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Filter fakers with bait responses

Filter fakers with bait responses

If there is a monetary incentive for participation, there will be people who try to fake their way into the study.

One way to catch them is to offer fake response options. If they pick one of those options, we know for sure they are faking.


Let's say I need participants who have experience with HR software. Here is a screener question for that.

Which of the below HR applications have you used in the last 30 days?

  • Applicant Stack
  • BambooHR
  • HiveR
  • iRecruit
  • Merlin
  • Oracle HRWeb
  • None
  • Other

Three of these options, HiveR, Merlin, and Oracle HRWeb, don't exist. If a respondent picks one of those we can be sure they are only after some quick bucks.

The fake options must appear real. Here are some ideas to get a realistically sounding product name.

  • Combine real product names: Take two competing products' names and combine them into one as I did with "Oracle HRWeb". Oracle has an HR app, HRWeb is an HR app, but there is no such app as "Oracle HRWeb". If fakers look the keyword up, they would find plenty of pages mentioning these exact words - making this made-up product appear legit.
  • Non-domain product's name: Take the name of a product from another domain. My "Merlin" is an example of that. It's a real SaaS app, it's just not an HR tool. But if the faker googles it, there are hits, so it seems legit at first look.
  • Fake brand: We can look at the product names in the domain and try to come up with a similarly sounding fake brand name. I came up with "HiveR" this way.