Ookla Speedtest and dodgy advertising

speedtestI was testing my broadband connection speed yesterday after some family claims that ‘the Internet was slow today’. I fired up Ookla Speedtest and ran the test to find that my connection speed was as usual.

What was surprising was the pop-up that then came up saying that my connection speed was below the Australian average. I couldn’t not follow up on that and see what had happened to make the Australian average speed become so blisteringly fast.

Of course the link takes you to the download page for a spurious application to ‘find and fix system issues’ after again reiterating that my ‘Telstra Internet connection speed is below Australia average’.

As far as I can see the Australian average connection speed is somewhere around 10Mbps, which makes my 113Mbps look positively healthy and the advertising look positively misleading. Now while I can see ways that a clever person could justify the idea that my speed was lower than average (for example the average of the readings in the last few minutes) that’s not what’s implied by the page. It’s at best stupidly opaque from an internet metrics company and at worst simply misleading.

I was annoyed enough by this to try to contact Ookla and tell them they were carrying something so dodgy. It’s pretty hard to find anywhere to contact them on the page. You click on ‘contact’ and get taken to a page of FAQs with no actual contact details. I searched on ‘complaint’ and got no hits, but a link to ‘feedback’ – click on the feedback link and you get a 404-error. It’s all very ugly.

From beginning to end this is the sort of stuff that deeply annoys me because it’s exactly the sort of approach that confuses and misleads people into getting taken for a ride on the Net. It’s bad enough to see this from small organisations, but from a big organisation that touts itself as the ‘Definitive source for global internet metrics’ and ‘Winner of the 2014 Global Customer Value Leadership Award’ it’s just depressing.

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