Publicity Stunt for $10 iPads Brings Out the Pitchforks

Today, a start-up company in Toronto called Fab Find decided to hold a sale for $10 iPads. It was an interesting way for the company to stand out amongst its many online coupon competitors such as Groupon. Unfortunately, this may have backfired.

Fab Find says 10 iPads were up for sale for $10, but talk on the very active Facebook group page suggests that number might be lower –  in the single digits. And those who did secure the $10 iPads aren’t owning up to their purchases – save for two: both from local media companies. The fact that few who wanted to could buy their $10 iPad while those who did appear to be from the ‘inside’ is a PR nightmare.

On top of that, the site kept breaking… or did it? Some Twitter comments suggested the site downtime was also part of the stunt as their staging server was working. Others are now contacting their server hosting company asking why there was downtime, making that company answer this PR game as well. Additionally, and for me most importantly, some people claimed to have entered in their credit card information only to be told the product was now sold out, raising sincere ethical questions.

Lots of people are claiming this stunt was a scam and as we all know, the loudest people on social media are those who complain. Between threats of sending this to the Better Business Bureau and claims of never shopping with them ever agin, is doing its best to respond – on Facebook and its Twitter account.

The fact is – I never heard about Fab Find until this sale… and their office is literally down the street from me. They’ll release their analytics tomorrow, but guaranteed they saw more traffic this morning than they have in the last month, at least. Anger about missing out on a $10 iPad may go away, but it’s their actions over the next few days that will speak to the long term success of this start-up. In fact, many of those people who are angrily leaving messages on their social media walls suggest there is wiggle room for Fab Find to make up for “misleading” their customers.

One great suggestion on Twitter – those who wished to buy an iPad for $10 may want to instead donate it to charity.