Julie Lemaster, an MBA student at the University of California- Riverside, has written an interesting paper (which is posted to the Sloan Center for Internet Retailing web site) entitled "Online Panel Management and Strategies: An Introduction for Managers." It is an introductory guide to managers who have been asked or have decided it is time to start looking into online market research for their companies.
Lemaster contrasts full-service providers, such as M/A/R/C and SSI against complex and potentially expensive "self-serve" packages from Confirmit, Globalpark, GMI, and SurveyZ to low cost providers such as QuestionPro, Survey.com, SurveyMoney, and Zoomerang.
The abstract of the paper summarizes it as providing…
"…an introductory guide to managers who have been asked or have decided it is time to start looking into online market research for their company. The size of the company you work for does not matter, as we will discuss several methods that can be used for any size company or investment level. This paper is for managers who want to quickly learn the basic issues of online market research panels. It will also be useful to managers who need to become familiar with some of the major providers of online panel management."
In addition to reviewing the providers and the various strategies for organizing your panel, Lemaster discusses a variety incentives that can be used to motivate and retain participants, such as lotteries, bonus points, and raffles.