Telstra busted rigging ZDNet user surveys

Telstra (the largest Australian telco) has confessed that a ZDNet Australia survey which questions whether the telco's Internet service provides value for money was rigged by someone within its ranks, just days after its ramped up Net access toll fell under the investigation of the competition watchdog for possible breaches of the Trade Practices Act.

ZDNet Australia set up a poll at 3pm on Thursday, which asked readers: "Does Telstra's BigPond Internet service provide value for money?" At about 5pm, 25 respondents to the poll said no, value for money wasn't provided by the national carrier, with just one reader saying otherwise.

Within half an hour, the survey had bulked up dramatically, sparking a disbelieving turnaround in Telstra's favour. Within those thirty minutes, a massive 287 respondents had apparently logged a favourable vote for Telstra – a response rate never seen before in previous ZDNet Australia polls and a bit of a dubious blackflip in light of the widespread criticism Telstra has attracted in response its Net price hikes.

ZDNet Australia logs showed that a "bot" on IP address 203.18.114.238, registered to Telstra's Internet Managed Services (IMS) division, had indeed been set to fix the survey results and consistently hit the "yes" option of the poll every second.

The poll fixing comes just weeks after it was revealed that Microsoft had rigged a similar ZDNet UK poll, putting .Net in a more positive light than Java for building Web services.

News source: ZDNet Australia

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