New Brunswick — Businesses all over the province are scrambling to check their facts after it’s been revealed that a statistics company used widely across the province has been providing false data. StatsRus is a company located in Fredericton that provides its clients with data, analytics and a varying degree of statistics relevant to individual businesses or groups. StatsRus is used by 67 percent of New Brunswick-based companies, according to their website. The site also boasts that companies are 388 percent more efficient after using the data they provide.
The claims of fraudulent numbers are coming from Joshua Preston, an employee who was recently released by the company for allegedly providing accurate statistics to one of the clients. “It was a freak accident,” he explained to The Manatee‘s reporter. “I knew enough to not give actual numbers, so I made up some fake ones like I always do, but this time they turned out to be right.”
Preston was doing some analytical work for a Saint John-based nightclub, and was asked to find whether there would be advantages to the club selling mini-bottles of Axe Body Spray in the men’s restroom. “I just took some numbers out of the dark and said something like ‘97 percent of men who go to nightclubs in Saint John wear Axe,’ and that number turned out to be dead on.” Preston added other statistics he thought were fake as well that turned out to be correct. “I probably would have been okay if it was just that one,” he admitted. “I made some other stats based on a correlation between body spray and hair gel and the type of women those things attracted, and the numbers all added up perfectly.”
The mistake was noticed by one of Preston’s supervisors during a routine audit where they found the alarming accuracy. “Apparently they do checks on this stuff to make sure we’re not doing any actual research, because that’s how they make so much money — they just make stuff up without doing any real work. Everything about the company is a sham, I mean, come on — even the logo is a poor imitation of Toys R Us.”
Other companies using StatsRus are appalled by these allegations, and are left wondering what to do next. “We’ve built our business on the data we’ve had provided,” said an angered Timothy Jones, owner/operator of the Country Pumpkin in Maugerville. “The research they gave us said that 94 percent of people prefer giant pumpkin signs as opposed to giant potato people, and now I don’t know what to believe.”
It wasn’t just independent businesses that used the help of StatsRus analytics either. The Government of New Brunswick had been using data provided by the firm to research public opinion on various hot-button issues that concern the population of the province. “Our data said that only 12 percent of New Brunswickers actually know what fracking is, but 68 percent of people are against it,” said Jennifer Gilmore, a government representative. “Eighty-two percent of voters voted for Brian Gallant simply based on his smile, 44 percent of Frederictonians have never gone to the city’s north side, 97 percent of New Brunswickers believe everything they read on Facebook. These are just a few of the stats that we’ve used in our planning and execution of different political platforms and initiatives,” expressed Gilmore.
Patricia Kelly, owner of a Campbellton hair salon that used StatsRus, vows never to bother with such analytical companies again. “We received stats saying that customers like us to ask them uncomfortable and personal questions about their sex life and stuff. They’ve made it so I can’t feel confident in these types of companies,” she said. “From now on, I’ll be getting my facts from more reliable sources like Wikipedia and Yahoo Answers.”
The Manatee has found that *86 percent of New Brunswickers have lost *45-90 percent of their confidence in *77 percent of N.B.-based companies due to this fraudulent group of statisticians.
*Statistics provided by StatsRus