Two ZDNet surveys were sabotaged by a Telstra insider last week. In both surveys--"Does Telstra's BigPond Internet service provide value for money?" and "Should Telstra compensate its customers for regular service interruptions?," earlier results were skewed enormously to cast the telco in a positive, if somewhat suspicious, light.
Australia's leading telco has confirmed that the culprit has come forward but denied rumors that he has been fired. "The employee has apologized to Telstra management for any embarrassment or negative reactions his actions might have caused," a Telstra spokesperson said. "It's something he now realizes was the wrong thing to do...that's where the matter ends from Telstra's perspective."
ZDNet logs showed that the rogue answers had come from a Telstra IP address. When confronted with the evidence the telco giant confirmed it was the work of someone on the Telstra team but said it was not a Telstra-endorsed thing that happened. "Unfortunately we can't control all actions of individuals," Telstra's Stuart Gray said.
The industry heavyweight was quick to shift the blame, saying: "It actually served to highlight your polls are not that robust".
Telstra's in-house swindle has left ZDNet readers debating furiously the credibility of Internet polls versus what one ZDNet reader describes as Telstra's "bottom-of-the-barrel-scraping attempt to regain some small shred of credibility."
"The question here isn't about the credibility of online polls, but the fact that Telstra is a greedy company who doesn't give a damn about its customers, and will do anything it can to cover up its inadequacies," another ZDNet reader said.
In an interesting aside, before the results of the original ZDNet poll, "Does Telstra's BigPond Internet service provide value for money?" were corrupted, 25 respondents said no, value for money wasn't provided with just one respondent saying otherwise. That one respondent has since come forward to set the record straight, claiming to have voted “yes” by mistake.