An innocent plan to acknowledge the most talented recording artists of the 20th century was hijacked by Irish, Indian, Pakistani and Iranian mischief-makers whose patriotic double- clicking managed to secure the top plaudits at the expense of messrs Lennon, Dylan and Presley.
After the votes were counted it emerged that the best song of all time, was an Irish republican anthem titled 'A Nation Once Again'. In second place was India's 'Vande Mataram'.
Third place went to ‘Dil Dil Pakistan', an enduring crowd-pleaser in the clubs of Islamabad. Iranian artist Googoosh managed to get 29 of her songs nominated.
It was a rare triumph from a musical 'Axis of Awful' that no sanctions could ever silence.
The BBC learned to its cost that asking the public to vote can be a risky business and one that does not always generate the desired results.
One fears that Emaar's plan to let the public decide the name of its audacious 50-storey fountain project may suffer from the same Achilles heel.
The Middle East's largest real estate company intends to let the public name a US$218m water feature that will form the centrepiece of its Downtown Burj Dubai development.
It will extend over 275 metres, equivalent to two football fields and it will be capable of propelling 22,000 gallons of water some 150 metres into the air - or roughly the amount of energy required to catapult a frog into space, which many environmentalists might argue would represent a better and more sustainable use of the money.
The fountain competition comes just days after Abu Dhabi published new building guidelines aimed at reducing water and power consumption in a state that ranks among the highest per capita users of energy in the world. The new guidelines advise "avoiding water features that have little indispensable amenity value".
It would seem that this super-sized sprinkler that will cost more to build than the average Dubai skyscraper may conceivably be included within such a category - or perhaps not.
At a time when some serious strides are being made in reducing the environmental footprint of the state and developers are beginning to incorporate energy-saving features within their developments, fountain-based mega-projects don't really help in promoting the green agenda.
And I'd guess that Emaar's invitation to let the public decide, may produce a similarly anarchic response as the 150,000 votes generated by the BBC World poll in 2002. There's no accounting for taste.
Sean Cronin is the editor of Arabian Business English.
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