Rigging controversy brings online polls into question

The controversy surrounding a Telstra employee’s manipulation of an online consumer poll has brought the validity of such polls into question.

InfoChoice conducts regular Quick Polls of this sort but has taken to steps to maximise the integrity of results.

An investigation by technology website www.zdnet.com.au showed that a ‘bot’ on an IP address within Telstra’s Internet Managed Services division had been set up to constantly ‘hit’ the ‘yes’ button on one of its polls.

While no online polling system requesting anonymous responses can be declared absolutely foolproof, InfoChoice’s technology ensures that multiple voting cannot happen in this way.

The poll in question asked users whether they thought the internet service they received from Telstra was value for money.

Some 287 votes were received in just 30 minutes responding that Telstra Bigpond offered “value for money”. This radically changed the overall results from negative to positive, prompting ZDnet to investigate.

A spokesperson from Telstra said the telco did not endorse this kind of behaviour and would investigate the matter further.