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January 24, 2008
News - Free Day Recap
about 10 years ago
Now I have missed the cheapest tickets in the past, but I knew it was from getting to tickets.burningman.com too late, not because their server couldn't handle the load, so it started spitting out cheap tickets on a completely random basis.
It amazes me how badly you managed to screw up giving away something of value, with nothing to show for your money except massive amounts of ill will and former customers. I feel like you lied to me when you explained how your promotion was going to work, and I have no tolerance for that.
-- Doug Lippincott
Truly, do you believe it is possible to spend more money in an hour and 45 minutes and accomplish less?
My customer number is 31309, and I've left my cart open. I'm definitely still interested in the Saleae logic analyzer, but I will be buying it direct from Saleae, rather than you. I won't ever again buy something from you that I can find anywhere else.
As a side note, if you ever decide to do something like this again, talk to the people who run Burning Man. In about a week they will put 9000 tickets on sale for $210 each, and they will be gone in 3-4 hours, with a maximum of 2 tickets per person.. Those tickets will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis, with everyone able to see where they are in the queue as soon as they click the button that says they want to buy. The queue position is a number that steadily drops, and when it gets to zero, the purchase process will go very smoothly. No one will get timeout errors. Miss the window to buy $210 tickets, and you will pay $240 as part of the next group of 9000.
c) Given any potential new customers a horrible first impression. I had personally recommended SparkFun to 5 people, and now I will be apologizing to them for such a bad suggestion.
Now there is something important going on here that you will miss if you aren't paying attention. You didn't owe me a $100 discount on the $170 order that was in my cart, but what you did owe me was honesty. You represented this all along as a first-come-first-serve opportunity. Well, I was probably one of the very first to submit my order, and I do not believe 1000 people got ahead of me in the first 3 seconds you were open for business.
Ok, maybe it wasn't 3 seconds. The 4 browser windows I had open all showed different count-down times, but I was definitely submitted within a second or two of the first one saying you were open.
What you billed as first-come-first-served was in reality a game of chance, with the winners chosen by random browser timing. I played by the rules as you laid them out and did everything right, only to come up a loser with nothing to show for 6 hours.
Since Customer Service refuses to confirm my e-mail will be passed along to their president, I'll post it here (in 4 parts because of message-length limitations) in the hope he sees it.
Just wondering -- do you think there was anything you could have done to make your promotion more self-defeating? was up at 4 AM, California time and finally succeeded in getting the products I wanted to buy into my cart by 7:00. rom 8:00 until 10:00 I sat in front of my browser refreshing windows in an attempt to complete the order, but mostly what I got was time-out errors. wice I actually got to the screen to specify my shipping method, but clicking send sent the browser into never-never land, from which that session never returned.
Congratulations. You spent $100,000 to:
a) Prove to the world that you have no idea how to build an e-commerce site that can be scaled to meet demand, and
b) Pissed off a huge number of customers, a large number of which (like me) will go out of their way to avoid ever buying anything again from Sparkfun.
No public wish lists :(