Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/03/internet_explorer_iq_study_hoax/

It's official: Journos are dumb as a bag of IE users

100,000 fake browser IQ tests can't be wrong

By Cade Metz

Posted in Applications, 3rd August 2011 17:21 GMT

A recent online research study indicating that Internet Explorer users have lower IQs than other browser users was likely bollox.

In other words, it's no different than any other online research study.

Last week, myriad news outlets – including the BBC, CNN, Forbes, The Telegraph, and, yes, The Register – reported on a survey posted to the web by a research outfit calling itself AptiQuant. The survey purportedly measured the IQs of 101,326 internet users and correlated these IQ scores to each user's browser of choice.

According to AptiQuant, the IQs of Internet Explorer users ranked significantly lower than those of other netizens, but it would appear that AptiQuant doesn't exist and that the survey was a hoax.

The AptiQuant website was set up only in the past few weeks, and the purported photos of its staff were lifted from the website of a French research outfit that had no knowledge of anything called AptiQuant.

Many news outlets are busy flagellating themselves for falling for the hoax. But this seems odd when you consider that these news outlets run stories on equally ridiculous market studies on an almost day basis. What's more, most Reg readers would argue that we all know Internet Explorer users have lower IQs than everyone else. So where's the harm?

The facts are that AptiQuant doesn't exist and its survey was a hoax. But facts and surveys are very different from the truth. "It's official: IE users are dumb as a bag of hammers," read our headline. "100,000 test subjects can't be wrong." The test subjects weren't real. But they weren't necessarily wrong either.

You may disagree. But we have no doubt that someone could easily survey 100,000 real internet users and somehow prove that we're exactly right. And wrong. ®