'Girls' Left Hungry: Golden Globes Crashes Seamless During HBO Promo for Series Return

HBO Offered a Seamless Discount to Promote New Episodes of 'Girls,' but How Many Got to Use It?

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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:

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.

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.

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."

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