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1 in 10 believe that HTML is a sexually-transmitted disease, according to study [updated]

UPDATE: iMediaEthics looked into this report, which was also reported by Time and BuzzFeed, and found that Vouchercloud’s publicity firm is 10 Yetis PR.

The site pointed out that 10 Yetis PR was involved in viral publicity stunts in the past, raising questions about the validity of this study. In turn, the agency answered Time‘s inquiry into the matter, saying that the study was completely valid.

“It’s a completely real study and survey that we sent out to a large database,” said the PR agency. “I’ve read the claims I know exactly what you’re talking about, but it is a real tried and tested method. We’re quite well known in the U.K. for doing these. It’s 100% genuine and what we do is 100% valid.”

This might be the press release in question, published on Scribd by Matthew Keys.

ORIGINAL STORY: HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, is a language used for creating web pages and information you see in a web browser. While the tech savvy people know that very well, it seems that some Americans have a different idea of what HTML is. A very different idea.

Coupons website Vouchercloud.net conducted a study, which consisted of 2,392 men and women over 18 years old, in order to gauge how well Americans know tech-related terms. They were shown tech and non-tech terms and were then asked to pick from three possible definitions. 1 in 10 thought HTML was a sexually transmitted disease. 

“Technology is a huge interest for our user base, and month after month we see thousands of people visiting our site to look for coupons and deals to use when purchasing their favorite tech products,” said a company spokeswoman in a statement sent to The LA Times. “It seems that quite a few of us need to brush up on our tech definitions.”

When the study found that 11% of presenters thought that HTML was an STD, the company spokeswoman could not be closer to the truth. Let’s look at other interesting results:

  • 77% did not know what SEO, or “Search Engine Optimization,” stood for.
  • 27% thought that a gigabyte, a unit of computer memory or data storage, was an insect found in South America.
  • 23% believed that MP3, a common audio format, was a robot found in Star Wars.
  • 15% of respondents said that software, a term used for computer programs, was comfortable clothing.
  • 12% thought that USB, a common type of connector, was an acronym for a European country.
  • 18% believed that Blu-ray, a DVD format used to store high-definition video and data, was a marine animal.
  • 42% identified a motherboard, a circuit board that acts as the glue for a computer’s components, as “the deck of a cruise ship.”

Despite these pretty hilarious results, 61% of respondents said that having good knowledge of today’s technology is important. The irony here is sweeter than double-layered chocolate cake.