David Thorne is a graphic artist from Australia who is living here in Virginia here in the U.S. He maintains a hilarious (to me) blog called 27b/6, the title of which means…well, it must mean something to him. I’m not sure.
Anyway, this past winter David decided to go snowboarding. He went to a ski shop in his area in an effort to purchase a pair of gloves. He was assured by the staff of the store that the gloves were waterproof. First time out in the snow, David found out that not only were the gloves not waterproof, but the color in them bled and stained his jacket. So he went back to the store to try and exchange the gloves. Let’s just say that the experience did not turn out acceptably. And David, being David, did not take it lying down.
He posted a fake ad to his blog. It claimed that the store was giving away a snowboard, bindings and boots – for FREE! The “catch” was that you had to promise not to remove a sticker with the name of the store. There was no such promotional giveaway, of course, but legions of David Thorne’s fans thought the ad was real, and jammed the store’s phone lines and email with requests (5,000 of them, evidently). I saw the ad and was tempted to call. But I hate the snow and the cold so much that I’m not even interested in getting any type of winter gear even if it’s for free.
The store, as you can imagine, was not pleased. Someone (most likely the store owner) contacted David by email. Big mistake. What ensued was a typical exchange of increasingly bizarre letters in which the proprietor dug himself into a deeper and deeper hole.
David is not one to be, um, “messed with” (even though it was he who started it). He altered the ad slightly with some additional information and ran it again on his website.
Ah, the power of the internet! As nasty as David’s little ad spoof might be, I cannot see how he could be profiting in any way from it since his blog is free and doesn’t seem to have any banner ads or popups (so-called “click-through” ads that would generate traffic for someone else). David’s blog is no more “monetized” than mine. Nor did David run this ad anywhere but on his personal website (as far as I know). But it is a good lesson for businesses. One pissed-off customer can cause a whole lot of trouble.
You can read David's blog entry about the situation HERE. As with all of his postings, read the left column first to get the back-story, and then read the email exchanges.