Browser IQ survey branded a hoax

You know that survey about IE users having lower IQs? Well, funny thing... the folks over at the BBC did a little sleuthing, and their findings suggest that AptiQuant, the self-described "Psychometric Consulting company" behind the survey, doesn't really exist.

First, the Beeb points out that the company's website was only set up "in the past month." A whois search reveals a creation date of July 14 for the domain. More incriminating still, AptiQuant's staff page looks like a carbon copy, with different names, of French research firm Central Test's roster. Central Test told the BBC that it knows about the pilfered staff pictures but has "no knowledge of ApTiquant or its activities."

All signs point to an elaborate hoax, then—but not a malicious one. The AptiQuant website contains no ads that I can see, and BBC News says the PDF file detailing the results doesn't contain any malware. I'm guessing the site was set up by clever pranksters who just wanted to poke fun at IE users.

Their scheme worked—brilliantly so. The BBC wasn't the only one to pick up the story last week; so did CNN, Forbes, The Register, Slashdot, and many others. The bogus survey got quite a bit of exposure... and probably miffed more than a few IE users.

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