Sky's news quiz: shameless stats booster

Sky have just launched their new online quiz application, with a couple of interesting twists. It’s a fairly rudimentary Flash-based application, inviting you to type your answer into a text input box, rather than choosing from several predefined options. Of course, that means you’d better be exact in your spelling – and make sure you’re exactly in sync with the expected answer. Trying it this morning, I was marked wrong for a question where the answer I gave was entirely accurate, but presumably didn’t match the pre-defined response. (An improvement might be the ability to store multiple ‘correct’ answers against the same question, to cover for scenarios like this.)

It’s interesting because it’s only open from 9am to 4pm daily, with a leaderboard published at 4.15 – guaranteeing an extra site visit later in the day, I suppose. And because each question has a ‘clue’ link to the relevant story on the site. So guess what: if you don’t know the answer immediately, you need only to click the ‘clue’ and start reading. Meanwhile, of course, Sky tots up another page impression.

I’m in two minds about this. The time restriction is a smart move, and doesn’t offend me. But I’ve got  a bit of a problem with the sneaky boosting of page impression numbers by directing people to clue articles. The quiz is against the clock: so by definition, people aren’t actually reading the clue articles… and they certainly aren’t staying around long enough to click on any ads.

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