Deviant Samsung Mini Sweepstakes

Kudos to the Samsung Mini Sweepstakes for deviating from the norm in ways fashioned to confuse the users.

Here’s the entry form for the contest:

The Samsung Entry form
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Notice that Samsung’s interactive agency has seen fit to mark, with asterisks, the optional fields; the de facto standard is to mark the fields that are required. The footnote is at the bottom, too, certainly serving to confuse people who rely on text readers who won’t hear that until the end. Good work on inserting the e-mail address field in the middle of the street address, which can cause those who type automatically to trigger validation messages.Additionally, there’s the obligatory JavaScript error:

The Samsung JavaScript error
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Of course, when one completes the form, removing the checkmark from the opt-in checkbox, if you have Internet Explorer’s pop-up blocker enabled, you block a pop-up which might be a success message or it might be a warning that the FBI is coming for your attempt to access Samsung’s mainframe. Of course, if you don’t know what it means and fill out the form again, congratulations! You’ve voided all of your entries. That’s not a bug, that’s a feature!Then, one receives an e-mail message whose from address includes a misspelled word that thanks you for opting into the mailings, which, of course, you didn’t do and which is a very bad thing.

Back when I worked at an interactive agency, I would never have allowed a sweepstakes with these errata onto the Internet. However, the standard seems to be much lower on the World Wide Web at large, but I don’t understand how brands, particularly technology companies, think it helps their image to have buggy, ill-designed promotions associated with their names.

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