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Apple gets "free publicity" from the line-ups
By Dave Winer on Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 12:56 PM.

A picture named apple.jpgGreat piece in Gawker by Ryan Tate about the hot-weather line-ups outside Apple stores all over the world today. permalink

A number of commenters, in response to my earlier piece, said that Apple is unlikely to stop these line-ups because they get the most enthusiastic users in front of local reporters for the best kind of publicity. I'm sure Apple factors this in, but it could backfire on them.  permalink

A good reporter, and apparently there still are some, won't take the story as spoon-fed to them. They'll think and dig and go into the line and ask questions Apple PR apparently never thought of. permalink

For example... permalink

There was a reporter interviewing people in the "no reservations" line, asking if they had tried to get through to the Apple website to reserve an iPhone on the day their servers weren't working. People were saying yes. People who were pissed because they had to wait while they watched other people, who were lucky enough to get through on that day, go right by them. (I found it impossible to get through myself, and went to an Apple store to make my reservation, and that didn't go so smoothly either.) permalink

A picture named lineupNYC.jpg permalink

While we were on line together, we had plenty of time to get to know each other. And as we got close to the front, it was practically a riot. The people in the "no reservations" line were totally pissed. permalink

A picture named frontOfLine.jpg permalink

The people on the left have reservations, the people on the right don't. permalink

I was in the line on the left. I got to the front by arriving at 6AM. The people in the other line had gotten there at 1AM. I got in before them. permalink

And this was at 9AM, when it was still in the low 80s. I can't imagine what it must have been like later as the temperature got into the 90s. permalink

Until this product shipment, Apple could count on either not having reservations, so it was completely fair, first-come-first-serve, or the website worked -- and no one could say they tried and didn't get through. Factor in the likelihood that the weather is going to be dangerously hot somewhere on June 24, you've got a potentially bad situation.  permalink

Apple is still enjoying a honeymoon that comes from being the underdog, but that won't last forever. At some point they're going to be seen as the 800-pound gorilla they're becoming, and then the press won't always be their friends. We hope. permalink

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