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Connected Consumer

Expertise, Collaboration, & Rigor

Expertise, collaboration, and rigor - this combination is what brings researchers from government, academic, and nonprofit research sectors to GfK and the Government & Academic team.

GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers' experiences and choices.

Research Participant Privacy Policy

Effective Date:  December 16, 2010

Last Revised:  December 30, 2013

GfK Custom Research LLC ("GfK”) respects the privacy of individuals who have been invited to participate in research that we conduct.  For more than 75 years GfK has been collecting information from consumers and, throughout that time, we have honored their privacy.

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We have developed this privacy policy ("Privacy Policy”) to explain to you how we collect and use your personal information ("Personal Information”).  When you participate in research conducted by our firm, you can be assured of the following:

  • We will not make your Personal Information available to anyone without your knowledge unless it is for research purposes only or if required by law (as described in this policy). This includes your name, address, phone number and e-mail address. 
  • We will never try to sell you anything and we will never sell your name to anyone.  That is not our business. We are not telemarketers or direct marketers.  We are market researchers interested only in your opinions.
  • Occasionally, we may re-contact you to validate your responses.  We will never misrepresent ourselves or what we are doing.
  • Your decisions about participating in a study, responding to specific questions, or discontinuing participation will be respected without question.

We have developed rigorous privacy standards that are set out in our Privacy Policy.  In North America, GfK is a member of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO) and the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA), organizations that set industry standards to which member companies must adhere, and which also protect your privacy.


We will always collect your Personal Information by fair and lawful means.  GfK may collect information that can specifically identify you, such as your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and other similar information.  We may collect Personal information directly from you when you voluntarily provide it to us or we may obtain Personal Information from clients or research firms who commission us to provide research services on their behalf.  We may also obtain Personal Information from list providers who have assured us that their lists comprise only individuals who have consented to be listed.  Finally, we may collect and use Personal Information obtained from publicly-available sources, such as telephone directories.

The purpose of our collection and use of Personal Information is to conduct market, opinion and social research for the benefit of our clients who include for-profit companies, non-profit organizations and governmental institutions.  Our clients use survey research results for a variety of purposes, such as to understand consumers’ awareness and usage of, or satisfaction with, various products and services; to design or test new products; or to test the effectiveness of communications.  Other clients use surveys and focus groups to measure attitudes and public opinion on political and social issues.

In most research surveys, we ask standard demographic questions, some of which may be considered sensitive in nature, such as your age, household composition, income range and racial or ethnic origin.  We ask these questions to help ensure that the demographic profiles of individuals who kindly participate in our surveys accurately reflect the target population (e.g. U.S. consumers aged 18 and over) that we are trying to approximate.  Good quality survey research depends on having representative samples of the population that is being studied.  We understand, though, if you would prefer not to answer certain questions.

From time to time we may collect sensitive information that may include but is not limited to health and financial information.

We will never ask you for sensitive Personal Information that could give rise to economic crimes if it were lost, misused or disclosed to an unauthorized party, such as credit card numbers, bank account information, passport numbers or driver’s license numbers.  The only exception to this is with respect to Social Security Numbers.  If we conduct a sweepstakes in which you participate and win, and for which the prize amount exceeds a certain amount, then we may be required by law to collect your Social Security Number for tax reporting purposes.

We also automatically collect a variety of publicly-available machine information for system administration, service improvement and data integrity purposes, as further described in the Information Collected by Automated Technologies section below.


We will only use Personal Information as set forth in this Privacy Policy, unless you have specifically consented to or opted-in to another use of your Personal Information.

We may use and disclose Personal Information for any of the following reasons:

  • to invite you to participate in survey research;
  • to conduct a survey research interview with you;
  • to validate answers you gave in a recent survey we conducted;
  • to update and to ensure that our records of your Personal Information are correct;
  • to respond to requests you may make of us, including to provide services that you have requested;
  • to share with agents, contractors or partners of GfK Custom Research LLC in connection with services that these individuals or entities perform for, or with, GfK.  These agents, contractors or partners are restricted from using this information in any way other than to provide services for GfK.  We may, for example, provide Personal Information to agents, contractors or partners for hosting our survey websites, for data collection or processing services, or for sending you information that you requested, but those parties cannot use your Personal Information for their own purposes unrelated to the work they are doing for us;
  • to share with clients of GfK, but in these cases your identifiable Personal Information will only be shared with clients i) with your consent, or ii) for permitted research purposes in accordance with the CASRO Code of Standards and Ethics for Survey Research;
  • to respond to duly authorized information requests of governmental authorities or where required by law;
  • to investigate suspected fraudulent activity or violation of another party’s rights;
  • in connection with the sale, assignment, or other transfer of our business, in which case we will make commercially reasonable efforts to ensure that any such buyer agrees to treat Personal Information in accordance with this Privacy Policy;

We may collect Personal Information from third parties and merge that data with our existing databases.  In such event, we will use any data so acquired in accordance with this Privacy Policy.


As further specified below, we automatically collect a variety of machine-readable information about you, including the date and time you visited our website, the pages you visited, the website you came from, the type of browser you are using (e.g., Internet Explorer), the type of operating system you are using (e.g., Windows XP), your Internet Protocol address and the domain name and address of your Internet service provider.


Cookies are small text files stored on your computer by a website that assigns a numerical user ID and stores certain information about your online browsing.  We use cookies on this site and on our survey site to help us recognize you as a prior user.  No Personal Information is stored on any cookie that we use.

If you wish, you can adjust your web browser’s privacy settings to delete cookies upon exiting websites or when you close your browser.  You may also configure your browser to block cookies, however doing so may negatively impact your user experience on this site.

Local Shared Objects

We use Local Shared Objects (also known as "Flash cookies”) for a variety of legitimate purposes.  These include storing some of your preferences, displaying content based upon what you view, personalizing your visit, tracking your behavior and activities across multiple visits to the site and combating fraud.

Flash cookies are different from browser cookies because of the amount and type of data stored and how the data are stored.

The latest versions of popular browsers now allow internet users to manage Flash cookies using browser privacy settings or downloading add-ons.

If your browser does not support these features, then you can manage privacy and storage settings for Flash cookies or disable their use entirely by visiting Macromedia’s website, the manufacturer of Flash Player, at the following link:

Web Beacons

A web beacon (also known as a tag, clear gif or 1x1 pixel), consists of a small string of code that is embedded within a web page or email. There may or may not be a visible graphic image associated with the web beacon, and often the image is designed to blend into the background of a web page or email.

We use web beacons in our email messages to help determine whether our messages are opened and to verify any clicks through to links within the email. We may use this information to determine which of our emails are more interesting to users, to improve the quality of the emails that we send and to query users who do not open our emails as to whether they wish to continue receiving them. The web beacon is deleted when you delete the email.

If you would prefer not to have web beacons in the emails that you receive, you should adjust your email program to receive messages in plain text rather than HTML. It is also possible to detect and control web beacons that are present on web pages by downloading a plug-in for your browser.

Log Files

As is true of most websites, we gather certain information automatically and store it in log files.  This information includes Internet Protocol addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp and clickstream data.

We use this information to analyze trends, to administer the site, to track users' movements around the site and to gather demographic information about our user base as a whole.  We may link this automatically-collected data to personally-identifiable information for legitimate research purposes, such as to detect and prevent fraudulent activity.

Digital Fingerprinting

We use digital fingerprinting technology, also known as "device fingerprinting” and "machine identification" ("Digital Fingerprinting”), to gather certain data about you and/or your computer.  This data may include personally identifiable information such as an email address or an Internet Protocol (IP) address, as well as non-personally identifiable information such as a computer operating system or browser version number.  A digital fingerprint commonly takes the form of a small file that websites can place on your computer through normal usage of your web browser.  This technology creates a unique computer identifier ("ID”) which may be used to identify and track your participation in a survey and limit participation.

GfK and other market research firms utilize Digital Fingerprinting technology to ensure the integrity of survey results by enabling us to authenticate users and to help ensure users participate in surveys no more than the maximum allowable participation.  In furtherance of GfK’s efforts to assist its clients in protecting and ensuring the integrity of survey results, GfK and this website may: (a) link or associate an ID to an individual or to Personal Information or personally-identifiable information of an individual; (b) share an ID with GfK’s and/or this website’s clients and/or sample or panel providers; and/or (c) receive or obtain a unique identifier that is linked to an identified or identifiable individual.  Any unique identifiers received or obtained by GfK and/or this site that are linked to identified or identifiable individuals will be protected in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

Browser Do-Not-Track Settings

Your browser offers a Do-Not-Track (DNT) privacy setting. Enabling it may result in your browsing history not being used by some advertising networks to serve targeted ads to you. Enabling or disabling the DNT setting in your browser has no impact on our data collection or our use of browser cookies, Flash cookies, log files and digital fingerprinting, as described above. For more information about DNT privacy settings, visit


GfK may use and disclose Non-Personal Information for any number of reasons and with any number of parties.  However, such uses shall not include your Personal Information unless such use complies with the permitted uses of your Personal Information set forth above.


We have no intention of collecting Personal Information from children under the age of 13.  If we become aware that Personal Information from a child under 13 has been collected without the consent of such child’s parent or guardian, we will use all reasonable efforts to delete such information from our database.


The security of your Personal Information is very important to us.  We have put in place reasonable physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard the information we collect.  Only those employees who need access to your information in order to perform their duties are authorized to have access to your Personal Information.  However, we cannot guarantee that all communications between us or information stored on our servers will be free from unauthorized access by third parties such as hackers, and your use of our services demonstrates your assumption of this risk. 


We will make available to you Personal Information about you in our custody or control that we have collected, used or disclosed, upon your written request, to the extent required and/or permitted by law.

To request access to Personal Information that we hold about you, we require that you submit your request in writing at the e-mail address or postal address shown below in the Contact Us section.  When we receive an access request from an individual, we will attempt to fulfill the requested information within 30 days, including requests regarding the Personal Information we have in our possession or control about the individual, what it is being used for, and to whom it has been disclosed, if applicable.

In certain situations, however, we may not be able to give individuals access to all of their Personal Information. This may occur when:

Providing access to Personal Information would be likely to reveal Personal Information about a third party;

Disclosing the information would reveal confidential commercial information;

The information has been collected for the purposes of a legal investigation.

If we deny an individual's request for access to their Personal Information, we will advise the individual of the reason for the refusal.


We make reasonable efforts to keep Personal Information in our possession or control, which is used on an ongoing basis, accurate, complete, current and relevant, based on the most recent information available to us.  If you would like to correct, modify or delete your Personal Information, please see the Contact Us section below.

Please note that any Personal Information that we collect may remain in back-up storage for some period of time after your request.  We will also be unable to recover any Personal Information from any agent, contractor, partner or client once it has been transferred to them.  Also, please note that we will maintain all usage data and Personal Information in our database whenever we are required to do so by law.


The GfK Group is a global organization.  Your Personal Information may be collected, stored, processed, used and transferred by one or more GfK affiliated companies or non-affiliated service providers in one or more countries outside your originating country. 

GfK Custom Research LLC complies with the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework and the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of personal information from European Union member countries and Switzerland.  GfK has certified that it adheres to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles ("Principles”) of notice, choice, onward transfer, security, data integrity, access, and enforcement.  To learn more about the Safe Harbor program, and to view GfK’s certification, please visit

Compliance with the Principles may be limited in certain cases to the extent necessary to meet national security, public interest or law enforcement requirements.  By using this website and participating in GfK research, you consent to the transfer, storage, use and disclosure of your Personal Information among our affiliated companies and non-affiliated service providers, wherever located.  GfK’s service providers are contractually bound to respect the confidentiality of your Personal Information.

We reserve the right, at our discretion, to modify our privacy practices and update and make changes to this Privacy Policy at any time.  For this reason, we encourage you to refer to this Privacy Policy on an ongoing basis.  This Privacy Policy is current as of the "Last Revised” date which appears at the top of this page.  We will treat Personal Information in a manner consistent with the Privacy Policy under which it was collected, unless we have your consent to treat it differently.  By using this website following any Privacy Policy change, you freely and specifically give us your consent to collect, use, transfer and disclose your Personal Information in the manner specified in such then-current Privacy Policy.


If you have any questions regarding this Privacy Policy, please email us at or write to us at the following address:

GfK Custom Research LLC

200 Liberty Street, 4th Floor

New York, NY 10281

Attention: Compliance and Privacy Officer

Notice regarding sale of Kynetec and panelist data

On November 12, 2015 GfK SE (“GfK”) entered into an agreement to sell its global animal and crop health business to Project Farm Bidco Limited, UK (“Bidco”).  This sale is expected to close as of April 30, 2016.

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As a part of this sale, GfK's U.S. subsidiary GfK US LLC will transfer some of the market research data collected by it to Kynetec USA Inc, Bidco’s local U.S. entity. This data includes certain personal information that was voluntarily provided to GfK US LLC by the respondents that participated as panelists in GfK US LLC’s animal and crop health market research surveys. Both GfK and Bidco are working together to ensure that the personal information of these respondents' is protected during this transition and that their privacy will continue to be respected. Our priority is to provide respondents' with as much transparency as possible regarding their personal information. Please note that GfK US, LLC has not sold its Pet Care unit.

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