The Amex Members Project, or: How Javascript flukes can sabotage good intentions

Today I visited The Members Project, a site set up by the good PR and charity folks at American Express to make this world a better place and do some branding in the process.

It looked a bit strange that a global project riding on Amex’s marketing power would have so few votes for the charities involved: a handful, less than a hundred in total at when I visited the site. (Just last week, a new Samsung phone offered for charity on eBay Italy alone drew 72 bids – and that’s bids, not votes). Then I tried voting myself, and here’s why:

Amex Members Project

Clicking “Continue” or “Cancel”: right, but what if no “Continue” or “Cancel” buttons are shown? I guess something must have been lost in the Javascript.

(Hint: you can still vote by going inside the individual project page. But my guess is that 95% of potential voters, befuddled, gave up).

Hopefully they fix it soon.

Update (July 25): Bug resolved, many more votes left as of today (over 20,000). Children’s Safe Drinking Water in the lead with over 8,000. The winning project will be announced on August 7. If you have an Amex card, go and cast your vote!

Update (August 1): Read up on the controversy on whether Amex failed to disclose a large corporation’s involvement in the drinking water project, Procter & Gamble’s. Where do I stand? Read my thoughts on a charity project funded by Luxottica.

2 thoughts on “The Amex Members Project, or: How Javascript flukes can sabotage good intentions

  1. This is a great idea for American Express to back! I just signed up and voted (go Clean Water!)

    I didn’t have any problems with the images not showing up … maybe they put a fix in already? Is this problem still happening for you now?

  2. Paola & Sam,

    Did you see this article that appeared in the business section of today’s New York Times:

    P&G Link in Amex Contest Raises Questions of Fairness

    DonorsChoose.org, the small non-profit at which I serve as CTO, is referenced in the article as one of the Top 5 contest finalists.

    We’re doing our best to get-out-the-vote for our project (called “Teachers Ask. You Choose. Students Learn.”), but it’s hard to compete with all the votes that Proctor & Gamble is driving to their “Children’s Safe Drinking Water” project! 😦

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