Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Sprint courting bloggers?

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I’d have something about the Samsung A920 phone coming up. I don’t have the phone yet, but when I do I’ll surely be posting a review. But in the meantime, let me explain how and why I’m getting this phone, and do a little speculation…

Yesterday morning, mixed in amongst my usual slew of automated system emails and the slurry of spams that make it through my filters, was a message from Sprint. My wife and I use Nextel cell service (now owned by Sprint), and I had recently registered on the Sprint web site for their online account management, so getting email from them wasn’t a surprise. However, the subject of the message caught my eye in a curious way: “Attn: Dougal Gunter – Sprint Ambassador Invite”.

Hmmm… First of all, they’ve made the common mistake of thinking that my name is “Dougal Gunter”. And second of all, what’s this about a “Sprint Ambassador Invite”? And lastly, the email was sent to my regular email address, not the one I used to register for the account management stuff. Let’s take a look and see what this is about.

Hi Dougal,

The Sprint Ambassador Team recently visited and wants to invite you to participate in our Ambassador Program.

As a qualified participant blah, blah, blah, Sprint Power Vision phone with 6 months of free voice and data service, blah, blah, blah, apply here, blah.

Hmm. Based on the name mixup and such, maybe they really did look at my website. Okay, I was interested, so I visited the web site indicated. Some of the verbiage was of the “if you qualify” type, but I went ahead and applied anyways.

Within a short time, I received an automatic response indicating that I should receive a Samsung MM-A920 phone within a few weeks. Reading up on the specs, it’s got Bluetooth, 1.3Mp camera, handles video and music, and EVDO(!). Very cool. One thing it doesn’t have that would be nice is push-to-talk radio service. And what do they want in return for providing me with this? Feedback. That’s all.

Once I actually get the phone and have a chance to use it, I’ll be posting about it here. Which, I’m guessing, is what this Sprint Ambassador Program is aiming for. Giving geeks free toys is always a good way to get some grassroots exposure. You have to take the bad with the good, because if your product is lousy, you’ll get called to the mat. But if your product is decent, this is a great way to sway the crowd. I’ll let you know my verdict on the A920, either way.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
This entry was posted in Community, Electronics, Hardware, Personal, Tech and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Sprint courting bloggers?

  1. David says:

    Would you really say its crap, if you know that saying it is good would mean more goodies?

  2. Pingback: » Sprint Ambassador Program

  3. Dougal says:

    “Would you really say its crap, if you know that saying it is good would mean more goodies?”

    Yes, actually. How can I lose what I don’t already have? And how can Samsung or Sprint improve their products and services, if they don’t know what’s wrong?

  4. jim says:

    Saying that it’s good doesn’t necessarily mean more goodies, in fact, Sprint might recognize you as a shill and just not bother? Who knows… i am just making it up. 🙂

  5. Ed Roberts says:

    Sounds like not only a good way to get some hardware beta testing in, but also to prompt a little viral marketing. Now only if I had a tech blog to contribute… I’d love to test their products, even if it meant sending them back after a few months.

  6. Dave says:

    This guy also has a website with a good amount of traffic and he wrote about being invited to join that program.

  7. Pingback: » Sprint Inviting Select Bloggers To Try Its Power Vision Network

  8. Fonzo says:

    Lucky you. Receiving free goodies is never a bad thing. This is also a smart move by Sprint. It should definitely win them some points among the bloggers.

  9. Sam says:

    I don’t have ANY traffic and I’m getting the instruction manual. Cool!

  10. Matt says:

    I got one a month or so ago, haven’t felt inspired enough to write anything about it.

  11. David says:

    I had to buy my A920…sheesh. Wish I got free goodies like that. Free stuff is cool.

    Aside from the predictive text input and the slow shutter in the camera…I like the phone..

    I did write a little about it on my site when I first got it. With all the “stuff” it has in it, one commenter asked if the phone was actually capable of making calls.

  12. Hi Dougal and congratulations. I’ll second Matt’s comments – I’ve had my phone for a little over a month and I blogged about it here. But I just haven’t been impressed. All of the cool features are disabled and the EVDO features that I was most excited about just haven’t’ panned out. I’ve got DUN working with USB and I’m getting approximately 300K and not the 1 MB promised. I did get an email from Sprint that they are going to change something on the EVDO side and I hope it means a bigger pipe and maybe Bluetooth dial-up networking.

  13. Yeah, I’m getting one too… 🙂

  14. Ben says:

    Wow, that’s awesome.

  15. derek says:

    i received a samsung a920 through the ambassador program. at first i felt a little like royalty thinking that i was one of the few individuals who made some sort of special cut. unfortunately, sprint does these types of marketing ploys for thousands upon thousands of users across the states. after receiving the phone, i was told by the csr reps that there was another similar program to the ambassador one in which random people were stopped on the street and given a handset with unlimited usage. at the end of their usage period, the phone was to be handed off to a different [random] person continuing the loop.

    it’s a great way for sprint to get publicity. nothing like advertising using actual real world users.

  16. Bradley says:

    I got the e-mail. I’m pretty sure that I can confirm someone *actually* looked at my site, because of the following:

    I don’t publish my e-mail. I use (warning: buzzword) and AJAX-powered contact form that’s not actually on my blog page until you hit “contact” and the form is fetched.

    Now, without JavaScript the contact link still works, as does the form. But I can tell if it was submitted via an AJAX call; the server side script is configured to prefix message subjects with “AJAX:” if the form was submitted that way. Which the Sprint message was.

    So unless they’ve written a pretty clever script that is JavaScript-enabled and knows how to click “contact”, wait for the form’s DOM insertion, fill it out and hit submit, I’m pretty certain that a real human being sent me the message.

    Which, of course, was an easy copy + paste. 🙂

  17. Geoff says:

    I use a T-Mobile to do a lot of the updates to my website. That being said, T-Mobile offers craptastic voice service on the sidekick and I have a Cingular phone that I carry for voice communication. It sure would be nice if one of these companies (sprint, cingular, verison) could come up with a phone that is both easy to use and tough like a sidekick and had quality voice service. They would have my business in a New York Minute.

  18. Greg says:

    My wife actually has this phone….

    plus, I got her a 512mg Transflash card cause the 32mg the phone comes with just won’t cut it for mp3 playing….I’ve already loaded 9 albums on her phone….it has bluetooth, and is actually close to a smartphone cause it has a calander, task list, etc…I use the Treo 600 and it doesn’t have that kind of power, but it’s close.

    I wanted to get her a kinda of ‘all in one phone’ or a ‘convergent device’ like my Treo 600, but she said they were too bulky for her….so, we settled on this phone…nice little phone. I wrote about it on my blog…

  19. shorty114 says:

    I agree that giving technogically knowledgable people the samples makes sense, since unenlightened people wouldn’t care what the speeds are (people still use AOL dialup…), how many megapixels the camera is, or what Bluetooth is, as long as it works.

    Whereas geeks can recommend to other less technologically inclined people that this is a good phone, and generally people would take their word for it, since they know their stuff.

    It also gives them good PR… I don’t mind a free phone, especially a decent one :).

  20. PJ says:

    Do they still make you wait 3 hours to talk to customer service?

  21. sahask says:

    i got the same message to and i was approved and they say i should get the phone in 2-4 weeks!!

  22. David says:

    Hey, I just wanted to create a bit of controversy. 🙂 Glad to hear you want to give an honest opinion.

  23. Pingback: Shanti’s Dispatches - Sprint Ambassador Program

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