Yesterday a reader sent us a pretty funny screen capture of a Sears product page with a suspicious category description (see above). By the time we got around to checking it out, Sears had corrected the error. It turns out, however, that the real problem was the Sears website was built in a way that lets anyone mess with the category descriptions.
Until it was fixed, you could simply change category values in the URL and they’d show up on the page, which meant you could send your friends and family to all sorts of creatively named product listings:
Sears tried to play legal hardball and got Conde Nast, owners of Reddit, to delete the post that pointed out their incompetence. Of course, this being the Internet, that just blew up into a whole new category of Sears hatred, as evidenced by this results page on Reddit when you search for “Sears” today.
In this economy, is it really that hard to find a competent web developer who won’t cut corners? The Sears incident is funny, but something similar happened for nearly half the year with Ameriprise Financial, and could potentially have far worse consequences there.