Feeds

easyJet's cheapo astroturfing campaign downs charity servers

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

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

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." ®

Best practices for enterprise data

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?