UPDATE: Community & marketing: identify focus groups based on site visitors pattern & web browsers

UPDATE: this was a beautifully managed hoax that managed to fool organizations like CNN, CNET, Forbes - and BBC (which I personally also use as primary news source). If you are interested, you can read more about the genesis and history of this hoax here.
Besides that I would need to reconsider the news sources that I trust, this story brought some light to the issues that web development companies have when dealing with Internet Explorer's lack of compatibility with standards (which is especially true for IE6, but IE7 brings also problems of its own). For this reason, I decided to leave this News on the MontenaSoft site as an example of my 'wishful thinking' as a developer and a reminder to check and double-check information in future, even if the source of info looks rock-solid .

Today I found a very interesting Canadian study that links the IQ of your web site visitors with browser versions. Combining the study with your website statistics regarding OS & browser version, you can filter the marketing "focus groups" that are visiting your web site.

The study was made through online IQ test, but the web visitors were not informed that the goal was to link the IQ with the web browser software. The study covered USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand and the visitors came to the IQ test site mostly through search engines (looking for free IQ tests) and paid ads, and the data sample was relatively large. Therefore, it is to assume that the study is covering general population pretty accurate.

browser vs. IQ statisticsSource: AptiQuant

Not surprising, the users of Internet Explorer 6 to 9 scored in average to about 90 IQ points (below average intelligence of 100 IQ). That can probably be traced back to several factors, from lack of computer literacy to general resistance of trying something new. Firefox, Safari and Chrome users come to an IQ of about 110. IE with Chrome Frame, Camino and Opera users scored in average over 120 IQ points.

Several interesting points can be read from this study:

1) If you want to combine the results of your web site visitors per browser per version with this study (for instance, through AWStats), and combine it also with geo-location and local studies that links IQ to income, social preferences, etc, you can actually track very easily some useful marketing information: what kind of people are actually visiting your web site.

2) This kind you can more easily shape your web marketing strategy through identifying the focus group that you actually targeting. This was something that is generally very hard to do, since geolocation techniques were principally the only way trying to identify the non-authenticated web site visitors.

3) Last but not least, development departments of all companies have spent in last decades a lot of effort trying to create code that complies to Internet Explorer, especially 6 and 7 (that are far away from following the web standards); we are talking here about millions of working hours. So if you need an argument to support dropping IE6 & 7 support from further development, perhaps you have find one here.

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