"You're in line" is not acceptable for applications

Today I'm watching the opening day game of the Indians. I noticed a link at the bottom of the screen to enter a "promo code" for something called "Tribe Rewards", so of course I grab my laptop to check it out.

It's opening day, a game that we've been waiting on for over 6 months, you should expect a lot of people to be watching. You're advertising something on this station, so you'd expect to get a decent amount of traffic right? You're prepared for that right?

Apparently not...

First come timeouts

My first attempt to visit the URL simply resulted in timeouts. After I finally was able to load the page, the URL that I thought I saw didn't work. They didn't announce it or keep it on the screen long enough for me to get it all down, but the site also didn't suggest what I might be looking for.

Next it tells me I need to log in. Ok, it was for a rewards program, I'll bite. I have to go to another site because I don't have an account yet? Well that's a little sketchy, but lets see where this takes me...

Then a queue


How is it acceptable in the modern age of computing to present your users with a message like this?

I'll lose my place in line? How long do you think the average visitor will wait before they leave?

Scale your services appropriately. At least with messages like "Our servers are currently overloaded" I know it's not an expected situation, and I can only assume that someone is being paged and told to add more capacity... With a message like this, you're telling me that this is expected, you don't expect to be able to handle the volume of traffic you're currently getting, and it's OK to make your users wait.

It's not OK.

And now you're out of luck

Finally I get in, and go to create an account, only to be presented with this:

If you do not have an Account ID or password (PIN#), contact Cleveland Indians Customer Service at 216-420-4487.

That's right, after being told to go to a different site to create my account, and waiting in line, I was told I can't create an account, but instead have to call someone to manually create me an account.

Don't advertise if you're not ready for this

This system obviously isn't designed for anyone just casually watching the game to go to. It's designed for people who have bought tickets already, or are season ticket holders. It's not designed for someone without an account already, and it's certainly not self-service. Why then would you broadcast a link to it on Opening day? Obviously if we had tickets, we'd be at the game, not watching it on TV.


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