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Botzilla sinking fangs into second MSNBC Windows poll?

Twice on the one page - you couldn't make it up...

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Luckless online news organisation MSNBC is showing every sign of having been pranged by poll-packing twice in the one week, and on the one page. We do feel slightly sorry for the loves, who're clearly not themselves fixing polls in Microsoft's favour, but if you run meaningless polls as entertainment in order to get hits, you do bear a certain amount of responsibility for the consequences.

Picking up the story from where we left off yesterday, we can report that MSNBC has confirmed that its poll on which was the best operating system has fallen victim to "what appeared to be electronic ballot stuffing." MSNBC therefore took the poll down, and put up a notice which confirmed that "MSNBC Live Votes are not scientifically valid surveys."

Course they're not - they're a bit of a laugh, and arguably they depend on word getting round about them, and the various interest groups all piling into the site in order to vote for their favourite. Linux Today encouraged that with the OS vote initially, and then apparently some huge, brutal, psychotic bot was unleashed in the Microsoft interest. The fact that it did so in such an obvious, over the top and unsubtle manner does tend to make one recall the business methods of certain top Redmond execs, but more likely it was just some nutter.

Ah, but what happens if you take away Botzilla's red meat? Well, there's another poll on the page, isn't there? It's actually attached to a perfectly rational article which by now must have generated more traffic than anything else MSNBC has done this year (so look on the bright side, guys), and it wants to know if you're going to buy Windows ME. The article, very sensibly, doesn't reckon WinME is a worthwhile upgrade, and yesterday the poll results reflected this to the tune of 91 per cent against buying it.

Today, at time of writing, 50 per cent of votes had gone in favour of buying WinME. That's quite a turnaround, in under 24 hours, for a poll that's been going for nigh on a week. We fear another MSNBC poll is about to bite the dust...

Jonathan Dube, technology editor of MSNBC, contacted us yesterday informing us the previous poll had been taken down. We've asked if MSNBC has any information about where the poll packing is coming from, but as yet we have no response. ®

Related stories:
Linux Today cries foul over Windows MSNBC poll surge
Where to check to see if they've taken it down yet

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