mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Some companies don't have this whole internet thing down yet...

I regualarly surf Fatwallet, and sometimes I'll duck into the free stuff forum and sign up for, well, some free stuff. I've gotten a T-shirt, some golf balls, stickers, coupons for free food, ect.

I had signed up for a free Bavaria Beer T-shirt that was posted there - just got an email from them that "we've been spammed or hacked" - that they expected 200-300 requests, but got 27000. First 500 to reply to the email would get a t-shirt. I was too late, despite the fact that I got the email 15 minutes before I clicked the link.

I had a similar experience with Nike two years ago with a free golf ball offer that was supposed to be opened only to people who got mailers - but had a sign up form on the net. They, too, sent an angry letter out to people who signed up and basically accused them of hacking.

Companies need to realize that once something gets posted on the net, it spreads fast. Witness chain letters, news on blogs, the "slashdot effect" (websites posted on the popular tech site Slashdot frequenly get so much traffic that the servers crash). This is the internet, where word of free stuff spreads fast, and when all
that someone has to do is fill out a web form, people will, because they are cheap and like free stuff. If you don't want to get pretty much every person with a computer to sing up for your promotion, find a way to restrict people - require a one-time code, first x number, password protect it, ect. But don't accuse me of hacking because I signed up for something that was publically accessible. It makes you sound stupid and non-net-savy. Your customers get a bad taste in their mouth when you compare them to criminals for doing something perfectly legal that you should have had the common sense to realize would be done.


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