Surveys

Several people have recently asked me about how to recruit survey participants through zbj.com, a Chinese crowd-sourcing website somewhat similar to Amazon Mechanical Turk, and I thought it might be useful to share my answer here. Basically, while ZBJ used to be an excellent platform to recruit participants from diverse demographic backgrounds and all over China, it seems to have stopped accepting survey tasks since spring 2018.

ZBJ used to feature two main types of tasks: (1) bidding tasks, for which a number of “workers” submit their works and the “employer” selects and pays for the best one, and (2) piecework tasks (计件任务), for which the employer pays everyone who submitted work that met the employer’s requirement. Surveys fall under the second type, since you pay everyone who completes your survey. Unfortunately piecework tasks have been abused by some marketeers who used the platform to hire commercial astroturfers (水军) for marketing purposes (虚假营销). Note that this is different from the problem of bots completing surveys, which might have recently plagued MTurk. Apparently ZBJ was under pressure to deal with these bogus marketing operations (see https://quan.zbj.com/thread-6628-1-1.html). To show its seriousness, ZBJ has disallowed almost all piecework tasks, not just recruitment of astroturfers. Unfortunately surveys have been a victim of the collateral damage.

11/13/2018