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How is your 'good' example - "Do you prefer the old dark grey/light grey or the new dark bluish grey/light bluish grey colors?" - any more of a valid question than your 'bad' example - "Which is better, Apple Tree House or the Black Pearl?" ? Neither would provide anything but collection of personal opinions, and neither provides information which is likely to be of any use.
If LEGO themselves were offering us the opportunity to influence future products, or colours, by asking us to host such surveys then that'd be a very different matter.... As it is, however, I don't see these surveys being of any more value than the "What do you think of this set ?"-type discussion threads which the staff tend to kill with extreme prejudice when we see them !