questionsdid you see capguncowboy's letter to woot?

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Thanks for the post. I'll just copy and paste it here

I am not one to complain. I’ve put in my time in attempting to get a BOC. I have been trying for over 3 years, and have seen nearly all of them that have been posted In that timeframe. Most of them gave a 404 error, or I just wasn’t fast enough. And all the while, I never whined, complained, bitched, moaned, cried or gave anything less than a smile.

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I decided that yesterday was the perfect time to finally land one. I’m great at puzzles. I’m great at figuring things out. Some friends and I pooled our resources and worked together on this puzzle. We tried everything all day long from anagrams to witty plays on words attempting to locate the URL. There was NO RULE about waiting until the last piece was posted before trying to land one. Finally, after receiving the 2nd to last piece of the puzzle, we cracked it – our hard work had finally paid off. We finally had found what we were searching for all along. We all attempted to get it and got put into the Antechamber of Doom. We waited, and finally – I got one. After 3 long years of almost getting one every time, winning one in a FF league as per Snapster AND STILL NOT GETTING IT (I have links if you’d like to see them), and scouring the site during your games, I had finally done it. I immediately got excited. I was happy!

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THEN, the “we’re entitled to it because we worked hard too” crowd came along and whined. Guess what? You decided to side with them. You called me a cheater. Really!? What rule did I break? How is being witty enough to figure it out cheating? How does that compute? How can you change the rules after the game is over!? When I was growing up, the cheaters were the ones that made up the rules AFTER they lost.
I just wanted to say that I’m extremely upset about it. I’m not going to cry and say that I’m entitled to it (even though by all means, I should be). More so, I’m pissed off at being called a cheater. After all the times that your servers crashed and burned me out of getting a BOC, and your CEO announced there would be one awarded to the winner of the FF league last year and didn’t live up to his word, you’ve decided to take away what I’ve earned and deem me the cheater.

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I am disgusted at that mentality. It’s disgraceful and shameful to boot. I’ve been nothing less than loyal and I’ve never cheated in my life. If there are no rules against it, it isn’t cheating – it’s finding a work-around. I thought that of all the people in the world, Woot would appreciate that the most. I suppose I was wrong. Your transformation to the Darkside is complete. Congratulations, you’ve outdone yourselves. You’ve bastardized everything you promote.
I don’t suppose I will be playing your games much anymore. I’m sure you’ll just figure out a way to keep me from winning like you’ve done for the past 3 years. Keep your crap (and your crappy attitude towards those that succeed). We don’t want it.
Sincerely,
Capguncowboy
PS, Please be sure this gets to management. I wouldn't want to see it get swept under the rug.

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i hope that none of these get swept under the rug, but we are all being branded cheaters so who knows what woot will do.

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I am 15 woots shy of being "in the black" with 100+ woots, but dang if this place hasn't been leaving me with a sour taste after every purchase. The change of shirt blanks is more to blame than anything, I'm still bitter about that, but the bag of crap management mishaps recently do not help.

Granted, my 85 woots took me 5 years to get, but still, I've been here for 5 years and am only recently so vocally disgruntled if that says anything.

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I have to say, I was upset to learn that people had forced their way to the URL using bots and violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the game, but a broad cancellation of orders for everyone is unfair to the ones who followed along w/ the rest of us and just made a lucky guess. There is nothing sinister in guessing 15 minutes earlier than everyone else and those guys shouldn't be punished. I'm disappointed I didn't get a BOC, but cancellations should be done on a case by case. The fault lies in how the game was setup, but honestly, it wouldn't have been any fun if you didn't have an opportunity to go for it. Absolutely, cancel the orders of the DBs who got on and mocked everyone who couldn't write bot code, and next time, unless there is a way to detect a forced attack on the URL, just modify the rules. No great way to fix this, but a little flexibility towards both sides of the argument seems to be appropriate.

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Dude it was pretty close to cheating... It was said repeatedly in the woot forums that it was a "complete it yourself" game (i'm pretty sure you said "we" figured it out). Having the last clue post AFTER the prize was already gone was a real shock to most. It was as though if you only went with what Woot gave you at their own site you had a 0% of scoring a BOC.

I don't know if woot should have cancelled the orders or maybe just ponied up another 200 BOC's for those who waited but something had to be done. They should have locked the URL but they didn't so here we are.... Call it what will, cheating the system, gaming the system? Either way I think we can all agree that the spirit of the game was violated when those who waited til the end were greeted with a SOLD OUT screen.

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@capguncowboy I applaud you for getting it out there. I was not aware of the earlier FF/ snapster fiasco. SOrry about that. I too have tried and failed at landing a BOC for several years now. When I heard about the treasure hunt I initially got excited then became cynical. I have long ago come to the conclusion that a BOC will never be achievable unless I use a bot, sell out to facebook/twitter, or use some other form of tracker. I'm in the same camp as you; hard work, ingenuity, putting in the time, being proactive... all should account for something and hopefully eventually get you to a BOC. But sadly I feel that is no longer the case.
If the BOC were mine to hand out, I would put you at the top of the list. You're around the site a bunch,on the leaderboard often, posting, commenting, contributing, making deals a better place. That makes you deserving versus the casual user who is only here during a wootoff or to try and land a BOC using a bot or other shady practice.

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@capguncowboy: That sucks, the way you got treated. I hope you get some satisfactory resolution. I still simile when I remember the cowboy revolution a ages past :)

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@navthesav: Get back to us after you've been around long enough to have a useful opinion.

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I find it ironic that they labeled this as cheating instead of taking the fault themselves for setting the game up the way they did.

A live link is a live link. Give me a break. If you didn't want anyone to buy until the last clue was revealed then you most definitely had that option from the onset. A treasure hunt is won by the person who first finds the treasure, no matter if they intelligently derive the solution from the available information or if they stumble across it by accident.

The real WTF here is that they led thousands (tens of thousands?) around by the nose with the lure of a BOC and the quantity to be sold was only 200.

I used to be upset when I missed Woot-Offs because I was traveling for work. Now I just don't care anymore.

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i am new here and w t f happened?.thanks 4 any info...........

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@durkzilla: This is true... 200 is least amount of BOC's I've ever seen given away during a woot-off. Even if they do another 200 today that's only 400... isn't the normal about 1,600?

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I was busy yesterday and so wasn't following the game. I do not approve of this "solution" to cheaters. Accusing long-time, loyal customers of cheating in a silly game and canceling orders that they legitimately made is just flat out wrong. If people figured out the link earlier than Woot! staff wanted, then it's Woot's fault for having the link active earlier than they wanted.

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Okay. I've been here for almost 8 years. I have not gotten any bags of crap. I have gotten plenty of "your purchase is being processed" messages that never went anywhere but whatever. I am not on facebook or twitter so that is not helpful. I didn't really feel like spending the time to piece together yesterday's puzzle pieces -- I had a busy day planned. That being said, I certainly don't feel that if capguncowboy figured it out by hand, as it were, without all of the puzzle pieces that that is somehow cheating. Unless it stated that you had to submit the answer after the final clue had been posted or that you needed to collect all the pieces to submit with your answer then he deserves the crap.

I don't know why they stopped just selling bags of crap the original way but all of the innovations they have been implementing have made it harder and less fair unless you are using some automated app or have a super fast connection and lots of free time.

Scurvy dogs

cf cf
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I like it when people call others whiners, when whining and saying they aren't whining.

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@imyeti58: Woot put out a treasure map to get a "bag of crap" (a bag and 3 items which are usually worthless that we all clamber to get anyway). The map came out in pieces, and some people guessed the last piece before it came out and were able to get the bags of crap (BOC).

In the past woot usually rewarded ingenuity like this, but this time they canceled all the orders and called people cheaters. Thing is, most people who got the BOC's were long-time customers and were upset by this (more at being called a cheater than at the order being canceled for most think) and are now trying to call attention to it.

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No one figured the URL out on their OWN before the last piece was released. Anyone that says they did this solo without any outside input is a liar. There was another site that had the completed map art on it and people used that to get the URL early. Seems there is always a group that can not play a game or contest anymore without trying to find an exploit.
Using any exploit is cheating and I have no sympathy for those early orders that got cancelled. If this makes the cheaters/exploit hacks mad enough to leave, then good riddance. Maybe there will be less competition next time and maybe a few less bots.

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@capguncowboy: I applaud your ingenuity in being able to solve a wOOt BOC puzzle before the final piece was in place. I am also surprised that the wOOt gods don't appreciate that. I believe back in the day they would have. wOOt is definitely a different creature these days. Personally, I think you got screwed (again).

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@wadekind: Show me a link to the rules.

More irony - on a site like deals.woot that refuses to publish its own rules we have people calling out "cheaters" for violating rules that aren't part of the game description.

I'm referring to the game description here: http://www.woot.com/blog/post/the-search-for-crapbeards-treasure-a-woot-off-treasure-hunt

No mention of having to solve the problem on your own. None. No rules of any sort, really. No MENTION even of there being rules.

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@capguncowboy: I side completely with you. You guys were true pirates in this contest, and should have been rewarded even beyond what was promised for that fact.
But in a cruel twist of irony, in what was supposed to be a pirate derby, woot, instead of, at the very least, honoring your work, as very "piratey", dealt with this in their normal, everyone's a winner, soft, cowardly way. It really is kind of sad :/

I lived in China for a year, and I see more communism here in any given month, than I did in my entire time there :P

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Very well stated letter @Capguncowboy
Sorry you got screwed over. That sucks to hear.

If they didn't want people getting to the URL early then they should have put a block on the page to prevent orders from being placed at all.

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I just sent in a similar letter. Glad to know that I'm considered a cheater. Because the only reason I stick around, buy hundreds of dollars of merch, keep a black triangle, post great deals, ask and answer questions, and in general participate in the community is so that I can cheat to win a bag of crap. Yeah, that makes sense.

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look how long I've been on woot... still no BOC. No BAWWWWing here. I just don't give a f..k

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I was one of those folks who spent an entire day cutting and pasting the map together and waiting for that last piece. I'm sure I would have been too slow to score a BOC regardless, but I was disappointed. I just posted a note over on the forum that I am copying here:

We are seeing some good arguments from the people who figured out the last two letters through trial and error but got their orders cancelled. That's a side of this problem that the rest of us might not have considered, and another nightmare for Woot. I can't think of any way that Woot can determine which people were "cheaters" and which were just good puzzle-anticipators." Personally, from a marketing and good will standpoint, I think Woot should consider sucking it up and reinstating the orders of the first 200 buyers, AND selling an additional 200 Buccaneers of Caribbean to the next 200. Surely Woot can find enough crap in their warehouses to cover an extra 200 bags.

Just my $0.02.

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@capguncowboy: It's kind of like someone telling you that there is a hidden BOC. All you have to do is search for it. "It's right there, go for it!" And then you search and search and just when you think you might get one, someone says, "There's no BOC. I was only joking." It hurts doesn't it?

I really am sorry that you did not get your BOC.

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Wow, just wow. It seems like as time goes on woot! has cared less and less about their "cool" roots and is ONLY in this for the cash. Usually when you start having to answer to shareholders customer service is the first thing that gets hurt. No different in this case.

There are TEN woot! sites now....TEN!!

woot.whores

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Very unfortunate that Woot! would call these people "cheaters". Regardless of how they decided to resolve this issue, calling people "cheaters" with no real base is just plain unprofessional.

To the first 200 that found the URL by any method, you definitely earned it. Whatever complaints people have about how the puzzle was solved should be directed at how the puzzle was designed. I mean, really, this isn't a community of 5 year olds.

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And something tells me that majority of the people who bitched already have a dozen BoC from the past woot-offs. Get over it!

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@barnabee: I like the sarcasm. I agree with capguncowboy's point, but you're right: karma has a way of circling back around ;) (I remember that day, and the hour and a half i wasted because of him)

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so he's complaining he found a loophole in the rules and should be rewarded? I'm confused on why this is noble.

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@boydrew: I didn't mean to be sarcastic with my last statement. I really am sorry @capguncowboy did not get a BOC. It looks like he played the game according to Woot!'s non-rules and he got screwed.

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When do we get to hear the staff weigh in?

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I have mixed emotions on the whole thing. I was one of those printing, cutting and taping the map together and had been waiting for the last piece to solve it. I was too slow to figure it out and probably would have never gotten one anyway, but I do believe there are some people who legitimately figured it out before hand, most likely with some friends. I don't feel they should be called cheaters, or lose their ability to buy a boc. However, my issue is with the people who did 'cheat' the system by figuring it out and posting a link on another site.

@capguncowboy, if it's any consolation, I would be happy to make up one of my own boc's and send it to you. I know it wouldn't be from woot, but I do include woot items in them. If you are interested, just pm me your address and I'll send a nice flat rate USPS box along!

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Here is what Woot! has to say on the matter:

"Sorry your order was cancelled. Unfortunately, all BOC orders placed prior to the last puzzle piece going up were cancelled and refunded. We will be having another treasure hunt today with another chance to nab Crapbeard’s BOC. Good luck and happy hunting!

Riley"

So basically, nothing, that's the way it is. Great. Really "unfortunate" that Woot! screwed it up and made both sides mad.

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All silent on the mods posting in this thread. They have no problem posting on Thunderpants being out for a weekend...

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why are people getting worked up over something that is literally nothing but junk. I've gotten 2 and while the novelty is worth the price, it's not worth getting this upset about.

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@charitwo: i don't get it either. It's the same as the odd "goodbye" woot threads. Then again this is internet, and the perfect place for impotent rage.

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@charitwo: @psumek: You guys don't get it. If people here wanted to get shafted they would go back to shopping on Ebay or deal catcher.

Woot used to be a Tebow. A good wholesome young boy just trying to get in the game and doing the right thing with fans. Now it's Michael Vick. fighting dogs and flipping off the crowd.

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@triplebud: They're trying to figure out how to step back from calling their customers cheaters while woot understands that this problem is of their own creation...

The artist they hired posted a poorly censored early version of the sketch they paid him for (it did help, despite what anyone says).
They put the BOC up long before the final piece of the map was released so it could be solved early to everyone's dismay.
They didn't have the foresight to utilize a coupon code that could have been part of the map (maybe a question in the BOC's description like the $1,000,000 April Fool's bag years ago that requires people to look at a detail on the final piece of map).
They didn't add any code that redirects you if you go to the bag of crap page with referrer data (would prevent some of the quick click a link to win the game).
They then responded poorly by not emailing people to explain why their orders were cancelled and instead let people find out why via the Sea of Rage in the forums.

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@triplebud: So people are complaining that they cheated the system and deserve something...and that makes woot evil? I miss the point. Why does anyone think woot owes them something? It's like when people complain about not getting a coupon from Jumbowoot or not large enough of one. People's sense of entitlement is beyond me.

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@psumek: Who says everyone cheated?

It's not completely beyond reason to think that some people might have solved this (and faster with the aid of friends). I used no script and generated lots and lots of 404 errors manually as I tried to guess the last 2 missing letters. It's easy to tell it was 2 missing once you get the first 26 404 errors. If you saw the poorly censored early sketch that the artist who created the maps posted on his blog, It narrowed down the first of the 2 letters to either an C or G or S (I figured it was going to be Sold Out Sea, since that would be fitting for woot) based on his poor attempt at censoring. He linked to woot, mentioned the woot off and the treasure hunt so Google search results were turning up his site. They still are despite him pulling the post sometime today.

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@psumek: I wasn't playing the game, so I don't have a stake in either side, but even I am blaming Woot for this one. They didn't post any rules banning working in groups or making educated guesses, which is what several of the regular members here did. Then Woot had the gall to declare all of those people cheaters and cancel their order.

All of the blame in this situation falls on Woot. If they didn't want people to answer the puzzle early, they shouldn't have made the link live.

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Cheating is "to violate rules or regulations". If there are no rules, there is no cheating. If there were any rules, and they were not violated, its not cheating.
What anyone thinks is "fair" is moot. Thats a personal opinion thats all.

Frankly, unless woot can show people did cheat, they took a legitimate order and then cancelled it and indicated fraud. Thats slander AND fraud on their part. Can we say class action lawsuit? really. And why not, it's not really woot, its amazon now.

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@baybei: I appreciate your kind words and your offer, but it's not necessary. It's not your place to apologize or compensate me.

I'm still awaiting any sort of response to my inquiries with woot. I want to hear what they have to say about. I can tell you that a canned response like the one posted here in the thread isn't going to cut it. They accused me of cheating and that's unacceptable. I have been doing customer service with a LARGE retail bank for 10 years. I would NEVER ACCUSE ANY CUSTOMER of cheating, even if I had proof. Much less announce it in a public forum with NO PROOF.

It left a bad taste in my mouth and honestly, if it wasn't for the people here (the wonderful people that make this community work the way it does. The people that make me smile every day) I would have already been gone. It makes me sad to think that after all the years and purchases and getting screwed over with a smile on my face, that this is how they perceive me.

I'll keep you guys posted

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@outdoorslife: class action on a contest? I want to see what the settlement would be.

1000 6' HDMI cords
3000 12oz containers of mustard
1000 Random T-shirts
500 Woot Monkeys
500 Wacky Tacky Ties
999 Statue of Liberty whoopie cushions
1 27" refurb LCD TV