Thursday, June 20, 2013

JCA is Not Affiliated with Any Research

Good evening JCAs! Once again, I am receiving some emails/ comments about how some of you are getting emails from one particular researcher.

A few weeks ago, this same Ph. D.Candidate reached out to me asking me to post a message on the JCA blog on her behalf to recruit participants for an online survey for her dissertation. I politely declined- indicating that I get similar requests often (and my policy is the same for all inquiries which is to decline them). Unfortunately, I find that when I let one person solicit info from JCAs I get flooded with similar requests from other PhD Candidates, as well as market research groups. I just do not have the time to verify each project to make sure its legit (and make sure the JCA community will not be exploited, etc.)

The candidate never replied back and I never thought anything more of it. However, she has recently sent out emails to several of you with the opening of "Dear *J.CREW AFICIONADA* member, As a member of J.CREW AFICIONADA you are invited to participate in an online research survey to study..."

Considering I declined the JCA blog's participation with her research project, using the "J.Crew Aficionada" phrase as part of her solicitation (and appearance of an endorsement for her study) to the JCA community is somewhat baffling. Therefore, I feel the need to address this situation just to make sure there is no confusion on where the blog stands with this.

Why the post? First, I did not endorse the research nor have any idea how the information collected will be utilized. Proceed with caution if you decide to participate.

Second,  I hate to think any JCA thought I gave their email address away. So if you got sent this email, please know I did not provide anyone your name or contact info.

Third, although I am sympathetic with researchers, I think the use of the "J.Crew Aficionada" phrase in the email is misleading. (No where does it mention that it is not affiliated or endorsed by this blog. Even though she did mention that she is not associated with the J.Crew brand.)

Lastly, as mentioned in the "JCA is Not Affiliated with Any Other Site" post: I do not post about or endorse any third party websites, research groups, or marketing firms, on the JCA Blog that helps them by using the JCAs as a free marketing tool.

I hope everyone can understand my position about this. And for the individuals trying to pursue this community, please respect that I do not care for the J.Crew Aficionada blog to be used (even indirectly by using the JCA/J.Crew Aficionada term) for your personal endeavors.

19 comments:

  1. Tell 'em, Alexis! You're right about individuals trying to exploit the community. You never know how their intent.

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  2. I'm doing my dissertation on changing attitudes of the exposed zipper and the influence of the Copywriter from Space (it's of-the-moment, don't you know).

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  3. Seriously, though - thanks for your honesty and integrity over the past 5 years, Alexis. From getting rid of the option for anonymous comments way back when to being forthcoming about potential contact from students (did they get IRB approval before approaching you? did they think you were going to act as their IRB? hmpf!), you've always been real with us and I greatly appreciate that. It's made JCA a fun place to visit.

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  4. Thank you for fiercely protecting us, Alexis.

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  5. Thanks everyone for understanding! Like I said, I am sympathetic with researchers who want to explore J.Crew consumer habits- but I do not have the time to personally verify the validity (as well as ethical positioning) of their works.

    I also do *not* want the J.Crew Aficionada blog to be associated with anything that gets our community to share information about ourselves (especially considering how much I value my own privacy).

    Ultimately, I am disappointed how this PhD Candidate went about this. She had a good initial approach by reaching out to me to ask for participation, but proceeded poorly by ignoring my clear decline of the JCA Blog's participation by using the misleading phrasing.

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    1. I should add that I reached out to her yesterday asking her to clear up this confusion by making it clear that her research is not associated with the J.Crew Aficionada blog. (She mentioned in her email that she is not associated with the J.Crew retailer, but omitted the blog in her statement.) I will be hopeful that she will quickly rectify this confusion. :)

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  6. This is well put Alexis. I hate the idea of someone abusing all your hard work. You work really hard to provide us this space (with no financial gain and with high moral and ethical standards) and I for one appreciate it. You have been a champion of transparency and have set such a good example on how a blog should be run. It's infuriating to think that someone would knowingly exploit this community.

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    1. Thank you *so* much Anthro Blogger!!! I really appreciate it. :)

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  7. Thank you, Alexis! I think you're taken the smartest position here you possibly could. This is the kind of thing that could quickly snowball and lead to JCAs being taken advantage of. And I hate to be cynical, but I have to wonder if any of these people are actual PhD candidates--it seems more likely to me that these are really from marketing firms or other corporate research groups.

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  8. Infuriating! Alexis, you are a true class act :)

    I am a college professor, and I teach marketing. Unfortunately, blogs like this one are literally free, public domain "petri dishes of data" on brand loyalty and consumer behavior for unscrupulous marketers and market researchers.

    Most research that uses social media data mining techniques is harmless and legit, but it's important to protect yourself and your contact info online.

    Okay, lecture over, back to J. Crew ...

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    1. Ruffles: Thanks for your words! :)

      You are right that this blog would have a lot of insight on consumers. It's too bad that this student choose the route she did to collect that data.

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  9. If you have information about the institution where this person is a student, I would suggest you report them. As a faculty member, it is disheartening to hear of students not following protocol and conducting research the right way. She should have had IRB approval (as someone else mentioned in an earlier comment) where she documented your permission to solicit participation. By violating this research guideline, she jeopardizes her findings and future publications. Glad to see you taking a stand for your own privacy and protection.

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    1. She has *yet* to contact me back after I reached out to her about clearing up this situation. (Nor has she contacted the potential participants letting them know the blog is not affiliated with the study.)

      I do have her school information and her real name. I hate to go to her adviser / committee chair (or even the ethical committee that approves any study before its sent out) about this. It seems so silly (& unprofessional) of her to not just quickly clear up this situation.

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    2. It may seem silly but it's actually a big deal. She's being unethical, and unprofessional, and I think her dissertation chair and the school's IRB would want to know

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  10. Gee, I guess areas of inquiry for PhD's have changed. Seems rather incredible that this sort of market research would be very relevant to a terminal degree. And given that very few business schools even offer PhD degrees (and there are very few enrollees at those schools that do), this woman is either untruthful or truly clueless.

    Thanks Alexis for your sound decision-making.

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    1. Thanks Cousy for understanding! :)

      I am sure this blog is a gold mine for research- but I am just not a fan of anyone mining it.

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  11. It could be a PhD in Economics or some such thing. That's not a very rare degree to pursue. That said, is there no legal recourse for her use of the JCA moniker?

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Dear J.Crew Aficionadas & Aficionados: Please feel free (and encouraged) to share your thoughts and opinions. :) However, please note that this is still a personal blog. So comments that are considered inappropriate (e.g. obscene, racist, homophobic, personal attacks, rude, and just plain mean) will be removed.

And now back to J.Crew! :)