Feeds

easyJet's cheapo astroturfing campaign downs charity servers

Apology landed, donation en route, marbles lost in a spam storm

Remote control for virtualized desktops

easyJet has quickly apologised to a charity that makes it easier for people to contact their MP, after the airline overloaded servers by ignoring anti-spam guidelines.

The budget airline fired off an email to subscribers to its newsletter, which normally provides details of special offers and new flight rules, at about 8.30am today.

easyJet CEO Andy Harrison asked them to use the charity site WriteToThem.com, part of the mySociety project, to copy and paste a pre-written corporate lobbying letter to their local Member of Parliament.

In the email, Harrison pushes easyJet's agenda on climate change taxation, which it reckons should put the burden on CO2 emissions, as opposed to the current Air Passenger Duty regime.

His budget approach to parliamentary lobbying caused traffic on the donation-funded site to spike by an order of magnitude, mySociety said. The site normally gets about 25,000 hits in a whole day, and quickly exceeded its bandwidth allocation even though all spammy campaigns are automatically blocked.

The FAQ warns: "If you are not a constituent, or you send a "copied and pasted" form letter, your message will go straight into the bin."

WriteToThem.com is very clear about mass campaigns in its guidelines too. They state: "If you're going to mention WriteToThem.com in a campaign which reaches tens of thousands of people at once, please let us know first! If our servers can't cope, it breaks your campaign."

Developer Francis Irving explained: "It's to make the whole service more valuable. We're about the little guy making himself heard. There are services where you can pay for online lobbying as a corporation."

easyJet spokeswoman Samantha Day told El Reg the call to spam had been a "misunderstanding" and pledged to cough up a contribution to WriteToThem.com forthwith. She said details of the donation have not been finalised and will remain secret.

Irving said: "I can see how they made the mistake. Donations are always welcome." ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.