Monday, October 15, 2012

Survey Says: EA Screws Up Again

Tags: surveys, ea, vidoe games

Electronic Arts is arguably the most hated video game company on the planet.  Some of that hate is warranted, some of it is not.  This last weekend, EA decided to tips the scales even more toward the deserved hate end of the scale as they completely botched a survey promotion they were running.

The promotion was pretty straightfoward.  EA put up a marketing survey that granted people a $20 coupon code upon completion.  That coupon was good for games $19.99 and up, which means you could potentially nab a free game after filling out the survey.  So far so good, except that the coupon codes were universal (meaning that they could be posted online for others to use without actually completing the survey) as well as being reusable.  Soon, EA had thousands of codes being redeemed by people that had never taken the survey and codes being reused over and over again by the same people to get multiple free games.  Once EA found out, they shut down the codes.

Luckily, for those that already redeemed their codes (legitimately or not), EA has promised to still honor the orders.  Unfortunately, while EA shut down new redemptions of the coupon code, they continued to leave the marketing survey up that promised the $20 coupon code.  So basically, EA continued to take people's time and data while falsely promising them a $20 coupon code.  As you can imagine, this left a lot of people rightly pissed of.

Some of you may be thinking "So what, people spend a few minutes filling out a survey and think they are entitled to a free game.  Big deal!"  But the amount of time required to fill out a survey and the amount of compensation has no bearing on whether or not EA is basically scamming people.  Even if the survey took five seconds to complete, people are being falsely promised something for their time.  I'd imagine a fairly sizeable lawsuit will be heading EA's way in the near future. 

All EA had to do was shut down BOTH the coupon code AND the survey at the same time and everything would have been fine.  Instead, they apparently would rather ensure their legacy as the most hated video game company in the world.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Texas Police Arrest Teen for Online Harassment

Tags: online harassment, Texas

Using the internet just got a bit scarier as Texas police arrested a teenager for online harassment last week. The arrest was made possible due to a new Texas law that took effect September 1 that criminalizes online harrasment via email, text messaging, and social networking sites.

To me, this seems like a knee-jerk reaction to the MySpace suicide case. While harassment should be discouraged, enacting and enforcing a law that seems to single out online forms of harassment is not only unpractical, but as others have pointed out, is likely unconstitutional. Free speech is something we don't take lightly, and restricting free speech online seems like something that should hopefully be overturned soon.
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Monday, October 5, 2009

FTC Passes Regulations That Require Bloggers to Disclose Paid Reviews

Tags: astroturfing, ftc

The FTC has just revised some guidelines regarding endorsements that will directly affect bloggers that participate in paid reviews. Basically, the FTC has put in place some fines for bloggers that don't clearly disclose payments (or free products) they get from companies they review products for.

I, personally, welcome the new guidelines. While I don't have anything against those that do paid reviews, I do think the process should be as transparent as possible. You may be able to post a fair review of a product you've been paid to review, but your audience should be aware of any potential conflicts of interest.

With that said, many people have already begun pointing out some potential problems with the enforceability of the new rules. So far, it looks like bloggers are the only groups singled out, which would leave loopholes for countless other Web-related mediums. What about paid Twitter Tweets, Amazon reviews, or Facebook messages? I'd like to think they would all be covered by the FTC's new guidelines, but nobody seems to know right now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Google Ordered to Cancel User's Gmail Account

Tags: google

In my opinion, Google has the right to deactivate Gmail accounts for whatever reasons they like. It's a free country and with it being their service, Google can choose to alienate users by deactivating accounts if it so chooses. However, when a court orders Google to not only deactivate a user's account but to also disclose that user's information when the user has broken no laws whatsoever, well, then we've got a problem on our hands.

The user in question did nothing except receive an email that was accidentally sent to him. Sure, that email contained some highly sensitive financial documents, but it was the sender's fault not the recipient.

There's really not too much else to say about this. Anybody with any grasp of common sense should be able to see the huge problems with this court ruling. Basically, I could send some important documents to any Web account and get that account deactivated and the personal details revealed to me. That could include not only email accounts, but social networking accounts like Facebook and Myspace (they have their own messaging systems that can send and receive so-called "sensitive information").

Let's hope some sort of appeal will overturn this ugly ruling. Let's also wish for District Court Judge James Ware to find himself quickly out of work due to his lack of sanity in his rulings.

Monday, September 21, 2009

FCC Chairman Outlines Stance on Net Neutrality

Tags: fcc, net neutrality

A few weeks ago the FCC came out and declared that they would be supporting the idea of net neutrality. At the time, there weren't any real specifics talked about so many were skeptical of any action being taken.

While no direct action has been taken, the FCC Chairman has published a prepared statement that contains a few details on the finer points of the FCC's stance on net neutrality. It's a rather long statement, but there are some pieces that should be welcomed by proponents of net neutrality.
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