American Express Doesn't Get It

Posted on 11/12/2001 in misc

I surfed on over to American Express this evening to pay my bill online. Clicking on the "Pay Bill" link yielded a 404 file not found error. The URL is below - see anything funny about it?

http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;3539453;6578810;s?https://www.americanexpress.com/en/cards/balance/BalCards?aexp_nav=sc_checkbill

AMEX is trying to force me to go through an ad to pay my damn bill! I direct all doubleclick URL's (and a bunch of other ad servers) to 127.0.0.1 so I don't have to deal with the ads, so I could not load this page via this URL. I manually edited the URL and was able to pay my bill, but that is not the point. Why would a company whose cash flow depends on us paying our monthly bills do anything that has the potential to screw up the bill paying process? What were these brain surgeons thinking? It took me about 5 minutes to find the proper form to submit a comment, and I submitted a doozy. Another thing that bugs me is that series of digits in the Doubleclick URL. I see a bit of an ethical issue with user tracking on the gateway to a secure bill payment page. To be fair, I was not yet logged in when I clicked this link - but I just checked and I do have a personally identifying cookie on my hard drive from AMEX, so they did know who I was when I clicked on the link - and could be transferring that data to Doubleclick.

This is not good. I'm off to Slashdot to submit this as a story. Seems like a good one to rile up the geeks. Slashdotting AmericanExpress.com seems like a good way to teach them a lesson too :)

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