I belong to a LinkedIn group that has recently been talking-up the extent to which research companies are turning to web cams as a means of cost-efficiently (and conveniently) interviewing consumers… as a means of gaining insight into consumer behavior. (Think of it as a virtual focus group, conducted one-by-one.)
A recent Market Research Bulletin offered this story about the practice, featuring a research firm known as GONGOS.
Implications: A few years ago, interviews by webcam might not have been considered socially or statistically acceptable. But as conversations online become more commonplace—i.e., social networking—perhaps consumer research online will become more the norm than the exception.