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General suggestions or questions about the SparkFun Electronics website
By tetsujin
#89585
SodaAnt wrote:
tetsujin wrote:You can skip checkout_shipping (if you're OK with the default shipping option) by going directly to http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/checkout_payment.php... That's one painful, thrashed page load you can simply skip... All with just the tiniest bit of "internet savvy"...
That didn't do me any good. I got to the payment page three times and after filling in the data and clicking on "continue" the site bounced me back to the previous page. All three times. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Really? Weird... I wonder if it just let me past the shipping page because I'd already been there for that cart (two days prior)?

That trick got me as far as "confirm order" - but then it timed out on me and I couldn't get it to load...
By casiotone1331
#89586
I don't think that some people understand why some of us are a tad disappointed. Some of us couldn't even see the login page or even the homepage let alone the confirmation page. The only way that this could have been "fair" in any sense, is if we all had a shot of checking out. If I smoothly flew through checkout and then saw that Free Day was over, I'd know that my chance was had. Blindly sifting through constant F5 strikes until the giveaway was over is like a bag over the head and a punch in the face at the end. You can't win the lottery without playing, and those of us who couldn't play were a bit testy about it.

But, hey, this is only my opinion. This would have been a great introduction to SparkFun (as I'm a pretty avid Mouser fan), and I'm not going to let a minor setback like this keep me from coming here. I just would have appreciated a better chance. I loled at SF's latest post about the day, stating that they had estimated the sale to end in 2-3 hours. I mean, it's the internet. Everyone here knows everything about everything. :?
By playmobil
#89591
That didn't do me any good. I got to the payment page three times and after filling in the data and clicking on "continue" the site bounced me back to the previous page. All three times. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
The same thing with me. :cry:
By Applekid
#89592
tetsujin wrote: And I have to say: if you spent two hours trying to load http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/checkout_shipping.php, then you're not nearly savvy enough. I mean, I did a little tinkering a day or two before Free Day, and you know what I found? You can skip checkout_shipping (if you're OK with the default shipping option) by going directly to http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/checkout_payment.php... That's one painful, thrashed page load you can simply skip... All with just the tiniest bit of "internet savvy"...
I'd call that cheating. :D
All php pages should have been renamed, and GET/POST parameters should have at least been munged.

Considering the site problems and the destiny that I wouldn't wind up getting in on the action, I think I'm more upset I lost 15 minutes from my lunch hour since it wasn't over soon enough. LOL

How about some large "FREE DAY" stickers on the items when they ship out so if we find pictures on ebay we can, um, I dunno, didn't think that far through.
By tetsujin
#89597
Applekid wrote:
tetsujin wrote: And I have to say: if you spent two hours trying to load http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/checkout_shipping.php, then you're not nearly savvy enough. I mean, I did a little tinkering a day or two before Free Day, and you know what I found? You can skip checkout_shipping (if you're OK with the default shipping option) by going directly to http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/checkout_payment.php... That's one painful, thrashed page load you can simply skip... All with just the tiniest bit of "internet savvy"...
I'd call that cheating. :D
All php pages should have been renamed, and GET/POST parameters should have at least been munged.
I think it would have been pretty funny if they'd done that... People would get all their ducks in a row to automate their way through the checkout system, and then suddenly on Free Day all their efforts would be sundered. Or... can you imagine if they'd invalidated everyone's login sessions and cleared their carts? What a nightmare that would've been... Having to actually rebuild the cart under those conditions... I don't think a lot of people would have seen the humor in that sort of thing that I do... Not judging by all the sore losers speaking up. XD

But since they didn't change the mechanics of the order process - IMO even automating the sequence of POST requests is fair game. Any given problem that comes up, if someone can improve their chances through superior automation, I say they deserve the win. :)
By 3d29
#89601
I love Sparkfun, I feel it's the best shop I ever bought from and everything from Sparkfun always worked great for me.

I couldn't even see the site an hour before freeday, even though I had built my cart before hand and needed just to click checkout! hehe

Ah well.. maybe nextime.
By bryantiller
#89606
Even Though I rarely do this...I feel compelled to share my sparkfun free day experience.

I'm a professional user experience designer with quite a bit of web marketing background. I found this promo and the buzz around it very interesting to watch and experience.

I enjoy hacking electronic gadgets and have way more sparkfun stuff than I'll ever find time to put together. Sparkfun is one of my favorite web destinations, so when I saw the free day announcement I immediately began thinking of what new toys I could build. I explored nearly the entire site and created a $240 shopping cart. I knew there was a good chance I wouldn't make the cut-off, but I was never able to get a page to load after the promo started. I spent about 2 hours locked to my machine...hoping. I ended up getting through an hour after the end of the promo, and finally ordered about half the stuff in my cart, but I'm left with a feeling of disappointment.
I will continue to shop because of the great product offerings and customer service, but wonder if that was the best way to promote the overall awesomeness of Sparkfun. Surely there are many new customers...a few happy existing customers...and a whole bunch of market buzz, but I would guess there are many, many frustrated folks out there including some loyal customers. I'll be interested to see what's next. Thanks.
By brainwav
#89607
Maybe they should have went with 50% off up to $100 before discount.
By masgrada
#89619
So I got in around $30k

I made my cart @ 2am.

I changed my timeouts in firefox to something like 1,000,000. I had a number of timeouts after many minutes but I had several page loads that eventually let me check out. Also, I disabled images from loading. Didn't need to waste what little bandwidth I was getting on images.

So after the initial crashes it looks like the only problem was browser timeouts. Any one else think the same?
By sirscott71
#89621
masgrada wrote:So I got in around $30k

I made my cart @ 2am.

I changed my timeouts in firefox to something like 1,000,000. I had a number of timeouts after many minutes but I had several page loads that eventually let me check out. Also, I disabled images from loading. Didn't need to waste what little bandwidth I was getting on images.

So after the initial crashes it looks like the only problem was browser timeouts. Any one else think the same?
Dang - wish I had thought of that!
By lee810
#89629
It seems that of the negative comments are centered around the 'unfairness' of the process because someone less deserving cheated and now they got $100 worth of free stuff and I did not and I should be compensated for my 'loss.'

I filled my cart last night just like many of you but was never able to make it to the finish line because the servers couldn't keep up with the load. However, even if the servers were able to process the load, the stats would likely have been the same, i.e., for every 70 people trying like mad to check out, only one made it. This is based on Nate's posting on the home page that 1000 orders were filled, and there were nearly 70,000 unique users on the system during the event.

So I don't feel too bad. I tried, but like 98.5% of you, I didn't get my free stuff. What I don't understand is why some people jump to the conclusion that the 1.5% of those who were successful are not deserving of their parts. Are they just dabblers, infidels, and other miscreants who are going to re-sell their stuff on Ebay? There's no way to know that.

And it's not like this campaign was simply to reward loyal repeat customers (of which I am one). I assume it was done to attract more customers by getting attention, and I'd say that it succeeded admirably. I don't think you can get to #1 on Google for $100,000. You'd have to pretend to have lost your kid in a hot air balloon to get that level of attention.

The servers stayed up, the process lasted long enough to keep things interesting, and I'm sure a lot of the good folks at SparkFun are glad it's over. But now they have to ship all that stuff out :-).
By tetsujin
#89678
lee810 wrote:It seems that of the negative comments are centered around the 'unfairness' of the process
I think "fairness" is overrated. Who says the rules have to be perfectly equitable to everyone who participates? Why should anyone feel entitled to a perfectly balanced opportunity to win?

The purpose and nature of a contest is to be a mechanism for selecting winners. It doesn't exist to "be fair" to people, it exists to produce that selection. In the case of a game, there's usually (exceptions being an overly simplistic game like tic-tac-toe or a completely dice-driven board game in which one has no real decisions to make) a way for clever people to increase their odds of winning - and that's the challenge. You learn the nature of the contest up-front and try to find ways to win, to make the contest unfair for someone else. That's more fun than a "fair" game, "fairness" is the removal of avenues through which you can increase your odds of winning...
By SGSeeker
#89845
tetsujin wrote: Or... can you imagine if they'd invalidated everyone's login sessions and cleared their carts? What a nightmare that would've been... Having to actually rebuild the cart under those conditions...
I rebuilt my cart on the evening of the 6th, only to have it emptied for no apparent reason just over an hour before the day started, when the servers began to tank. I was unable to get any items added back into the cart for 90 minutes before I gave up and had to leave. This was on an OC48 connection (much closer to the internet backbone than a home connection) and I only got a single page to actually load in that entire time span with browser timeouts set to 10 minutes. The empty cart was the frustrating part for me and I couldn't even get the one item added back in, even after trying to sent only the "add to cart" URL for the item.

Either way, no big loss but I too think they should not have called this a "give back" from the beginning unless they meant to the world but not to previous customers - the "back" should be removed from that statement then. As far as I know, what I wanted cannot be purchased elsewhere though so I'll get it eventually. I'm sure the resellers will find that their items will bring next to no profit though as many of the resell-able items are already less than half the (sparkfun) retail price on the auction sites.
By tetsujin
#89855
SGSeeker wrote:
tetsujin wrote: Or... can you imagine if they'd invalidated everyone's login sessions and cleared their carts? What a nightmare that would've been... Having to actually rebuild the cart under those conditions...
I rebuilt my cart on the evening of the 6th, only to have it emptied for no apparent reason just over an hour before the day started, when the servers began to tank.
Out of curiosity, were you logged in when you added things to the cart initially?
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