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What we learned from giving away a million dollars

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Whoever thought giving away $1 million dollars would be easy?  I thought it would be easy, along with a team of committed FedEx colleagues who also have the purple blood of FedEx. In a social media savvy world, it’s been no secret that FedEx teamed up with American Express on their second annual Small Business Saturday program including a commitment to give away 30,000, $25 gift cards on our FedEx Facebook page. (The remaining 10,000 cards were given directly to some of our customers to distribute.)

While we thought we were ready for a flood of interest in our Facebook promotion, the enormous level of traffic we received when the offer went live at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday led to a server crash. This delayed the giveaway start time and slowed the registration process once everything was finally functional. We are a company that prides itself on keeping its commitments and delivering on time for our customers, and we apologize for the frustrations the site functionality caused. We worked immediately to correct the situation, and once the app was functional, fans snapped up all 30,000 cards in less than an hour.  

A few lessons learned for down the road:

Free gift card giveaways definitely get attention and can result in unintended consequences.   

Social media continues to be a place where sharing content happens at unprecedented speeds, which led to a rapid increase in our fan base. With 200,000 brand new fans, but only 30,000 cards to give away, a lot of folks came away disappointed, which of course was not our intention.

However, despite an experience that frustrated many Facebook users, I’m encouraged by the overwhelming show of support the Small Business Saturday movement received today through this promotion – and the commitment many Facebook fans have to use their cards to Shop Small.

It’s always easier to reflect on a situation and see how things could or should have been different to avoid unintended consequences. We'll certainly learn from this, and I want to encourage everyone to get out on Saturday, November 26, 2011 and support Small Business Saturday!

Comments (64) 

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very good job in all types of enviro performance.

very good job.

I was extremely lucky to be one of the few that got a card. Being a single Mom, finances are tough this year. My son will be so excited to receive this on Christmas Day and we will choose a small business to use it on. I'm very grateful and excited to see his face when he opens it on Christmas morning. Thank you so very much!

Me and my wife both got our $25 cards Thanks!!!

I did recieve a card and I'm so thankful. Still trying to figure out what small business to use it on. Thank You Tonya

I did recieve a card and I'm so thankful. Still trying to figure out what small business to use it on. Thank You Tonya

I was one of those FB fans that kept hitting that submit button on the form for 2 hours and still did not get through. A little sad, but thanks so much for the opportunity. I was also excited to learn that Amex was also offering a credit to their card customers. Both programs are an excellent way to promote and support small business. Congratulations to all the Amex customers and FedEX Facebook winners.

I didn't really know much about FedEx before this contest. After reading so much about their employees and activities on Facebook I'm impressed. The giveaway was an awesome way for a successful business to give back to communities. Sorry your company took some mean hits about glitches in the process. Stuff happens. Your heart was in the right place. So KUDOS to FedEx!

I was at work and not able to participate in the giveaway. While I did not receive card I think it was a very generous thing of fed ex to do. Hooray to fed ex and congrats to all those that did receive a card

As one of the lucky recepients, I would like to thank Fed Ex for their gracious gift to the consumers and small businesses of America!

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