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August 11, 2011

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It would be interesting to do a controlled experiment to try to determine whether the naming of the contributor levels significantly affects people's desire to contribute. You'd have to do something like set up two websites that use different names (and somehow control for other factors) and see what happens. (I think that direct-mail people have long experience with trying out different ways to pitch things and being able to track the results -- ?)

@Mike: Yes, in direct mail it's called an A/B split. Magazines do it too (different cover images for different audiences). I don't know enough about the technology to say how it would be handled with a donation form (and most nonprofits don't have the budgets to cover such an experiment), but I'm pretty sure it's at least theoretically doable.

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