Study Hacks Blog

Who Are You? Inquiring Minds Want to Know…

February 9th, 2010 · 28 comments

A brief interruption…

Study Hacks is switching to an advertising firm that specializes in my type of audience. They want you to consider filling out this short survey to develop a better idea of who you are. Here are two reasons why you should fill out the survey:

  1. I’ll give away a free signed book to a randomly selected respondent (the survey asks for your e-mail address expressly and only for the purpose of this drawing).
  2.  I give 50% of my ad revenue to charity, and this survey will increase the quality of my ads. Ergo, you’ll be helping charity.

That’s it. Back to our regularly scheduled programming…

28 thoughts on “Who Are You? Inquiring Minds Want to Know…

  1. Mistil says:

    I’m a High School Student, interested in higher education which includes colleges and universities. My interests in career choice is still in the process of being decided.

  2. anon says:

    For an insightful author and good blogger, you have chosen an ad firm that has a horrendous way to survey demographics. “Guy or girl”? Girl is diminutive in this context, as the proper pairing is “gal”; why not just use male or female? Next, why not ask if I have bought your book (I have) or other study books (yes). Perhaps it may want a zip code if I live in USA to get demographics – or, though I don’t believe SurveyMonkey allows for it, just use a survey system that allows for records of geolocation by IP address. Then, why not ask if I use RSS or if I go to the page manually. Could also ask if I use adblock (I do) and if so, what text ads I wouldn’t mind seeing (e.g., educational products or organizers/study products). Why ask if I have a blog, and then not ask what the blog is, so they can find out about what readers are blogging on? The huge collection of motley advertising choices to choose from is then.. what.. I’m going to actually pick what ads I’m not going to see from adblock? Very confusing.. and could be simplified by just asking if I want to see lifestyle, tech, travel, sports etc ads.

    First low-quality thing I’ve seen on this site.

  3. mdb says:

    absolutely.. your blog has been very helpful over the years and you have asked very little in return


  4. steve r says:

    I too question the usefulness of the survey. I’m sure I’m not the only UK reader yet almost all the brands you ask about aren’t ones we’d recognise over here. That’s going to skew your results!

  5. Christian says:

    Yeah, I’m rather disappointed by the survey (what does it help to achieve, speaking of content that’s made for the readers) and your by-the-way like introduction of selling authorship to an organisation which probably doesn’t care for any of your values or the reasons which made you start this Blog in the first place.

  6. Study Hacks says:

    Guys, the survey isn’t mine. I complained, and got them to get rid of some of the more egregious questions, and I don’t like that brand list stuff, etc. I guess it’s what the clients they deal with want to know.

    Let’s not give it too much thought.

    If you get a chance to fill it out, that’s great. If it offends you, skip it.

  7. Clint says:

    I agree with the other comments. That survey seems to hold very little value. Adsense picks ads based on keywords on the site anyway. If you want to take your blog to the next level you need to start with this landing page. I’m not trolling to be a prick, mind you. It just needs a lot of help. Think about joining the Third Tribe forum that Chris Brogan just started. There’s a monthly fee but the amount of info and big hitters in there is astounding and well worth it.

    Love your posts by the way. I pass them on to students all the time.

  8. Study Hacks says:

    If you want to take your blog to the next level you need to start with this landing page.

    I’m not really that interested in the money-making potential of the blog. I like this new ad company because (a) they find sponsors who actually want to advertise on my site; and (b) they’re willing to send half the money straight to charity, avoiding the 30% lost to taxes if it touches my unincorporated hands.

    Above all, I try to keep as much of my blogging time as possible focused on writing the best possible content. I think that just dwarfs everything else…

  9. Naima says:

    Hey i did the surey but i dont know how it will help me to know myself! I hope I get a copy of the yellow book, I have the read one already. How to become a str8 A student is very helpful even though im not able to applicate every tips. Im a little behind in my studies but im hanging in there. Thanks

  10. What’s the advertising firm you’re working with? I’ve always worked through google adwords but this website (as you’ve told me) meets my market perfectly (but I haven’t found it in the google network) and knowing the proceeds go to charity would only make my decision to advertise with you easier.

    Getting Vista print ads and how to lose weight ads is a real waste for your advertising customers and most importantly your readers who would probably appreciate specifically targeted ads connecting to products they really wanted.

  11. mss says:

    I went to the survey but like @anon above I also found it offensive and misdirected. I have not been a girl for about 45 years. I read this site because I’m a course developer and I find the discussion of learning strategies interesting. I’ve been reading it for about 3 months. I’m also the 53-year-old mother of two college students with whom I share some of your insights. I’m not in college so I don’t have a major. I do have a blog (actually 3). And when I purchase something from Amazon, I write a review “sometimes” (which was not among the choices).

    The only brands on your list I “enjoy” are Mac, Netflix, and The Onion. If pressed I might add, IKEA, Moleskine and Threadless.

  12. andrea says:

    Since you’re asking: I’m a grad student and former assoc. college professor and I really enjoy your blog…so the survey was a pretty simple way to contribute to something that’s given me a lot of enjoyment. Hope the new ad company works out well for you!

  13. Nigel says:

    You guys found it offensive because it said “girl” instead of “female”? Wow, talk about sensitive. Hey, Cal, your stuff has been extremely helpful, so if answering a little survey helps out, I have no problem with it.

  14. sanjay says:

    agree with steve r, i’m from the uk, filled it in, and could only tick the boxes which i knew was an actual product in the uk

  15. B says:

    I’m with the UK folks (naturally), but then again felt the need to criticise less as you explained the way in which the money goes to charity, which seems acceptable.

    Maybe you should ask one of your readers to do an alternate survey, it might help inform you on the demographics of your readers better?

  16. Study Hacks says:

    What’s the advertising firm you’re working with?

    The guys over at Hack College have started a boutique agency that specializes in only a small number of quality blogs with large student audiences. They are hand selling each campaign. We haven’t started yet — so please excuse the terrible ads that still exist on my site — but I think it will be a much better fit.

    Maybe you should ask one of your readers to do an alternate survey, it might help inform you on the demographics of your readers better?

    I should do a better survey. I should have also spent more time getting the ad agency to make this survey better, But my philosophy for this blog has always been to devote as much time as humanly possible to the content, and the other stuff will work out okay…

  17. D says:

    Definitely, your study methodologies have increased my productivity, and my grades (most importantly).

  18. supergirl says:

    I’m all for any survey that will let me ask for pics of Ikea furniture instead of close-ups of another person’s cellulite 🙂

  19. Kelvin says:

    While I do not understand why are you holding this survey (probably for some company) but is a small way to contribute to your blog ( Misc. fees)

  20. Kelly Sutton says:

    Hi guys,

    I figured I would weigh in here since I’m actually the one that wrote the survey. I tried to keep the survey as light-hearted as possible and meant no offense in my choice of diction. I wanted to keep it short while extracting the most pertinent information possible. Compared to typical market surveys that I’ve seen, this is pretty tame (Hell, why do you think they _pay_ people to take surveys? They are almost always a pain.) Some of the questions might be a little misguided or presumptuous: not all readers of Study Hacks or HackCollege will still be in school, but we assume that most of you guys still are.

    Surveys like these rub me the wrong way a little bit too, but as far as I understand it they are a way of participating in the business. The reason why we ask the heavy-handed “name some brands you like” question is to be able to approach these brands and say, “Hey, our readers are already interested in buying your products so why not advertise with us?” This might seem a little backwards, but it’s the way old media ad buyers are set in their ways. Since they are signing the checks, we have to play by their rules on idiosyncrasies like this.

    The reason why we are doing this form of advertising is to provide something that’s more targeted and more comprehensive than just simple banner ads. Google AdSense works for many blogs, but I find it tends to advertise things that I would rather not be making money from like student loans, student loan consolidation and online educations (note: my personal opinion). By pooling our resources we are able to work with companies that actually care about students to do something more than just an eyesore on our front pages. Once we get the ball rolling, you will see a difference among the quality of sponsorships on the sites.

    Hope this clears up a few of the misconceptions regarding the survey. If you have any other questions or concerns, shoot me ( or Cal an email.

  21. Mr. Snake says:

    Sorry to ask again, but I’m not sure if you’re looking at the other post that I posted this on, so: how would you recommend studying for a technical drawing class? I feel as if I have a natural deficiency in drawing, even though you’ve shown that mastery in any field is achievable.


  22. Jeremy says:

    FWIW, I liked the survey because it was quick. And it makes sense to want to say to a company “The vast majority of our users are college-aged males and females who seem to hold your brand in high esteem”

    However, I think there is a weakness in the survey. Although college kids might buy things from places like “Target” or “AT&T,” it doesn’t mean that we *like* these brands. These sorts of things will vastly unchecked IMO. A better question might be whether we’ve purchased anything from these brands in the past 12 months or something.

  23. sázky says:

    Maybe you should ask one of your readers to do an alternate survey, it might help inform you on the demographics of your readers better?

  24. BoGo says:

    ok cal where is the nxt post r u too busy with valentines day loll 😉

  25. brainypirate says:

    I’m in the post-doc readership — I like the blog because I still need help managing my time and getting research done — and because I can mine it for tips to give my students when they come for help.

    But the survey didn’t really include me as a respondent, so I didn’t complete it. I know the blog is mostly for students, but it could be useful to know how many non-students find it useful as well.

  26. du hoc uc says:

    While I do not understand why are you holding this survey (probably for some company) but is a small way to contribute to your blog

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