Banking on Your Trust

Despite a raft of new regulations and capital requirements designed to protect consumers and strengthen banks, consumer confidence in financial institutions continues to plummet.   –

This according to a financial industry consulting group called Center for Financial Services Innovation. Here are the grim statistics:

  • 87% of consumers have little or no confidence in the trustworthiness of their bank.
  • 55% say institutions don’t offer clear and simple policies.
  • 53% don’t feel financial institutions share customer values.
  • Almost 50% lack confidence that banks live up to their promises and commitments.
Yours free when you roll over your 401k

In response, the Center for Financial Services Innovation is making some radical suggestions. You can read about them here. Basically they are saying, instead of making clever commercials about how they help their customers get ahead and improve their lives, banks should actually DO those things!

Freaky, I know.

It’s interesting…people are often more pessimistic in the broad view, while looking more positively at their own circumstance. (Congress sucks, but my representative is cool.) So, what do you think? Is the banking industry full of crooks, or just misunderstood? Are you happy with your own bank? Let us know!

Netflix: Self-inFLIXted Wounds

Have you been following the implosion of Netflix lately? I know, it’s not easy! The video rental business built its name on home DVD-rental delivery. More recently, they have also been offering streaming content to their higher-tier customers, basically for free. Well, them days is done, son! And the fans are irate.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings with self-inflicted wounds. This might be Photoshopped.

The problem is that they tried to build their streaming service by giving it away for free, as an add-on to their snail-mail DVD service. This was a good way to add customers. But the history of the internet indicates that once you convince people something is supposed to be free, or close to it, you will have a devilishly hard time getting them to pay for it.   Megan McArdle, Atlantic Monthly

Particularly when Netflix apparently knew from day one that home-delivered DVD’s were a short-term gateway drug to eventually get us hooked on streaming video. They always knew they would have to start charging for this content eventually, so how did they screw it up so badly? Jacking up the price by 60%, enraging their customers, then splitting the business in two, with Netflix as streaming only and Qwikster for DVD’s. Bottom line, they are expecting to lose 1 million customers in the short term!

So, let’s hear it, Netflix fans. Were you shocked, angry, or indifferent? Let us know!

Update October 10, 2011… Now they have scrapped the whole idea! What a head-scratcher!

iPhone Losing Its Cool?

“There’s an interesting thing that’s going on in the market. The iPhone has become a little less cool than it was.”

Now, here at MindField we love our iPods, iPhones, iPads, you name it. We’d like to think it’s because they’re innovative, they work well (alone and together) and they have great apps. We’d like to think it’s NOT for the Apple “cool factor”…because that wouldn’t be cool somehow.

But the cool factor is a big part of it for a lot of people. Believe me, I know. I worked at a company that made cases and power accessories for Apple products. The boss would call a staff meeting. 30 people would gather around the big table, and all of them would immediately whip out their iPhones. Heck, about a third of them had iPads, too. And here I was with a dumb old Nokia flip-phone.

So when my wife’s boss was giving up his iPhone 3GS and upgrading to an iPhone 4, I jumped at his used model. Social faux pas averted! Coolness achieved!

So, when I read this article, “Has the iPhone Lost its Cool?”, I got a bit of a chuckle. Basically, it says that college kids are turning away from iPhone for one or both of the following reasons: first, if their parents love the iPhone – as parents definitely do – there must be something terribly LAME about it. Also, if you want an iPhone, you’d better be ready to lay down at least three bills for it – unless you buy a creaky old 3GS like mine! Meanwhile, nicely capable Android phones are available at a variety of price points.

Now, bear in mind, this article was based on an Android executive’s personal experience dropping his daughter off at her college dorm – so take it with a grain of salt! But what do you think? Has the iPhone lost some of its luster? Are you just as happy with an Android? Let us know!’s “Missoni Impossible”

If you are totally in the dark – or a dude – Missoni is an Italian knitwear designer. They are the latest “big get” for mega-retailer Target. They teamed up to provide Target shoppers with their wide-ranging line of EXTREMELY popular knitwear. But the big launch didn’t go so smoothly!

Comedian Louis C.K. has a bit about people becoming violently frustrated with their smartphones: “Come ON! Download! Stupid thing!” Louie says, “Could you relax? It has to go to outer space and back to provide you a convenience you couldn’t have imagined 10 years ago!”

Something to think about because, during last week’s big launch day, shoppers completely MELTED Target‘s online store,  Millions of online shoppers saw the following message:

How can you stay mad at Toolbox Dog? He's got a little toolbox!

And how did they react? How do you think? According to the article, there was a whole lot of “What the ____? Bummer! Totally p*ssed off!” on all the discussion boards.

Meanwhile, the lucky shoppers who had gotten through and glommed up all the merchandise prior to the meltdown were already on eBay, reselling at premium prices.  Come on! These aren’t Beanie Babies or Cabbage Patch Kids!

So anyway, no big judgment here, other than to say if you are going to whip up a consumer frenzy, you’d better be able to handle the traffic! So how about you? Were you part of the madness? Did you score, or were you shut out? Let us know!

Qualifying for Surveys, Revisited

If you are a member of MindField Online Internet Panels – or any other reputable survey company – you know that it can be hard to qualify for surveys at times. Sometimes you respond to an invitation, begin to answer some of the background questions and, before you know it, the survey has “kicked you out.” That can be a bummer, and you have probably wondered why it happens. Today, we will try to explain.

We wrote that blog post about 10 months ago, referred people back to it from time to time, and eventually we made its own dedicated page. We wanted it to be permanently on display, because we know that Qualifying is an important topic, and often a sore subject.

As we say, MindField Online has a responsibility to get our members as many survey opportunities as we can. We also have a responsibility to our clients to get them good, detailed, usable data. Qualifying is where those two concerns meet.

So, we invite you to read the page, “Bringing Clarity to Online Survey Qualification” once again. You’ll learn more about the how and why of qualifying, as well as a few tips on improving your chances at completing more surveys.

MindField Facebook Fan Update for September

Once again, we have updated the Panelist Reviews page with a fresh batch of, um, panelist reviews from happy MindField Online Facebook fans. Lets take a look at them, including this white-hot chunk of satisfaction from Timmie – who seems to like exclamation points as much as WE do!

Timmie says: It sure makes you proud when you go to the store & find the product you tested knowing that you helped make it available to others!! Also, there’s a bunch of fine fun folk here. No auto response computers! Amazing what a relief it is to talk to real people!! You guys make this panel fun!!!!!

Read the rest here. And THANKS, MindField friends!!

Blogging Year in Review, el parte dos

Yesterday we began our two-part blogging year in review looking at the various pieces we did about the consumer testing industry in general, and MindField Online in particular. Today, let’s recall the ways we reached out to panelists like YOU!

We announced fun cash and prize giveaways, like

And when we reached those milestones and held the drawings, we featured the names, pictures and bios of as many of the winners as we could:

Early on, we reached out to long-time members and asked them to tell their stories:

We really wanted to do more of these, but we found that people are generally shy about too much attention.

Meanwhile, we began collecting satisfied members’ comments on Facebook. Back when we had about 5,000 fans, we made a blog post with a bunch of these comments. We kept updating them about every month or so, and finally decided they needed their own page. We update the Panelist Reviews page monthly, and it’s coming up next week!

Well, that’s the year in review! Thanks for everything, MindField Online friends and family…and stay tuned!

Blogging Year in Review, el parte uno

This week marks the one-year anniversary of MindField Online jumping into the world of social media, including the blog, our Facebook page and Twitter feed. In social media, old stuff tends to get buried under new, and useful info sometimes gets lost. So for this reason (as well as misplaced nostalgia) we take a two-part look at the past year.

We took time to learn about Consumer Testing. Some of it was “inside baseball,” as they say, others were pretty useful!

Along the way, we took time to discuss features, changes and improvements to the system, including

Looking back, one thing becomes clear: we use a LOT of exclamation points! Anyway, this is just SOME of the excitement we have perpetrated in the past year. More tomorrow, and THIS time it gets personal! Exclamation point!

Labor Day Open Discussion

OK, your humble blogger is north of 40 in age, and he remembers when almost nobody’s mom worked outside the home. Then, when mom got a job, it was to get out of the house, or to have some personal spending money. Now, 66% of moms with kids have jobs!

Check out the chart to the left, From The Two-Income Trap

Now please, always take statistics with a grain of salt. As Homer Simpson said, “People can make statistics say anything they want, and 54% of people know that!”

Basically, it says that while incomes have close to doubled, we have nearly half as much money left over than we used to.

I guess my point is, times are tough. We all have to work, more or less. So how do you make it work in your family? Cut back on frills? Clip coupons? Join online consumer panels and complete surveys for money and prizes? Let us know!