How Polco verifies respondents and information about our commitment to privacy.
How Polco Verification Works
The first time someone responds to a Polco question, they are asked to create an account and provide their email address and ZIP code. They also have the option to simply log in with a social account (Facebook or Google), which carries their name and ZIP code along with it. Upon logging in and answering questions on a different occasion, Polco will ask the respondent for their name for local verification.
Polco uses the respondent’s input and a proprietary matching algorithm to find that individual within a local verification list (usually the voter registration database for the city). If there are two “Jim Smiths” in that ZIP code, only then does Polco politely request additional information to help make the correct match.
Historically Polco has matched around 60% to 70% of its responding users on local voter files. Each user successfully matched against the verification list no longer needs to self-report most additional demographic and geographic information (age, gender, precinct/ward, etc.). This not only improves the accuracy of the results, but helps stave off survey fatigue. So for essentially the same information that someone gives to CVS to save five percent on a box of tissues, a resident now can conveniently provide referenceable input online.
Committed to Privacy
Polco’s policies are designed to foster trust and promote civic participation. That’s why we use individual-level data only to verify the respondent and provide de-identified, organized and aggregated insights to customers. That is our commitment to privacy.
By contrast, most web survey platforms are not account-based, requiring respondents to self-report identifying demographic information. And within the U.S., there are no legally enforced privacy protections preventing these other survey platforms from re-selling individual-level data to third parties.
Our design and policies let us thread the needle between both sides of the important communication and information exchange that should take place between officials and residents in communities across the country.