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Harris Interactive ( ) is an Americanmarker market research company that specializes in public opinion research using both telephone and world-wide web surveys on online panels. The company is the product of a 1996 merger between the Gordon S. Black Company and Louis Harris & Associates.

Harris Interactive has produced the Harris Poll surveys of public opinion since 1963, and is a member of the US National Council of Public Polls (NCPP), the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO), the Council for Marketing and Opinion Research (CMOR), and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR). It creates many polls specially for the Channel 4 TV show 8 out of 10 Cats.


Harris Interactive was founded by Dr. Gordon S. Black in 1975, then a professor of political science at the University of Rochestermarker in New Yorkmarker. The company was originally named the Gordon S. Black Corporation. In 1996, it acquired Louis Harris & Associates (founded in 1956) from the Gannett Corporation. In 1997, the merged company renamed itself Harris Black International Ltd..

Growth of online polling

In 1997, the Internet was relatively new to the non-technical public. Harris Black International Ltd began exploring its use in the fall of that year. In December 1999, it went public and re-branded itself as Harris Interactive, a name that hinted at the increasing role of interactive surveys on the Internet.

In 2000, Harris Interactive raised questions about the fairness of the mail abuse system after it was blacklisted by Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS). On July 31, 2000 it filed a law suit against AOL, HotMail, MSN, Qwest, and several other ISPs for blocking its poll participants from participating in the survey. The suit was dropped later in September after private negotiations between the parties.

Acquisitions phase

Between 2001 and 2007, Harris Interactive grew by making a series of strategic acquisitions, including:
  • the custom research division of Yankelovich Partners Inc, a prominent market research firm in the last half of the 20th century; acquired in February, 2001.
  • Wirthlin Worldwide, well known for its political campaign surveys and award-winning market research; acquired in September, 2004.
  • MediaTransfer AG Netresearch & Consulting, a private European online research firm based in Hamburgmarker, Germany which provides access into the $2.2 billion German market research market - the fourth largest in the world; acquired April, 2007.
  • Decima Research, a full-service Canadian research firm; the combination creates one of the largest and the strongest research companies in Canada; acquired in August, 2007.
  • MarketShare, a private Asian research firm with co-located headquarters in Hong Kongmarker and Singaporemarker, providing access to the rapidly growing US$3.3 billion Asia Pacific market; acquired in August, 2007.

Harris Poll

The Harris Poll was created in 1963 by Louis Harris & Associates. When the company merged with Harris Interactive in 1996, the poll became the property of Harris Interactive. Company Members claim that Harris Poll has over 6 million panel-members worldwide.

In 1997, Harris Interactive began developing an on-line version of the poll. It has also developed several Internet-based specialist polls, including:


Harris Interactives has competitors in many sectors of the market research industry. Within the interactive survey market, its competitors are:
  • Synovate
  • TNS
  • Ipsos
  • J.D. Power and Associates
  • Maritz
  • Valient Solutions
  • Millward Brown

Up-to-date information about competitors may be obtained at these sites:
  • Yahoo Finance - provides key financial figures relative to competitors and industry as a whole. As of 2003-03-27, the yahoo listing only considers the online survey industry.


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