Saturday, July 26, 2008

No Way to Run a Promotion

Last week the “Pepsi Small Throw” became available again in the PepsiPoints promotion. What was rather remarkable about it was the average rating given this product: one star of a possible five. One person had given it three stars, two had given it two stars, and fourteen had panned it with 1 star, the lowest rating possible. If you are running a promotion, do you really want to be giving away products that people hate?

However, this problem is overshadowed by a much bigger problem. The promotion has been exploited, apparently in a number of ways. The big one seems to have taken place in May when Pepsi offered five free points, enough to buy an MP3 song from All one had to do was click on the banner and enter an e-mail address. I clicked and got five points. They were not sent to my e-mail account, they just appeared on the computer screen. I thought about entering another e-mail address and seeing what would happen, but decided I did not need Pepsi spam filling up my mailboxes.

Others did try, and here is what one discovered:
about the 5 free point/MP3 thing. I just wound up getting 680 free points on the site.

It’s easy to do. Open up you Internet Browser go to and log in.

Click on the link for the free 5points/mp3 and enter your e-mail address and their security code for the 5 free points. Wirte or copy the code they give you and put it in your code space for 5 free point.

Then (stay logged on to, don’t log out), exit Internet Browser and then reopen you Internet Browser again and go back to the website and click on the link for the 5 free point/mp3 again.

Enter another e-mail address and their security code for another 5 free points.

As of now you can keep doing this as long as you want to.

Best of all any e-mail string works since they give you the code on the site and it’s not e-mailed to you.

That means that would also be considered a working e-mail adress to, though you can only enter each e-mail address only 1 time each (so you can easily make up tons of others that WILL work and get you the free 5 points).

Hopefully this glitch will continues for a few more days or even the duration of the promotion.

I’ve alrady enter in 300+ points into 1 of the sweepstakes (hopefully, I can win this time) and STILL HAVE ENOUGH for 5 DVDs.

I hope this glitch will help everyone out like it has for me.

Comment by Tim — May 1, 2008 @ 10:56 pm
Source: (retrieved July 26, 2008)

Here is a comment from another forum:
What were they thinking with that? …. The lack of safeguards is mindboggling. Did they really expect people to stick to getting a single code when there was nothing to prevent them from getting as many as they wanted? Pepsi's own incompetance with that promo screwed over their loyal consumers.

Having said that, I wish I could go back to the first week of May and exploit it alot more than I did. I only managed to get a few hundred points.
Source: (retrieved July 26, 2008)

Here is another account of the exploit:
About 2 months ago I was on eBay. I searched for Pepsi Stuff and saw several auctions for Pepsi Stuff points. The seller was auctioning 600 Pepsi Stuff codes, each code was worth 5 points. The Buy It Now price was $80 (pretty cheap considering what you can get with 3,000 points). Anyway, I thought the auction was a scam because the same seller had listed three separate auctions of 3,000 points. I thought how could one person obtain 9,000 points in such as short period of time. Secondly, how did this seller get 5-point codes. If you look on the Pepsi Stuff website, under the rules section, there are no 5-point codes. The largest point total is 4 points for a 24 pack. So anyway, I emailed the seller and asked him how he got so many points and why those codes were in 5-point increments. The seller responded with exactly what I posted. Basically, a couple months back, Pepsi had run a promotion where you could receive a free 5-point code for entering your email address. The auction actually stated "Enter your email address and receive a free music download." Pepsi then gave you a 5-point code; the same as what's needed for a music download. The seller I emailed related that he found out about the promotion and had entered thousands of fake emails addresses, and accumulated close to 60,000 points in 18 or 19 different Pepsi Stuff accounts. He related that he ordered close to 300 DVDs (duplicates of some), dozens of shirts and towels, and was now trying to sell the remaining points on ebay. He further related that he was selling the points for such a low price because he knew ebay would shut his auction down quickly (because it's illegal to sell Pepsi points). He was hoping that someone would recognize the great deal and buy the auction quickly.

Anyway, like I said, while I don't codone the actions of people like the one I described above, you gotta admit that what they did was genius. Now they have enough DVDs to last them for a few years and they got it all for free!
(retrieved July 26, 2008)

I am not surprised when I see incompetence and stupidity around me; I see too much to be surprised. I am not surprised when I see incompetence and stupidity in government; economic theory leads me to expect that. I am not surprised that people try to game the system; that seems to be simple human nature. For some reason, though, I am surprised when I see incompetence and stupidity in large corporations, and maybe I should not be. It is astonishing that they did not put in some simple checks, things like sending the codes to the e-mail address entered, or checking to see that the promotion was used only one time in an account. Also, for some reason I find it comforting and reassuring that a big company can screw up on such a grand scale.

Then there is the ethical question. Is it right to exploit a situation like this? If so, why? If not, why not?

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