Sampling methods discussed in Chapter 7 are also used in Internet marketing research. The major problem in Internet marketing research is the availability of suitable, accurate sampling frames. E-mail lists are very unreliable at present and the proliferation of spam in the marketplace means that many prospective respondents will delete an e-mail that was not expected or of immediate relevance or interest. Random probability sampling is only possible when a comprehensive sampling frame (or list of all members of the population to be sampled) exists. In some markets such lists do exist and are used as the basis of random probability sampling. For Internet marketing internal lists such as customer lists or business mailing lists are the most useful and reliable source.
Stratified and quota sampling are also used in Internet marketing research. The use of online panels can help this process. In business-to-business research, standard industrial classification (SIC) codes, or the size of an organization in terms of turnover or number of employees, would be used. Lists of companies using these criteria are available from Dunn and Bradstreet, whose details are listed in Chapter 4. Further work may have to be done to identify the relevant e-mail address of the individual to be contacted.
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There are people all over the world trying to find ways to make money online. From stay at home moms looking to make a few extra dollars to college students and entrepreneurs, the allure of making your own hours and working from home or from the local coffee shop is very appealing.