I have closed the Which of these is most evil? poll, which had been running from 20 February 2009. It attracted 2,351 voters, each of whom could distribute up to three votes among thirteen (yes, that number was deliberate) candidates. Here are the ranked results:
- Satan (36%, 846 Votes)
- Microsoft (31%, 721 Votes)
- Apple (26%, 614 Votes)
- RIAA/IFPI/MPAA (26%, 601 Votes)
- Miley Cyrus (23%, 546 Votes)
- Autodesk (23%, 536 Votes)
- Disney (16%, 382 Votes)
- Google (10%, 230 Votes)
- Dell (7%, 172 Votes)
- The Pirate Bay (6%, 147 Votes)
- Sony (6%, 140 Votes)
- Steve Johnson (4%, 89 Votes)
- Gaahl (3%, 82 Votes)
That top three is not going to shock anyone (except perhaps some fanbois), but are some surprises in the list. For example, more than a quarter of voters were aware enough of the evils of Big Content to be able to decipher the alphabet soup RIAA/IFPI/MPAA choice and select it. More than four times as many people think this litigious pack of demons is voteworthy than think the same about arch enemies The Pirate Bay. That’s not so shocking for those of us with our fingers on the pulse of popular opinion, but I was surprised to see so few people choose Big Content arch-villain Sony. Rootkit, anyone?
For Autodesk, this poll is something of a triumph, with less than a quarter of voters putting the company in the top three. Mind you, Autodesk was faced with some very stiff competition, being very narrowly edged out of fifth place by Miley Cyrus.
Only one in ten of you thought Google was worthy of selection. This is Google, a company that knows more about you than you do. Google, which passes out your information whenever it feels it might gain some strategic advantage from doing so, and really doesn’t care when it violates your privacy. Google, which insists on knowing my phone number before it lets me sign up for its Facebook-copy thing, because it obviously feels it doesn’t already have enough information about me. Google is apparently “do no evil” enough to attract far fewer votes than more sinister recipients such as, say, Disney.
Dell has been on my personal brown list for some years now, since repeatedly sending out fax spam to me and many other Australian businesses. It forced me to deal with its abysmal “customer service” [sic] Indian call centre in order to try to get it stopped. After making me wait for ridiculously long times while passing me round between various clueless, indecipherable people, a manager finally lied to me to get me off the phone. He assured me I would be taken off the list. The Dell fax spam continued until I finally gave up and threw the machine away; rather that than attempt to deal with Dell again.
Prior to this, I had no dealings with Dell and had just assumed it was a reasonably respectable company. It was only after this episode that I learned that Dell is utterly without ethics; my experience was perfectly normal. Indeed, victims of its shonkier practices (illegal bait-and-switch marketing, lying about stock and deliveries, repeatedly sending out “repaired” units that are totally non-functional, etc.) will probably think that I got off very lightly indeed. Dell has never seen a cent from me and never will. I’ve been very happy to pass on my feelings about the company to everyone who has ever asked for my hardware advice, as happens from time to time. 7% or not, Dell can go to Hell.
Finally, it’s official, I am more evil than Gaahl. Who? Gaahl is a Satanic death-grunt vocalist from black metal band Gorgoroth. He has performed in corpse paint on a stage decorated with sheep’s heads on spikes, and blood-splattered naked women hung up on crosses. Gaahl has been convicted of viscious violent assault multiple times, including one occasion where he was alleged to have threatened to drink his victim’s blood. I’m sure my metal friends will be very impressed by me being considered more evil than that. \m/