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If you tried to buy a Gold or Silver coin at the US Mint today, you probably thought that you would have to be QUICK. With less than 2,000 Gold coins available, you were never going to have more than mere seconds to get a coin in your cart.
But we were hit with some new and extremely poorly implemented technology today – designed to keep out bots that might scoop up multiple coins.
I applaud that attempt, but they CLEARLY never actually tested their plan in a simulated environment.
I had the page loaded, ready to refresh at exactly noon and made sure I was logged in. That’s literally all you can to to be prepared aside form having your credit card already saved.
I expected issues with the page reloading under heavy server load. That was to be expected. And I expected my odds were extremely low, no matter what I did.
But then I (as you did!) got hit with this two step picture CAPTCHA.
Don’t go too quick and miss one, or you lose! But don’t go to slow – or you lose!
I got it right, and then got to the checkout page. For some reason, selecting my saved credit card didn’t work, so I quickly typed it in. One might assume that was what caused me to miss it, but we’ll never know. Because when I submitted the payment, I got this:
So, as anyone would do, I hit Refresh.
And then I got this:
A few times, I even got this.
Long story short, this is on Cloudflare, a company that offers a ton of great services ranging from page speed to preventing Denial of Service attacks. I use them for this site, and normally love them.
But Cloudflare screwed this one up big time.
Cloudflare is definitely smart enough to know the difference between a bot hammering a page and someone trying to reload after getting an error due to server overload. Definitely. But it wasn’t implemented to know the difference here, leading to a variety of errors.
Worse, once you got the Cloudflare temporary ban, how would anyone know how long to wait before trying again? 5 seconds? 30? 60? Is trying again making it worse? But the coin is in my cart! Ugh.
Anyway, if you failed trying to get the coin, feel better knowing that even if you did everything perfectly, you probably still wouldn’t have gotten the coin. I mean, your chances were minuscule even if the site worked. Somehow, knowing it was technology working against us makes it sting a bit more, though.
I don’t even know what to suggest for next time, since this was beyond our control. But it wasn’t just you….
How’d you do?
And if this post helped you, please consider sharing it!
You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.