My OnePlus One review and the nine customizations I recommend for it are among the most popular posts on this blog. It’s easy to see why. Even with the all the new phones coming out for the holidays, the OnePlus One remains one of the best phones you can buy. If you can stomach not being able to take a phone into a store nearby for customer service, the One’s combination of power, price, aesthetics and software is nigh unbeatable.
So of course I noticed that OnePlus is moving from an invite to a pre-order system, similar to how you’d pre-order an iPhone or Xiaomi. People must log on the moment the system opens up and it’s a mad scramble to be among those who click nanoseconds faster than others.
To no one’s surprise, the OnePlus One pre-order page went bust when it opened to spike in traffic earlier this week. To think that it’s enough to merely double server capacity is naive!
Anyway, I hate the whole system. It’s not consumer friendly and it’s not company friendly either. Here’s how I would have done it.
Let’s first establish what’s fair. Do people who log on seconds earlier than others deserve a phone more? Especially when it’s usually more about your Internet connection than anything else? No, they were just lucky. Among those interested enough to try and pre-order a phone that day, no one deserves it more than another.
It’s really just luck.
So why not take advantage of that? Instead of a specific date and time, provide a longer window instead. For example, anyone can register their interest over three days. The order with which people register is not important, as long as it is within those three days. At the end of those three days, the window closes and everyone who registered gets notified on whether they were lucky enough to be randomly selected.
If you were selected, you can proceed to the website and order at your leisure. You don’t have to worry about the website crashing as you input your credit card details. You can browse the accessories section of the online store with comfort to decide what you truly want.
If you were not selected, too bad, try again next time. You’ll get priority in the next lottery.
In this system, you don’t get people freaking out. Traffic is spread out instead of concentrated into a single spike so things are less likely to break. People are happier because the system works and is still fair. Everything is more manageable for the company.
That’s it! A simple alternative that makes life easier for everyone.
Apple, Xiaomi and Google should adopt it too for products they know are going to sell out in seconds.