A BUX Walk Thru: Ethnio

What’s in a name?

Okay Ethn.io. I’ve got a bone to pick with you right of the bat.

I don’t know how to say your name. Is it Ethnio? Eth-knee-dot-ee-ohh? Eth-knee-dot-eye-ohh? What, exactly is up with the dot? I mean, you own the ethnio.com domain, so wassup?

I could understand it if “io” was short for something. Google is trying to buy the whole .lol domain. Do you know why?


The first person to buy cats.lol is going to be a millionaire, guaranteed.

The .io domain stands for Indian Ocean. Which, conceivably is part of the Ethnio origin story (or the outsourcing story, I dunno) but seeing as how your former overlords at Bolt|Peters are a California company, I’m just going to run with the idea that putting a dot in the middle of your name is silliness. It reminds me of the name “Twitter”. Have you ever brought that name up at a board meeting of senior level executives at a billion dollar company before? I have. And you know what those greybeards think about it?

They think it’s the dumbest thing they’ve ever heard of. They don’t understand how people get paid to “twitter”. It sounds like nonsense to them.

See, it’s not that the idea of Twitter that’s dumb. Call it “customer service” and it suddenly makes sense to them. But names matter. And as names go, dropping a period in the middle of one just feels like some Web 2.0, dot-com, wankery.

But let’s not judge this book by its cover. In my research from a few weeks back, they really do seem like one of the best ways to go about recruiting people to take part in your user tests.
In today’s post, we’ll take a look at Ethnio to see if they live up to all the hype.

Reviewing V2 but v3 is on the way

I should mention before we get started that on May 17th Ethnio announced that they are quickly moving towards their next major upgrade to their product. The upgrade will contain “a sweeter design, integrated calling powered by Twilio, sub-accounts, cleaner branching logic, and lots more”. Oh, and no more Bolt|Peters. Apparently Ethnio, at 100 million page views a month, is ready to wear their own big boy pants.

Congratulations, fellas.

What is Ethnio?

Ethnio is a SaaS product. That’s “software-as-a-service” to everybody who is just now waking up to the 2012 edition of the Internet. What their software does is make it really easy to recruit your own website’s users to participate in your user surveys and studies.

My Expectations

What I expect will happen is this:

  1. I’ll sign up
  2. I’ll fill out some information about the users I want to attract.
  3. I’ll place some code on my website
  4. I’m going on break

The other thing to consider is: how many people can I realistically pull in using Ethnio? Fortunately, they give us an idea right on their front page.

As you can see, they start with a base of 5,000 people that are exposed to the Ethnio message. Of those, they find 10 people to actually participate.

On a site like ours, which currently gets less than 5,000 unique visitors a month, that means that we could be fishing for leads for a month and not get 10 people to participate in our study.

The total capture rate is 0.2%. So my other expectation is that qualified sign ups will be a rarity.

Getting Started with Ethnio

With that bit of depressing math fresh in my mind, I signed up with Ethnio.

Now, Ethnio has one of the easiest and creepiest sign up pages I’ve ever seen.

On the one hand, all they need from me is an email address, a username, and a password.

It couldn’t be easier.

The creepy part comes in with their call to action. “Do people want you to use Ethnio? PEOPLE DO.”

Who are these people, exactly? And why are they advocating on Ethnio’s behalf to me AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO THEY ARE?

It makes me feel like Ethnio has been doing a little reconnaissance on me. And it also makes me confrontational. “Oh yeah, Ethnio? Well, I know loads of people who think you’re lame! How about that?” (Even though that’s not really true.)

And, while we’re at it… where’s your goddamn period? No more “Ethn.io”? What the hell guys?

That’s just further proof that the whole dot thing in your name is dumb. I mean, you guys don’t even buy into it. So in that spirit, I’ve taken the dot out of the title of the review but left it in in the featured image. Because it’s confusing.

Okay. Enough side show.


 This is Me Concentrating

I signed up and right away they hit me with 4 big concepts that I need to know about.

That off button actually works.

Then I get hit with this video:

I can dig it. It’s got a nice quirkiness about it and it covers all the bases on how Ethn(.)io works.

Now I’m creating a new “screener”. That’s their terminology for the thingy that does the recruiting. And it starts easy enough:

Now I’m thrown into a 4-step wizard.

Step 1-1: Choose a Theme

All three options look like they would work well. My preference is for the Default theme, and so I kept that and pressed the “next” button.

Step 1-2: Information about where to recruit from

This too is really straight forward. Though it’s at this point that I realized that this is part of a 4-step sub-process. There will be more steps after the remaining two.

Step 1-3: Upload a logo and pick Mac/PC users

This is one weird-ass combination of things to include in a step. First, I uploaded my logo. Then I needed to decide if I want Mac and/or PC users to see the screener. On the one hand – these two things don’t really go together. On the other hand, you gotta ask sometime, right?

Step 1-4: Position your screener

This is as simple as it seems: just drag and drop the box to where you’d like it to show on your website.

Step 2: The Pitch

The pitch is where we get to refine our … uh… what’s the word for it? It was right there on the tip of my tongue a minute ago. Oh right. The offer. This is where we can refine the offer.

Generically, the headline and text say:

Do you have 45min for a phone interview?

Earn $75 at Amazon.com

We are looking for visitors to abetteruserexperience.com to participate in a 45min phone interview. To qualify, just answer a few short questions. If you are selected, you will receive an email or a phone call from one of our research moderators.

It serves as a good role model for making a direct offer. Ask for a portion of their time in return for some form of payment.

 Step 3: Questions

Now it’s time to customize the screener. I chose to go with 5 questions, that are easy to parse:

  1. Why did you come to the site today?
  2. Have you been to this site before?
  3. Age
  4. Name
  5. Email

If I were looking to recruit people for the Loop11 test we ran several months ago, I’d also add in questions asking users if they are business owners or if they keep the books for a business.

Adjust the questions to fit your own needs.

Step 4: Give Thanks

Step 4 is where you customize your “Thank You” screen, which is the screen that users will see after they have successfully signed up. This is done in the same manner and when we created the pitch.

This page also allows for branching logic. In effect you can create conditions where somebody would get a “success” message telling them that they’ve qualified to be a tester. In other cases, people will get the original “thank you for your interest” message.

Ethnio also upsells various survey tools. Must be a nice link if you can get it.

Step 5: Bing, Bong, Boom – We’re Done

All that’s left now is to put the code on the website.

As you can see, there are three choices on how to active the screener. For my purposes, I’m going to uses the javascript on our website.

And that’s all she wrote.

I’ll follow this post up in the next few weeks letting you know how the recruitment process has gone. Then we’ll get into pricing and doing a proper review.

For now, it’s worth knowing that this is all free. There’s no credit card needed or anything. And if you only need up to 10,000 monthly page views, you can get their free plan and it will work for you just fine. They offer larger, pay plans but as far as getting started is concerned, this is just about as easy as it gets.

Now that there’s no mystery left to the sign up, head on over and check them out.