Users tend to have a feisty loyalty to their browser, so a recent study from AptiQuant both ruffled some feathers and stroked some egos. The study concluded that users of IE, especially IE 6.0 and 8.0, had a lower average IQ than users of other browsers. The only problem was the entire thing was as fake as it could be.
AptiQuant: The Fake Company & Study
The AptiQuant study made its way to a number of popular news outlets, including BBC (although it has since been removed). Part of that can be blamed on the great job Tarandeep Gill, the creator of AptiQuant, did on both the site and the study. Both look fully legitimate; the study even goes the extra mile by showcasing methodology, providing multiple charts, and giving an advanced introduction and conclusion.
There were a couple giveaways, however. For one, the final conclusions of the study showed Gill’s real motives: criticizing IE 6.0 and 8.0 for their incompatibilities with modern web standards and calling for an end to this “nuisance.” “In order to make websites work properly on these browsers,” says Gill, “web developers have to spend a lot of unnecessary effort. This results in an extra financial strain on web projects, and has over the last decade cost millions of man-hours to IT companies.”
That’s why Gill made the study and site in the first place. He was attempting to add features to his eCommerce site, but couldn’t make the changes compatible with IE 6.0 and 8.0 because of quirks in those browsers. He made the study as his way of calling attention to the issues – not expecting the study to be taken so seriously.
The site and study were revealed as a hoax when readers noticed that AptiQuant had only been around since July 14th. Gill himself later confirmed that the study was “a total hoax.”