“Click Frenzy” was a marketing/PR
hypno-orgy right from the start

20

blog Confused about what the hell this whole “Click Frenzy” online retail phenomenon thing that we’ve all been reading about over the past several weeks was all about? Join the club: I’m a paid-up member. Maybe I didn’t get the original press release. Thankfully, local IT geek and Delimiter reader Dawnstar (not his real name) has posted several epic rants and deconstructions of legendary proportions on his blog to explain it to y’all, complete with SPAM Act illegality, journalist/public relations/marketing love-ins, technical fails and a health dose of sarcasm. His original analysis, when it all began, is here, and the follow-up is here. Dawnstar writes:

“They have successfully managed to build up some buzz for their site thanks to journalists at both Fairfax and News Ltd helpfully just regurgitating their press material with little attempt at investigative journalism. I feel however attempting to artificially create a “cyber sales event” in Australia is a desperate act of an industry that has been far too reluctant to evolve with the times. Cost is not the only reason people shop online, they also want decent service and better range of products than can be acquired in Australia.

Creating a once a year event which they’ve kinda but not really tried to associate with the Melbourne Cup by branding itself as “The Sale That Stops A Nation” stinks of desperation and lack of any original thought. Furthermore trying to force both the retailers and the consumers to funnel through the site strikes me as slightly creepy (still not clear where the personal details and purchasing habit data will go) and open to manipulation.

One last thing – I will award a shiny medal to any Australian journalist that manages to think critically about these sort of things for a few minutes and stop just regurgitating press release material.”

I couldn’t agree more. This kind of attempt to replicate the US’s Black Friday gadget sales discount day has been tried before in Australia, and it’s failed before, but never before have we seen such huge complicity by the media in hyping what was actually quite an insignificant initiative into epic proportions. Hubris fell on Click Frenzy’s head, clearly, as its site collapsed due to all the traffic generated by the hype on the actual day (although the site appears to have fixed that problem, at least in the short-term). It turns out that “buying stuff on the Internet” is big business, and that lots of people want to support this kind of activity, regardless of the ethics concerned or whether the whole shebang is good for consumers. Now, after you finish reading this article, don’t forget to click on Delimiter’s ads. All of them. All glory to the Hypno-Toad!

Image credit: Still of Futurama’s Hypno-Toad

20 COMMENTS

  1. As soon as I saw the “You Must Register and Enter your Email Address” on the first page, I closed it.

    • Really? I just closed that popup and browsed the site………….

      ……………ahahahahahahaha, I lie, I couldn’t browse the site.

    • Pity yours, mine and everyone else’s wife didn’t

      I’m not being sexist, but she just doesn’t get the whole ‘personal privacy’ thing

      • Actually, that’s ridiculously sexist. You just implied that women generally are more stupid than men concerning online privacy. A general comment implying a derogatory notion about a whole gender. That’s the definition of sexism.

    • I clicked the link at the bottom “Already registered? Skip >” and got in without entering any details.

  2. I’d love to see a dissection of who was the driver behind this, and how they managed to stuff it up.
    I mean each of the sellers web sites falling over I could understand, but why on earth was it so badly set-up that the front page pooped itself so quickly.?!?

  3. What’s so crazy is that the technology to prevent a site failing due to traffic is readily available, with Amazon opening their Australian region last week, and RightScale (for whom I work) doing the same not long prior, Rackspace having a sales office here for over a year, and so on.

    • Rumor has it, that it was a pretty small scale setup. No distributed CDN, and only one or two web servers. Given the hosting provider’s website also crashed, im guessing no dedicated internet circuit either. I wonder how many other customer’s sites crashed as a result?

  4. Not sure why this is news, catch of the day pull a similar stunt every few months with similarly terrible results.

  5. i’m sure i saw someone from Catch of the Day stating how bad this was done – comparing it to themselves..

    everytime there is a good sale on CoTD it crashes

  6. I had no problems at all with ClickFest. I simply went to ozbargin, where all the participating retailers were listed and went direct to their site.

    Why bother with the click through portal?

  7. I agree with his comments, especially about “they also want decent service”. I went into Harvey Norman to buy an Acer tablet (I normally do not choose HN but they were the cheapest by my research) and the response I got was something along the lines of “we don’t have any more and will not get any more in due to the Apple vs Samsung court case, would you like to buy an iPad?” Really!?!

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