Have you ever been on a web site looking for information, and the first thing they present is a “Will you take a survey” pop-up? What about where you order something, and they demand your phone number – it’s a mandatory option – you must give them a number – so you make one up. Or how about a web site which demands you select your STATE from a drop down list, but you live in the UK, Germany or South America – so you end up picking Alaska because it’s the first on the list?
Now don’t get me wrong, all of this can provide useful information – but there is a time, and a place, and a question of is it relevant. I would suspect that the pop-up surveys would only be used by people with an axe to grind (or those who are really, really bored). I would also suspect that all the phone numbers held in peoples databases are wrong – if you FORCE me to provide a phone number to order a pair of socks on your web site, you can bet your going to get a “99999999” phone number.
There are some exceptions. Based on advice from blogs of master marketers that I read, pop-up ‘follow me on twitter’ or pop-up/side bar ‘join my mailing list’ have a value – but to ask for a survey for a first time visitor – just seems like a bad idea.
If you are going to ask for surveys, send them out to people you know and make sure they are relevant. And if you’re going to ask for phone numbers or other personal information, make them optional and remember that not everybody lives in the same country as you.