FOLLOWING OUR story about Asus' blogging competition debacle, the firm has explained how flagarant vote-rigging caused the firm to change voting policy on the Electric Pig website.
The INQ reported that Asus had chosen six reviewers, laden them with its kit - laptops and netbooks - and dropped them into the bog(osphere). The idea was that readers would be able to vote for the bogger they liked best. The winner would receive an Eee PC 900.
So far, so good PR.
But Asus decided to discard the popular vote and appointed blogger Emma Hill, who won just one per cent of the readers' ballots, as queen of the crop. We at the INQ questioned the decision, as did a majority of the readers who had voted for Gavyn Britton.
A week later the Taiwanese firm has got back to us with an explanation of what went wrong.
"Unfortunately, during the voting process, Electric Pig became aware that the voting system had become susceptible to a person (or people) looking to unfairly influence the outcome of the vote," Asus spinner John Swatton told us. "One of the bloggers received in excess of 800 votes, all generated from the same IP address," he added, but stopped short of pointing a finger at Gavyn Britton's mum.
In total, says Asus, eight IP addresses were used to generate more than 1,670 votes, "effectively invalidating the whole voting process."
So Electric Pig and Asus decided the best thing to do was gloss over the whole snafu by changing the voting policy rules with no explanation to readers and voters whatsoever.
Each of the six bloggers was given one vote to cast, whereby Emma Hill and her Eee Top emerged victorious. This process has sound democratic precedent: it's what developed nations do to appoint the head of a small emerging country with strategic significance or exploitable natural resources.
Swatton wanted the INQ to know that "in no way are we stating that any of the bloggers themselves were responsible for the voting manipulation."
"Asus, Electric Pig and the six bloggers are very disappointed that an external influence outside of any of our control, has unfairly tarnished the reputation of this competition," Swatton told the INQ, adding the firm would "like to thank the six bloggers for their honesty and openness in writing their blogs."
In compensation for the whole debacle, Asus awarded all the other bloggers an Eee PC 1000H (an upgrade from the original Eee PC 900 prize).
Yes, democracy is a pain in the Asus. µ