SUMMARY: It seemed like a good idea at the time, when Stephen Axel, VP Global Marketing Aladdin Knowledge Systems, got the free use of a trade magazine's postal mailing list, he sent out a brightly colored mailer designed to drive recipients to an online survey with a gift offer. He hoped it would generate a couple of hundred sales leads.
Then the campaign spun out of control when someone posted a link to the survey on 25 public Web sites. Suddenly Axel had more than 15,000 survey respondents on his hands demanding complimentary t-shirts and Amazon gift certificates. ...