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new statement from vyrlmkt and a nice long rant from me.

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mark wayman, of vyrl mkt
picture courtesy of wuzzy on slickdeals

"It is an unfortunate but sad reality; however, in order to protect our retailers and all of you responsible coupon users, all coupons will now be considered invalid copies. We are working with all industry players and word is going out to the retailers to not accept them."
via facebook

and the rant:

thank you vyrl mkt, for protecting responsible coupon-users by informing retailers that the coupons they printed legitimately are fraudulent! that is so noble of you. :)

let's review what i would like to call...

the vyrl mkt scam of '08

the coupons on the "check it out" application for facebook were discovered and spread like wildfire all over the internet. it generated excitement and resulted in lord-knows-how-many installations of the application on facebook. this is what the company was aiming for...viral marketing! what a success!

still, there were doubts... could these coupons really be legit? the values were so high! and printing of coupons was unlimited and sharing with friends was highly encouraged. was the company (vyrl mkt) really going to reimburse the stores for so many coupons?

those who contacted the company and were assured again and again.

Reply from Customer Rep of vyrl mkt

"I assure you the promotions are real. If they were fake we'd lose any potential customers like you and no-one would share the offers with friends which is what we all want. There would be no point for us to have invested all this time and money into building this application if all we did was upset people."

so true... why would they want to upset people? i'm glad they invested so much time and money into this app, surely they are professionals and know what they're doing.

later that day:

the company starts to backpedal...

"Dear Check It Out User,
Thank you for all your excitement and enthusiasm regarding the launch of our facebook application Check It Out!
As you know, we are dedicated to providing amazing deals. Please be aware that someone has hacked into our development database of our coupon offers, placed our offers in pdf files and is now distributing them throughout the internet. The majority of these coupons were not for distribution. They were strictly to be used for sales and marketing demonstrations. Such offers, because they are copies / reproductions, are considered fraudulent and are not permitted, please do not attempt to use them.
All the offers that were properly printed through our facebook application can be redeemed.
ANY copy of any coupon or anything printed or reproduced from any other source other than through the authorized Facebook application may not be accepted at the register."

gasp! somebody "hacked" into their database. hmmm... actually all that needed to be done to find additional coupons was change some of the numbers in the url. i guess you could consider that hacking... but i wouldn't brag about it at def con. and printing them to a pdf file? well, i don't see how you could possibly consider that hacking.

i suppose the company could have used some sort of security measures to prevent printing multiple copies or printing to pdf (as 99% of online coupons have) but how could they have possibly known that people would like getting 5 free frozen pizzas even more than 1 free frozen pizza? could it be that there are greedy people out there on the internet?

still, they are being fair: if you printed a coupon from facebook, the way they were intended to be printed, you are still allowed to use it. if you printed a coupon from someplace else, then it "may not be accepted at the register."

just one problem with that... no matter where you printed the coupon from, it looks exactly the same. so how can a cashier possibly decide which coupons are legit and which are fraudulent?

the company has now decided that all of the coupons they offered are now fraudulent.
"Dear Check It Out User,

Thank for your support and enthusiasm, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Our guiding principle is to help you stretch your household budget as far as possible, particularly in these challenging economic times. Please continue to help us with this goal as we address the current unfortunate situation. As many of you may have heard, our system was breeched resulting in the illegal spreading of fraudulent copies of our coupons via email or PDF. We are extremely saddened by this occurrence and understand the frustration that many of you feel, as we have families and children of our own.

That said, it has been several days since the print limits of our offers were reached. Unfortunately copies of the coupons are still being illegally circulated on the Internet, making it impossible to determine which are legitimate and which are not. Each of our coupons clearly states that "offer void if altered or copied".

Our teams are working diligently to resolve all issues so we can continue bringing you quality offers.

It is an unfortunate but sad reality; however, in order to protect our retailers and all of you responsible coupon users, all coupons will now be considered invalid copies. We are working with all industry players and word is going out to the retailers to not accept them.

The abuse by the few has lead to this decision which sadly affects the many. Despite this setback, the overall result of our initial launch has been overwhelmingly successful. We are currently working with manufacturers and sponsors to bring you a wider range of offers based largely on the products that you told us you wanted to see."

successful?! "The god damn plane has crashed into the mountain!" (from the big lebowski)

how are us couponers going to show our faces at our regular stores after vyrl mkt has informed them that we are criminals? how can they get away with this?

2 hours later:

"Let us state our position more clearly. If you printed a coupon from the application properly, and redeemed it properly and did not use copies or pdf prints, it is our policy to reimburse the store where you used the coupons. That said, it has been several days since the print limits set for the coupons were reached and we believe all coupons now in circulation are the result of invalid pdf prints or copies. Going forward, we are advising the stores not to accept them."

oh good, i'm sure the stores i shopped at will understand that the coupons that are considered fraud today were actually fine for me to use yesterday.

Sherry Hancock writes...
Just because you believe that all coupons now in circulation are now copies does NOT make it TRUE. I legitimately printed out the coupons and have not been to a store to use them yet. Now you claim the exact same coupons in my possession that yesterday you said were legit are now fraudulent. This total backtracking is only leaving a bad taste in my mouth about your whole company and this application. If you think that your application is doing well......think again. You will continue to anger the very people you pretend to cater to. Don't you think it's time you admit your mistake instead of blaming your troubles on the the rest of us?

By the way I still have part of my paycheck left over from Friday also. I doubt my boss will claim that I should have spent it all by now and any money left over as of today must be you see how stupid your statement sounds???

okay so maybe we can go back to talking about cvs now? unless any of you have comments about this company? don't hold back, let it all out :)

oh and don't forget to leave your comments on facebook as well...

or you might want to email Harry Soza, co-founder of Vrylmkt,
[email protected] (email address is invalid)

or call/write Leslie Leonetti, Director of Business Development
1348 The Alameda, Suite 7-320
San Jose, CA 95126
408-340-7120, ext. 413

ps some interesting reading here: these screenshots from discussion on facebook that "check it out" has since deleted. (got them on slickdeals) theres even talk of a class action lawsuit....