Seamless, the online food-delivery and take-out service, crashed last night for hours just when HBO was trying to use it to promote the season premiere of "Girls."
HBO and Seamless were offering a 15% discount off orders between 5 p.m. ET and midnight on Sunday for customers who entered the code "Girls15" -- part of a promotion with GrubHub Seamless that also included a video Instagram contest.
Fans seemed ready to take part:
Brilliant marketing move by HBO to offer 15% off Seamless orders tonight for GIRLS premiere.— Jenna Fain (@jennafain) January 12, 2014
But the site faltered, apparently under predictable heavy ordering around the NFL playoffs and The Golden Globes, wiping out hours of HBO's promotion. Seamless acknowledged the problem on Twitter, starting at 6:43 p.m. ET, encouraging users to place orders through sibling GrubHub.
Someone left a hairdryer plugged in and broke some things.. We are working on our GIRLS issues and will be back up ASAP!— Seamless (@Seamless) January 12, 2014
Much like the favored nominee losing to the underdog, we smile and nod in frustration with you.We will be back again ASAP. We miss you too!— Seamless (@Seamless) January 13, 2014
The Globes, the GIRLS, the playoffs and the hunger has things running slow. Thanks for your patience as we work this out. Be back soon!— Seamless (@Seamless) January 13, 2014
For those having a slow response on the site, it's not you, it's us. Please bear with as as we fix ourselves so we can fix our relationship.— Seamless (@Seamless) January 13, 2014
We have rebooted and are reloading as we speak. Fingers crossed, we should be back up any minute. Thanks for the patience! Happy ordering!— Seamless (@Seamless) January 13, 2014
At 10:42 p.m. on the East Coast, partway through the second of two new "Girls" episodes last night, Seamless encouraged users to try again:
It's unclear how many Seamless users were able to ultimately redeem the "Girls" discount code -- HBO and Seamless did not respond to requests for comment Monday morning -- but plenty took to Twitter, naturally, to complain.
Cementing my hatred of all things Lena Dunham: the Girls promo code didn't work on Seamless.— Dale (@dalepeck) January 13, 2014
Giant fail @Seamless on the night of Girls premiere and Golden Globes. nice try with that promo code though...— Emma Rowland (@EmmaSRowland) January 13, 2014
Seamless in August completed a merger with rival GrubHub, though the two services continue to operate separately. The combined GrubHub Seamless says it encompasses some 25,000 take-out restaurants in more than 500 U.S. cities and London.
The two companies made more than $100 million combined in revenue and $875 million in food sales in 2012, according to a joint release last May. Together, they processed more than 90,000 orders a day, according to the companies.
GrubHub and Seamless charge restaurants a processing fee for the orders they facilitate, but the HBO promotion represents another line of revenue the parent company would like to develop. Today, however, it is probably concentrating on making sure it can stay up during the Super Bowl next month and the Oscars in March. The Globes got 20.9 million total adult viewers on Sunday night, NBC said Monday; the most recent Super Bowl got 108.4 million.
UPDATE: A GrubHub Seamless spokeswoman said Monday afternoon that the company was still looking into the reasons for the outage, but cited the big night for TV as a likely culprit. "As well, we had a similar promo running on GrubHub, so we were able to redirect diners there," she said. "Note that we'll be making this up to diners affected by the outage."