Most Disorganized Website of 2009: Lockerz
If you follow me around often enough you may have come across me trying to hawk out invites to this exemplary piece of viral marketing gone awry. I’m willing to look past Lockerz’s reputation of spamming up a boatload of websites in the name of “viral marketing” because frankly, it worked. People got angry (and people still are, just ask /i/nsurgency) but other folks simply wanted to know more about this company that was making an attempt to fit in on 4chan (and failed miserably, I bet they were using tripcodes on /b/)… because hey free video games and other trendy nonsense!
A co-worker of mine at TrackMill sent me an invite supposedly so he could get a free fashionista scarf or something so I decided to see what the big deal was. The Lockerz website lets you earn points by answering marketing survey questions thinly veiled as everyday questions like “Do you like Conan or Jimmy?” or “Would you wait in like 5 hours for a pair of limited edition sneakers?” (I have yet to run into the question “Are you aware that we are just screwing with you?”). Whatever, though, I’ll answer the question, you give me the 2 points… I mean… PTZ… and I’ll redeem them for that Xbox 360 game or something that costs 100 points. By my math that’s almost two months of this crap, what a grind. There are other means to get points like playing games, listening to music, and watching videos but frankly I haven’t seen any of that — it’s always “coming soon”. I think Lockerz suffers from what I call Duke Nukem Forever Syndrome, just be out with it already and quit jerking our chains. Or actually just keep doing that, it’s fun to watch you dance.
Lockerz’s points store (PTZ Place) is perpetually out of stock, seriously. Apparently it was open at one point in time but now it just looks like a Wal-Mart that’s going out of business; just imagine in your head what that looks like because I know Wal-Marts never close. They’re like Dick Clark: they never die because they feast on the souls of babies. If you really like window shopping at uppity trendy “in” stores in the New York City area you will love endlessly browsing Lockerz’s prize station because just like in New York it’s “look don’t touch”! Do you want that Dylan’s Candy Bar snack pack of dubious origins? Too bad! What about that flash drive disguised as a race car? Better go buy a Hot Wheels and super glue your existing flash drive onto it.
Don’t get me wrong, though, because Lockerz did recently restock their prize store, or so I think. They said they were going to do that recently but when I (tried to) log in and (tried to) redeem some points for a game that’s when this party started. They had only one thing available in their store: A copy of Star Wars: Clone Wars Republic Heroes. For PlayStation 3.
What kind of a prize is that? Giving someone a copy of this godawful game as a PRIZE is like getting a 12th place ribbon in something when there’s only eight participants. Offering this game is insulting and it devalues the word “prize”. I mean, I know that all we are doing is answering questions about what color car we like and there’s no real work involved but when you stick that next to an impossible to get HDTV marked “SOLD OUT” you’re really kind of making a D-bag move here. Have you actually seen an episode of Star Wars: Clone Wars? I might be personally biased against Star Wars because I don’t like it but seriously I’d much rather watch a color bar generator for an hour than subject myself to that terrible show. It reeks of cheap 3D animation made to cash in on a fad and from what I’ve seen it has no real plot or production value whatsoever and they’ve made approximately 78 video game titles about it because kids see it on Cartoon Network which has recently become a cesspool of brilliantly unmentionable cartoons made to look like reality television and shows rejected by Nickelodeon. Here’s a tip, CN, if Viacom is rejecting a show from one of their networks (6teen) it has to be bad. That’s not a sign for you to quickly nab it and air it. I can’t wait for the slew of Johnny Test video games because that’s some quality entertainment right there. Back on the subject of this game, though, the copy they are offering is on the PlayStation 3. Great job, Lockerz, you may as well should have offered some titles for the Tiger Game.com while you were at it.
Attempting to navigate the Lockerz website during its restocking time was impossible. I was getting 500 Internal Server Errors and “Page Cannot Be Displayed” errors left and right. Furthermore, Lockerz apparently knew this was going to be a problem so rather than trying to do something about it (like using their Amazon.com funding money to buy a server that didn’t suck) they posted an announcement saying that they’ll ban anybody who refreshes their pages too fast because “we can see who is doing it”. Seriously, I am not making this up. As a professional company there are expectations we the customers (the intelligent ones, at least) have of your organization. Kicking us out because we’re trying to connect to your broke-dick website isn’t one of them. We expect the opposite, actually; we expect to see a page load on our screens and at the very least we expect some form of content in a timely fashion. Is your public relations department on a global vacation or something or are your public relations department and your “group of interns we don’t know what to do with” department the same fucking entity?
Whatever algorithms run the Lockerz’s user interface are insanely confusing. You need 20 friends to join under you to get some special badge for your account (Z-List), well I have 12 and it says I needed 8 more friends — great. Now thanks to some kind of snafu it says I have 0 friends (real awesome for my self-esteem jerkfaces) but still need 8 friends. I am willing to forgive them on their fuzzy math because honestly we’re all guilty of guesstimating, right? I can think of an occasion just the other day when I… actually no, no I can’t because I have never subtracted zero from a number and gotten anything else other than the number I started with. I passed Kindergarten.
I really don’t know much about the Lockerz company because this is what is currently on their About page as I type this article (in a black font that clashes with the dark purple background): “Be a lover not a fighter. Wear by itself or layer to make a wow statement. Easily adjusts to create a perfect fit.” Don’t try to think about that phrase in any kind of serious context for longer than ten seconds or blood will come out of your ears. That phrase on that page has to be some kind of design oversight because it reads like a description for a scarf that Bizarro Rambo would wear. Lockerz stumped me for a while, it really did. I was confounded by their backwards marketing practices and their anti-store kind of inventory until I read the Jobs page and learned their “mantra”: “If you are interested in a fast-paced but collaborative environment full of passionate folks who turn 20 years old every day they walk through our doors, Lockerz may be your professional nirvana.” Now turning 20 everyday is just an expression, right? As in, you hire people who are young at heart and you don’t actually hire 20-year-olds who don’t know a damn thing about proper website maintenance to work on your site, do you? It sure feels like you do.
Am I being too hard on Lockerz? No, no I am not. Lockerz is a subsidiary website of Amazon.com and Amazon is clearly capable of maintaining their main website without any problems whatsoever so they’re either simply trolling the annoying trendy hipster crowd with a website designed to appeal to them that only works 5% of the time and is permanently out of stock of everything or they really did designate a staff of people who can’t tell their asses from a hole in the ground to be in charge of a website that they knew would be a traffic nightmare.
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