Thursday, November 17, 2011

When Buzz Goes Bad

I hope that I'm not disappointing anyone, but this is not about Buzz Lightyear getting brainwashed by Lotso and going bad in Toy Story 3. This is about trying to reign in hype when it starts to turn on you.

For the most part, Topps has gotten rave reviews for this year's Diamond Giveaway. The die cut cards have been a huge hit, the factory set is a nice little bonus and for a lucky few there are diamonds and replica rings to be had. The only problem is that lately the spin has gotten out of control for Topps in regards to the Diamond Giveaway promotion.

The problems started when Topps decided a month after the release of Topps Update Series 3 Traded, Prospects, All-Stars and Debuts that they were going to add new 1/1 diamond encrusted cards of the big rookies in the Update series. When it was what Topps intended or not, it reeked of an attempt to perk up sales of an underperforming product. Most people who were going to buy large quantities of this product had done so already. It would have been one thing if Topps had let people know that the cards wouldn't be available right away, but they dropped the ball in the execution of this.

For months now, the Diamond Giveaway site has been very unreliable. Just check out my code entry videos for proof. See how many times the site would error out on me and take forever for anything to be processed. After that, there would be days where I would log in and I couldn't accept any trades. Other days, no trades could be offered. Many times, the site would error out just when you were accessing the card database trying to figure out a trade.

It got to the point where the complaints quickly outnumbered the praise when it came to the Diamond Giveaway and you never want that to be the case for a promotion such as this one. If people aren't enjoying the promotion, there's no reason for them to make that impulse purchase at Target of a couple of packs that come with a guaranteed Diamond Giveaway Code. It got to the point where you couldn't miss the complaints on Twitter, blogs or even on Topps' own Facebook page (before many of them "mysteriously" disappeared).

It would seem that Topps finally decided that they needed to take control of the spin. The Diamond Giveaway site has been down for almost 3 days now and hopefully when the site goes live again it will be running smoothly again. There's no way to smooth over any hurt feelings about the late addition of the new diamond cards, but at least they can get people using the site again. I'm also hoping that Topps extends the end of the promotion to reflect the months when the site wasn't useable or was down completely.

In the end, the promotion should be looked upon as a success and hopefully Topps will learn from the bumps along the road this year to improve the experience if they do anything similar in years to come. It's just unfortunate that all of these problems occurred this far into the promotion.

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