Budget gets a clue. Then it doesn't. Then it does.

As has already been reported just about everywhere, the Budget rent-a-car guys have launched what Blogads' Henry Copeland has described as:

"...the first blue-chip marketing campaign created by a blogger, illustrated by a blogger, run on blog software, advertised exclusively on blogs and first reported by blogs."

Like most everyone else in the blogosphere, my first reaction on seeing this was: groovy. Congratulations and kudos are certainly due to the almost obscenely brilliant Hugh MacLeod and the equally splendid B.L. Ochman for coming up with this thing.

When I went to the "Up Your Budget" Treasure Hunt site and tried to register to play, however, my excitement quickly cooled. The generic sign-up form asked for all the usual personal info, including (because it's annoyingly US-centric) your Zip code. It was set as a mandatory field. So, try as I might, I couldn't register. The unintended message being: no Zip code, no game. Or: "Sorry, Yanks only".

I carefully checked the contest rules and FAQ. There was nothing, anywhere in either document, that suggested the treasure hunt was only open to residents of the US. Fuggit.

Immediately, my positive impression of Budget and (by association) of both Hugh and B.L. was tarnished. I'd come into this thinking "Yay! Another giant company gets a clue thanks to influential bloggers!". Which then quickly turned into "Clueless sodders -- what the hell is a genius Global Microbrand like Hugh doing getting tangled up with this rotten bunch?"

A bit over the top, perhaps, but I love Hugh and B.L., I devour everything they write. So the way the form on the Budget site was built just seemed such a let down, it made me feel almost like two of my blog heroes had sold out to the terminally clueless, or something.

So I vented. There's a feedback form on the "Up Your Budget" site. I told them I'd love to enter their contest, but was blocked by the stupid sign-up form.

Last thing I expected was to get a response, within hours, from Komra Moriko, the site designer.

Even better, she fixed the form. Quickly. So now I can enter -- as can anyone, regardless of their physical location.

What a very blog-savvy, clueful response. Nicely done.

But then again - maybe there's nothing particularly blog-savvy or otherwise about this. Isn't this just the way things are supposed to work?

People goof; it's expected. So fix it. Thanks.

That's just plain ol' good customer service. And yet I can't help thinking that the positive end to this story wouldn't have come about the way it did if it hadn't been for the blog-clued minds behind it. So yeah, it's a blog-savvy response, or a repsonse informed by blog-grounded thinking, or something.

Wouldn't it be just lovely if everything in life was this simple?

Now, if only Budget could unfuck their rental booking system as easily...