Update on the WorkHappy One Month Challenge

December 29, 2006

Short version:
In spite of assurances from Microsoft (before I posted) that this deal wouldn't expire before Jan 15, the deal for $200 is now expired (even though this page doesn't say so yet). However, this deal is still working as of today (12/29) and gets you $100 in clicks so you can still get some love.

Long version:

I make my living with Microsoft technology and I've defended them for years. (Bashing them is so cliche.) However -- the last 2-3 years have stripped away any ability I have to defend them. My (and other's) experience trying to take advantage of this deal typifies why they frustrate so many people.

  • The offer is only available to Windows users. Huh? It's a completely web-based product! Absurd.
  • It's only available in the U.S. - I forgive this, sorta. There are probably legal and monetary machinations behind the scenes that make this hard. Whatever.
  • My signup experience was a complete fiasco.Told here, in 5 steps of frustration:
  1. During signup they ask for a secret question. I chose my Father's middle name. Which happens to be 4 characters long. The page returned an error telling me that my answer had to be at least 5 characters long. Uh...
    So I changed my question to a different one and after entering the answer, they had forgotten the password I typed earlier, and it returned an error telling me to enter a password. Twice of course. What a great start.
  2. When I got to the billing page, I was greeted with these lengthy terms and conditions to read and approve.

    I can honestly say I read very word.
  3. I entered the $200 promo code, copied and pasted right off the live page I linked to earlier and got this informative response.
  4. Thinking perhaps it was just a hiccup, I tried again and got this response.
  5. Finally I gave up - thinking it must be that I'm using FireFox, so I switched to IE, loaded up the promo page, copied the code, clicked the link - and up came this page.
    Cute (if only it were 1 or 3 on that list).

So I gave up and called them and after 5 min on hold they returned and told me that code could only be redeemed a limited number of times, and that the limit had been met. Which is exactly what I was afraid would happen if I linked to it, and it's why I asked them about it ahead of time. And of course they assured me it would stay available (no mention of the limited quantity).

So I did a little adCenter searching on Google and found the $100 promo I linked to above. I was able to successfully use that code, so best of luck to you (you might want to hurry).

That said: the challenge is still on! If you aren't able to take advantage of the adCenter code, don't worry, you're still in the game -- this is about finally getting that whatzit business idea launched before 1/15. I'll be checking back mid-month to hear your launch stories.

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I had other problems too. My ad was, and probably still is, labeled as "submitted" after it actually started to run.

70% of the keywords I chose were denied as being not relevant to the site even though all but a few were central to pieces on the splash page and the others were keywords for which my site is top 5 in Google *and* MSN search results. Lame.

I'm glad you've stopped defending them. They don't deserve any boosters at all at this point. At their very best, they're providing C+ software and services and at their worst…

Posted by: Ashley | Dec 29, 2006 4:14:11 PM

First, thanks for the link to the credit! The Microsoft AdCenter does seem to have technical problems. My ad got paused for a day, and I couldn't un-pause it. Most of my keywords got rejected, even though they pointed to totally relevant pages.

When I called tech support I expected to be on hold for awhile, but only waited about a minute. The gentleman was extremely helpful, gave me lots of advice about using the service, and agreed that my keywords were fine. About 6 hours later, they were all changed to approved even though he said it would take a few days.

Since then I wrote some more ads and almost all the keywords are rejected. I just hope I get the same guy when I call tech support next week...

Posted by: Claudia | Dec 29, 2006 10:01:10 PM

Well, I can't say that I'm surprised with your experience, but I'm definitely digging your challenge. I've been a long time reader and have always enjoyed your posts, but this one really caught my attention and to be honest, it gave me a little boost to hurry up and get my business fully operational ASAP. I actually have two projects I want to get up and running. One is a blog, which I don't intend to rely on for generating income. The other is an actual business, offline, called Patriot Laundry Valet Services.

I won't even waste my time trying to take advantage of the Microsoft offer since it seems to cause more headache than it's worth, but I'm definitely taking your challenge of Jan 15, 2007. As for my blog, I just got that up a few days ago... the valet business, that's another story. So far, I've got the whole DBA done, logo done and marketing material is currently under construction. A few more checks in the box and I'm good. Wish me luck.

Have a Happy New Year!

Posted by: Sammy | Dec 31, 2006 7:54:38 PM

I guess I should have read those Terms and Conditions better. Even with a promo card credit, they charge your credit card $5 just for signing up.

Posted by: Jon Galloway | Jan 1, 2007 1:52:10 PM

I did not have a problem siging up....but I am having problems finding if my balance have exceeded the $200 limit. An "error" in their system will not allow me to check my December balance. This means they could be charging me. Smells a little fishy to me.

Shannon Munford
Daybreak Counseling Service

Posted by: Angryinla | Jan 3, 2007 8:22:21 AM

Hi Angryinla, I just talked to them and they said they've got way more demand than they ever expected (duh!) that the reporting mechanisms are busted. You might turn off your campaign until they stabilize a bit.

Posted by: Carson McComas | Jan 3, 2007 1:41:16 PM

Holy crap - sometimes one needs to put a price on peace of mind.

Just reading your post makes me realize there are MANY more productive things I could do for a hundred bucks.

But this wouldn't be one of them.

Posted by: Nonchalant Savant | Jan 11, 2007 12:24:31 PM