SimplyCast - my 2 cents

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So, SimplyCast is a multi-channel advertising platform.

I recently signed up for the use of the Twitter marketing portion as an alternative to my regular scheduler. Maybe some of you may have heard of them, or have been promoting them on mylikes, twitter, sponsoredtweets etc. and I wanted to give my honest review of my experience so everyone know what type of product they are promoting here. I'll try to keep it intelligent, and not bash (but since this is not a product anyone here likely created I think I'm safe).

So, as marketers online I am sure most of us use some form of twitter scheduling and/or reporting of links clicked etc. As we are all aware, there are many bots roaming twitter that will "click through" your links and throw off your reports if the service you use is not aware of such things. Well, first off SimplyCast does not filter these. In the early version of SimplyCast, they showed you all the referers and user agents. After my complaints they simply threw all the numbers into a non-drill-down chart showing all the 'clicks' they think you got (1,000's when in reality 1-5). Also, the main reporting page showed 0 clicks, until you clicked the detail page (where the AJAX ran to accumulate the clicks for your campaign). I know EXACTLY what went on here. They have a database of all the clicks that gets CONSTANTLY inserted into, and there is contention for disk IO. So, there solution was to not compile the clicks until the user asks for them. However, this leads to a very poor user experience.

Then, today, I tried to get a report for my account. It gave me a javascript error. Being a programmer, I checked out the error it gave me. I was shocked really. I had dumped out the SQL error in the JSON response with all the table and field names for me. Then I got to thinking, I know this is a poorly coded site, let's see what else there is.

I changed my campaign ID number in the URL bar -1 .. I was shown someone else's campaign stats!

This was too much. I twittered @simplycast asking if website security was too much for their developers to handle. Afterall, they were showing every accreditation on the planet on their site .. Mcafee .. etrust etc .. and sent feedback to customer support. They deactivated my account.

And then they went back on it after my tweet about them doing so!

Hi Jarret,

Strange - I just tested it and could log in. Can you give this another try and see if you can get in? It might have been related to the update that was just recently applied.


Jonathan LeBlanc
Manager, Customer Care
7 Mellor Avenue | Dartmouth | Nova Scotia | B3B 0E8
Toll Free: 1-877-312-4979 Ext. 2 | Direct: 1-902-835-2764 | Fax: 1-902-835-8976
International: UK: +44.20.7558.8954 | Australia: +61.2.8011.3385 |
This is rubbish, the site wouldn't tell me my account is deactivated if they were doing an update. If it did, then everyone who logged in would have got the same message. This is very poor customer service.

So, now they are assuring me my account is "active" and they are "working hard" to get the issues I raised resolved, but honestly, I don't think they are capable of making the fixes on their own.

I'm betting if I ran my vulnerability scanner on the site I would find 10's or more holes .. It's a shame the "trusted" scans miss this kind of stuff when they only check the payment process.

I guess you get what you pay for though, free twitter scheduling is sort of nice, but not when it doesn't give any sort of useful reporting and there are security holes. I guess this is just a warning to everyone to check out who you promote, even when it seems like a big reputable company or product.
#cents #simplycast

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