Several years ago, the Ontario government was trying to track how the public was responding to various global pandemics but found existing methods unreliable, lagged reality, and could not be compared across countries. Policymakers asked Neil Seeman, a public health expert, to develop a better way to track responses to pandemics. In response, Neil developed a technology that provides a more reliable and global signal, is available in real time, and can be used in any country or multiple countries simultaneously. The technology draws randomly from the entire Web-using population in any country. This is a vastly larger sea of potential respondents than the small pool of repeat respondents in traditional surveys, providing a more reliable signal of true sentiment.
This technology was the first product offering of RIWI, which commercialized in 2011. Since then, RIWI’s proprietary technology has continued to track epidemics including H1N1, Zika and Ebola, and has been extended far beyond to track a broad range of social and economic issues in almost all countries of the world. Recent applications include tracking needs of refugees in the Middle East, adoption and views of new technologies in North America and Asia, adoption of fintech practices globally, message testing to counter violent extremism, and capturing behavior or opinion on sensitive issues such as marijuana, mental health, and personal finances.
Clients value RIWI technology for its accurate signal, representativeness, flexibility to add or change questions as circumstances change, ability to operate in any country and comparability across countries. Moreover, clients value RIWI’s ability to guarantee the safety and anonymity of respondents, which both reduces social desirability bias and complies with data privacy regulations across the world. Continuous tracking allows up-to-date and robust data on emergent trends.
RIWI technology offers a “truly random sample of the Internet population”, according to IRIS (International Research Institutes), the largest scientific association of independent research agencies in the world, when describing RIWI’s technology (referred to as Random Domain Intercept Technology, or RDIT). Since its incorporation in 2009, RIWI has received more than 1.4 billion responses across the world responding to RIWI surveys, digital campaigns and ad tests.