March 16, 2001

Risky Business: Americans see greed, cluelessness behind dot-coms' comeuppance

Methodology

About this report

This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans’ use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates between February 1, 2001 and March 1, 2001, among a sample of 2,096 adults, 18 and older. Of them 1,198 have access to the Internet. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 2 percentage points. For results based Internet users, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting telephone surveys may introduce some error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

The sample for this survey is a random digit sample of telephone numbers selected from telephone exchanges in the continental United States. The random digit aspect of the sample is used to avoid “listing” bias and provides representation of both listed and unlisted numbers (including not-yet-listed numbers). The design of the sample achieves this representation by random generation of the last two digits of telephone numbers selected on the basis of their area code, telephone exchange, and bank number.

New sample is released daily and is kept in the field for at least five days. This ensures that complete call procedures are followed for the entire sample. Additionally, the sample is released in replicates to make sure that the telephone numbers called are distributed appropriately across regions of the country. At least 10 attempts are made to complete an interview at every household in the sample. The calls are staggered over times of day and days of the week to maximize the chances of making contact with a potential respondent. Interview refusals are recontacted at least once in order to try again to complete an interview. All interviews completed on any given day are considered to be the final sample for that day. The final response rate for this survey is 38%.

Non-response in telephone interviews produces some known biases in survey-derived estimates because participation tends to vary for different subgroups of the population, and these subgroups are likely to vary also on questions of substantive interest. In order to compensate for these known biases, the sample data are weighted in analysis. The demographic weighting parameters are derived from a special analysis of the most recently available Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (March 2000). This analysis produces population parameters for the demographic characteristics of adults age 18 or older, living in households that contain a telephone. These parameters are then compared with the sample characteristics to construct sample weights. The weights are derived using an iterative technique that simultaneously balances the distribution of all weighting parameters.

Questions and Data

DOT1    How much, if at all, have you heard about the recent financial problems of many Internet or “dot-com” companies? Have you heard a lot, a little, or nothing at all about this?

FEB 2001

%

30

A lot

 

37

A little

 

32

Nothing at all

 

1

Don’t know/Refused

DOT2    Which of the following two statements comes closer to your own view, even if neither is exactly right…(ROTATE 1-2)

Based on those who have heard of Internet companies’ financial problems [N = 1,455]

FEB 2001

%

57

Having some Internet companies close is a good thing because there are too many web sites that had too little to offer

 

28

Having some Internet companies close is a bad things because there will be fewer sites and services to choose from

 

4

(VOL) Both/Neither

 

11

Don’t know/Refused

DOT3    As I read each of the following, please tell me if you think this is a MAJOR reason many Internet companies are having financial problems, a MINOR reason, or not a reason at all. (First/Next)…(INSERT; ROTATE) Is this a major reason, a minor reason, or not a reason at all that many Internet companies are having financial problems?

Based on those who have heard of Internet companies’ financial problems [N = 1,455]

major reason

minor reason

not a reason at all

don’t know/ refused

a

The owners of many Internet companies are young and inexperienced

39

38

15

7

b

Internet investors are eager to make a profit and took too many risks

67

21

5

7

c

Many Internet companies did not have a clear plan for how they would make money

56

27

9

9

DOT4    Do you think the recent financial problems of many Internet companies will have a MAJOR impact on the nation’s economy as a whole, a MINOR impact, or no impact at all?

Based on those who have heard of Internet companies’ financial problems [N = 1,455]

FEB 2001

%

26

Major impact

 

61

Minor impact

 

9

No impact at all

 

3

Don’t know/Refused

DOT5    As far as you know, have any of your favorite web sites gone out of business?

Based on Internet users [N = 1,198]

FEB 2001

%

8

Yes

 

89

No

 

3

Don’t know/Refused

DOT6    Do you, PERSONALLY, know someone who has been laid off by an Internet company or by a company that provides services related to the Internet?

FEB 2001

%

9

Yes

 

90

No

 

1

Don’t know/Refused

DOT7    Have you or your family recently lost money investing in Internet or “dot-com” companies?

FEB 2001

%

7

Yes

 

92

No

 

1

Don’t know/Refused