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This smelly vendor survey lacked data integrity, so USA Today flushed their stinky article down the drain.

Wine Industry Insight has previously written about slipshod vendor-conducted “surveys” that have obvious conflicts of interest and are concocted for marketing reasons.


We often get angry emails from the creators of smelly surveys on why our News Fetch daily briefing does not run links to them.


Well, USA Today’s recent retraction is a good indication of what happens when the data stinks. We respect our 30,000+ subscribes too must to feed them offal data.


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The now-deceased USA Today article was based on information from apparel vendor Tommy John —  America’s Dirty Laundry — in which stated that they “surveyed 2,000 men and women to see how long they wear and keep their underwear.”

Minimum standards for credibility

Source: <a href=””>American Association for Public Opinion Research: Survey Disclosure Checklist</a>

Aside from the inherent conflict of interest, standards used by credible news organizations for assessing data validity (our previous post for links) require that a study must (at a minimum) reveal:

  • Disclosure of conflicts of interest,
  • The number of subjects in a study,
  • How the were selected,
  • How the questions were asked,
  • When the questions were asked,
  • The medium of conducting the survey (online, in person, by phone etc.),
  • The exact wording of all the questions,
  • When and where the questions were asked.
  • A statistically credible margin of error.

Without that, the source is left with its pants down and airing its dirty laundry.


Here’s a screenshot of  the toilet-quality “survey” in the event that Tommy John locates sufficient integrity to remove their impooper study. Right-click image to view a full-sized image