BT is planning to offer fibre-optic broadband service to all of the UK. One of their marketing programs is the “Race to Infinity,” a website that is collecting votes for which areas should be included in the next rollout. Votes will be collected until the end of the year and the five areas with the most votes will be put at the top of the list for the new service.
As part of the program, BT is looking for unpaid volunteers to get the word out about the company, their plan, and what potential customers should do to get fibre in their area. In essence, BT was trying to get their program to go viral.
And go viral it has, but not in the way BT was hoping for. Two days ago, they sent an email out to hundreds of their volunteers with information on how to spread the word. Unfortunately they forgot to use the “bcc” line when sending out the mail blast, so ended up sharing personal email addresses to everyone on the list. Then, showing their complete lack of understanding on how email works, they attempted to recall the message.
BT’s PR firm, Porter Novelli, has issued an apology for the snafu but the damage is done. While it could have been worse (like BT’s gaffe last month, sending customer details unencrypted over the wire), it’s a reminder to always think twice before sharing personal information.