as courteous and proactive hospitality and client services.  We understand market research!

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn!