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Have you ever been Catfished? (During research)

Being catfished isn’t fun. 

I am not ashamed to admit as a millennial researcher, I’ve been catfished both while participating in online dating as well as while recruiting for research studies. 

I can remember being catfished while dating for the first time like it was just yesterday. It was six years ago, I talked to this individual for three weeks before meeting her and realizing she wasn’t who she said she was, it was an awkward experience, to say the least. 

I also remember previous experiences recruiting participants for market research studies where one or two bad actors slipped through the cracks and made it to a focus group or interview. Again, it was an awkward experience, to say the least.   

These experiences were learning lessons, they taught me catfishing is an inevitable part of online dating and consumer insights. However, I also learned that catfishing is easily preventable. 

When it came to online dating, I began requesting facetime dates with people I met online before talking with them for too long or meeting face to face. This helped provide peace of mind to both myself and the girl that’d potentially be meeting that neither of us would be catfished.

When it came to consumer insights and usability research, there wasn’t an obvious solution that our team could use to prevent being catfished. We could request video calls with participants before the real interview but that would usually require us to incur more cost with incentives. The short-term solution we used was phone calls.

We’d call the participants to phone screen them and to make sure they were articulative but this was very costly in terms of time. In dating you’re usually only dating one person at a time, so coordinating a facetime date is usually pretty easy. With a research study, you’re interviewing potentially dozens of people, calling dozens of participants can add a lot of headache and time to your research process. 

Video Audition Question Type 

Here at HubUX, we solved our own catfishing problem by building the easiest to use solution in the industry. We added a video audition question type to our DIY screener builder which requires the participant to record a short video of themselves while taking the screener. The question type is completely mobile compatible and in line with the screening-taking experience, no need for them to leave the screener for an outside video tool. Plus, most participants find it fun and easier to do instead of filling out a text-based open-ended question. 

Our easy-to-use participant grid allows you to review participants’ screening data and video auditions before inviting them to your study. We also have a high-quality curated panel recruited from social media that you can instantly access for any of your studies. Our video audition question will give you peace of mind before interviewing the participant and ensure you are who they say they are and that they are a good fit for your study. 

If you’d like to see a completely free demo, send us an email at or send us a note here 🙂