Starbucks, AT&T biff day one of the card loyalty program: After several hours of occasional attempts to register my Starbucks Card (actually, two) with the company for free Wi-Fi and other rewards, seeing "Service Unavailable," long delays, errors, and a general failure to accept my card--now there's a message. "Due to overwhelming interest in Card Rewards we are currently experiencing difficulty accessing Starbucks Cards accounts. We are working to fix the problem and ask that you please try again later."
(Update: A Starbucks spokesperson called me in the late afternoon to let me know the site was back up and running. They had an excess of interest, shall we say. I checked: the site is working and I was able to register quickly and without a hitch.)
The Card Rewards program allows anyone with a Starbucks Card to register it with Starbucks for freebies, including Wi-Fi. There's an interesting choice (when it worked) where you can select whether to have freebies like free exotic milk options or brewed coffee refills by themselves or with Wi-Fi on top. If you choose Wi-Fi, you're redirected to SBC servers (for nostalgia's sake), at which point everything seems to fall apart.
Trying two separate cards, I was unable to set up an account and get the cards to take. The errors weren't clearly spelled out. Clearly, the system was neither designed to handle demand, nor designed to fail gracefully, blocking users until capacity was available.
For loyal Starbucks patrons, this doesn't come across very well at all.