PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

October 27, 2010 -

The Parents Television Council has a new Secret Shopper Campaign to tell you about - coincidently a week before the Supreme Court hears the California video game law Schwarzenegger vs. EMA. The PTC claims that it sent "activists" into 109 stores in 14 markets in 11 states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

The PTC claims that "video game retailers sold Mature-rated games to minors 19 percent of the time, only a slight improvement over the 20 percent failure rate reported by the Federal Trade Commission in 2008." Around 21 stores sold M-rated games to minors, they say.

A chart showing the results can be found here.

Interestingly, the one real video game retailer, sold no M-rated games to the secret shoppers. Toys 'R Us and Shopko also landed at 0 percent. Improvements over 2008 PTC numbers include a 27 percent decline at "local and regional stores," a 3 percent decline at Blockbuster, a 7 percent decline at Walmart, and a 36 percent decline at Target. Increases included a 17 percent increase at Best Buy, and an 6 percent increase at Sears/Kmart.

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Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

Worse part is... PTC's OWN sting operation in 2008 showed a 35% failure vs the FTC 2008 20%.  BUT for some reason they choose to compare their 19% 2010 number to the FTC's lower number and not their own.

They actually argued in 2008 that their number was more correct (the 35%) than the lower FTC stat.

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

also in the news....

Game Vendors report an increase in ability to spot PTC "secret" shoppers. Target employees claim to have a very successful technique. They simply ask the customer "How did you like Halo?". PTC agents often reply "We love halos."

Gamestop employees reportedly keep an eye out for customers whose pockets are stuffed with pamphlets, wear suits inside the store, and spend a little too much time in the childrens game sections watching the kids instead of browsing games.

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

Why do people still want to talk about the PTC? Its already been shown that they don't really care about giving parents help.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

There has to be people that still believe they are a genuine organization.

------------------------------------------------------------ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

Exactly.  It's the same reason we kept talking about JT even after his repeated scandals -- these people need to be utterly discredited, not just to us but to the mainstream public.  That is the only way to neutralize them; until then they're still dangerous.

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

The PTC claims that "video game retailers sold Mature-rated games to minors 19 percent of the time, only a slight improvement over the 20 percent failure rate reported by the Federal Trade Commission in 2008." Around 21 stores sold M-rated games to minors, they say.

21 stores? I´m shocked. Quick, someone call to the White House. We got a conspirancy in our hands.

------------------------------------------------------------ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

Talk about a "glass is 20% empty" argument...

On the plus side, even though their spin is absurd, at least they're honest with their numbers; these match what the FTC told us recently.  I wouldn't have expected the PTC to collect its data fairly and scientifically.  Though of course the fact that I'm praising them simply for not falsifying data shows how low my bar is for them...

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

It strikes me that the number of retailers polled are a bit small. I'm not sure if you can even call the results statistically significant.

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

Considering the PTC has a long and well-established history of using straight-up lies in their rhetoric, I wouldn't trust any metric they produce- regardless of my feelings on their results.  Bring on independent researchers with well-controlled methodology if these things must truly be examined. 

 

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

So, if you put money in a kid's hands, drive him to a game store, tell him to go in and buy a mature game, sometimes it will work.

Shocking!

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

Parents, not shop assistants, are the ones tasked with protecting kids. If a parent decides that little Jimmy can go alone into Gamestop or Best Buy with a wad of cash, then they have decided that he's mature enough to play whatever game he can buy for the money. Stores (and government) should keep their noses out of it.

The games my daughter plays are my business, and my business alone, and that's the way it should be.

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

I wonder if they had minors trying to buy R-rated movies for the sake of comparison.

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

Probably not, since the Parent Trash Cult only whines about video games, GQ photoshoots featuring 24 year old actresses, and TV shows with symbols in the title.

Seriously though, they're pushing an anti-video game agenda and pushing it very poorly as their secret shopper results were an improvement over the FTC's last report by 1% and bettered the PTC's own previous 2008 report(in response to the FTC's report trying to make the FTC look bad) by half(I think the PTC claimed 38%).

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra. Hell will stay frozen over for quite a while since the Saints won the Super Bowl.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Solidarity for the Saints = No retreat, no surrender. 2013 = Saints' revenge on the NFL. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

So the PTC set out to (I assume) embarrass the gaming industry and show that Mature games are flowing steadily into the hands of children behind the parents back.  Instead, they find an overall 81% sucess rate, and marked improvements in most stores since the last secret shopper attempt.  No doubt the PTC thinks a 19% failure rate is horrific, but I can't help but smile.  If either side wanted to use this as anecdotal evidence during the SCOTUS trial, it sounds better for the gaming industry than it does for Yee and California.

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

What's even more pathetic is that you can see that they are still trying to scew their results. I mean they are comparing there own overall results to the FCC's 2008 results... tell me why not compare them to the PTC's own overall 2008 results? That's because if they did it would show that based on the PTC's own studies that there has been a great level of improvement in the last 2 years and thus prove that even by their own untrustful testing methods that things ARE getting better. Sure they do provide us with their own store by store results, but that's not how they are reporting their overall results of the "study". They bring up the FCC's 20% to compare to their own 19% as an obvious attempt to say the industry has not changed in the last 2 years. The PTC has an obvious agenda and as such will find whatever ways they can to scew the results. Frankly, if the FCC we conducting the study, we might see something more like a 10-15% range. 

It's kinda like how bushman reports the results of all his lame studies. Yes what he says is technically true, but what he claims is actually something of an exaggeration of his own findings (Like he might note an increase which is true but it might only be a less than 1% increase and no REAL researcher would consider such a small increase to be meaningful). And that's not even counting for other was the results might be interpreted, or the huge flaws in the studies themselves

 

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

It is really sad once you crunch the numbers(PTC's) and realize what actually happened.

The only two to rise in % from PTC's 2008 study are "Best Buy" and "Kmart/Sears".

In Bestbuy the actual differnce is one store (up to 2 from 1), which is far better sounding than a 17% increase.

For the "Kmart/Sears", the increase in stores is 3 (up to 5 from 2). Also there was a 125% increase in testing (up to 9 from 4). While this is bad, I take exception to these two chains being put together and can't help feel it is masking something else. And there seems to be some targeting bais, since it had the largest fail-rate in '08 outside Shopko and was mysteriously increased targeting.

The only other strange note is Walmart, which came up with 5 in both '10 and '08 but dropped it % due to the increase in stores "tested".

And since I did the rest, GameStop went from 1 to 0~Toys-R-Us went from 2 to 0~Shopko went from 1 to 0~Target went from 7 to 1~Blockbuster went from 4 to 3~Misc went from 13 to 5

And because I love bigger numbers, the overall rate of failure is  18.35% in 2010 and 35.64% in 2008. Kind of makes you wonder where PTC pulled the 19% from. I'll let you use you imagination on that one;)

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

 Yes i suppose the biggest problem with the PTC's study would be that they use far too small a sampling size to get accurate results. I'm not sure how many stores the FCC tests, but i expect that they have the man power and budget to conduct a much larger study; this can also be why they took the time to look at other forms of media as well. Ofcourse, the agenda driven PTC would never want to except the FCC's more accurate study so they make their own study so they get spread mistruths (lying without actually lying) about violent video games

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

No need to wonder. The full numbers are located here:

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/05/secretshop.shtm

No individual chain tested had fewer than 15 stores tested. Total stores tested: 253. The chains that sell the most games had more stores tested (at least that is what it looks like)

Gamestop - 66 stores

Walmart - 62 stores

Best Buy - 38 stores

So over all, the FTC studdy had a far larger sampling and thus more reliable results.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

FYI, guys, it's the FTC.  What does the FCC have to do with retail?

Anyway, as I said elsewhere, obviously they're adding a ridiculous, misleading spin to their results, but those results actually corroborate the FTC's.  Obviously their motives are nasty and their interpretation of the data is manipulative, but I can't actually find fault with the numbers they obtained, as they match those made by an actual scientific study.

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

 The fault is that the FTC's data is 2 years old... if we look at previous studies we can see that eachtime the FTC does one of these studies there has been a strong improvement in voluntary enforcement. Frankly if the FTC conducted a study today i would not be surprised if we had results more in the 10-15% range. Hell i seriously doubt the results the PTC got out of bestbuy are accurate (they would probably get better results if they tried a much larger sampling size). The PTC is at best trying to make their FLAWED study seem more legit by noting they match the FTC's study, or at worse try to make it seem like enforcement rates have not improved much in the past 2 years. 

Re: PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

"The fault is that the FTC's data is 2 years old..."

But that's an issue with PRESENTING the data, not gathering it.  I've already said the presentation was utterly smarmy and misleading.

"Frankly if the FTC conducted a study today i would not be surprised if we had results more in the 10-15% range."

We'll see when they publish the next one.  The most recent one, from 2009, has it around 20%, within the margin of error of the PTC's data.

"The PTC is at best trying to make their FLAWED study seem more legit by noting they match the FTC's study"

But the fact that it matches the FTC's study DOES grant it a measure of legitimacy.  I'd have to take a look at their methodology before I pronounced that it was flawed and just happened to come up with good data by coincidence.

 
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