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Law School Students Go Insane Over LexisNexis’s Online Promotion

The great thing about free stuff is that it is free. Nobody cares what kind of plastic junk they’re getting as long as it’s free. Why do sports fans go nuts over t-shirt cannons, even though the shirts are ugly as hell and always XXL? Duh, because they’re free.

To me, it seems logical that no one has any right to complain when free stuff is taken away, or when it turns out to be a major letdown.

If you want a crummy T-shirt so badly, go buy one. If you want to go to Starbucks, don’t complain that your aunt Maggie didn’t give you a big enough gift card for Christmas. Just go buy your coffee.

Judging from a recent LexisNexis online promotion geared toward law students, though, it seems I might be in the minority. On its Facebook page, Lexis has been advertising “challenges” for law students. Supposedly, the first 1,000 students to complete each challenge win 1,000 “Lexis points,” which are similar to credit card rewards points.

Tragically, some computer problems caused students to have trouble accessing and submitting their answers earlier this week. A tidal wave of law school students became enraged and took to Lexis’s Facebook with their fury. Woe to he who angers law students….

Our tipster gives us a little more back story and shares some marked disappointment:

I’ve always had a clue of how self-entitled and whiny (some) law students could be. Bringing them together on a national stage just puts a magnifying glass on those stereotypical traits.…

Backstory: Lexis instituted “Red Alerts” this semester where periodic challenges are issued and the first 1,000 students nationwide to complete the task get 1,000 free Lexis points. The first week, the people who didn’t get in on the deal complained about not getting advanced notice.

This week, Lexis gave 24-hour notice. When the Red Alert came up…the site was overwhelmed and pages took an eternity to load. Whiny students then flooded Lexis’ facebook page with whiny comments. My favorites are the ones that include the word “unfair” even though OTHER people suffered through the same slow site and some were able to get to the task page. But, most of all, what are we? Twelve?

It’s worth taking a look at the Facebook page. There are hundreds of responses from angry students; far more than space permits here. Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights (or lowlights, depending on your perspective):

my lexis ID’s [redacted]. Now you put my 1,000 points in and do something right for a change.

Unfortunately, the problem with getting rid of daily research points has caused me to use Westlaw or WestlawNext instead of LexisNexis or Lexis Advance for my research because they give daily points for both platforms. How are law students supposed to learn LexisNexis or Lexis Advance if there is no incentive to actually use them (other than random red alerts to look up one question)? Westlaw encourages students by not only rewarding daily points, but also rewarding more points for WestlawNext. I hope Lexis will soon do the same by reinstating daily research points for LexisNexis and giving more points for daily research on Lexis Advance.

I can’t believe after all of that hassle and frustration I didn’t even get the points. What a waste of time!

Completed with no points. Hour wasted.

Alright, guess I prefer Westlaw now!

Some commenters said the main Lexis website was even slowed down by the bum-rush to complete the challenge. One person claimed his research professor was frustrated while trying to demonstrate something in class, because Lexis was running so slowly.

This is one of the largest scale Internet flame wars I’ve seen in a while. And as tends to happen, at some point, people started defending the company (although responses like this seem a little obsequious to me):

Thank you for giving us free points! I don’t care if mine went through or not. Obviously, I’d like for them to, but even if they didn’t I’m sorry people are so negative about an obvious technical issue. I see that you guys tried to do something fun and competitive to reward your potential customers. While there were some glitches, LexisNexis is still an awesome company just for rewarding us when they don’t have to.

Throughout the saga, Lexis posted various apologies and explanations about what had happened. One could tell from the comments’ tones that the company was feeling the stress. Yesterday evening, Matt Hollowell, the admin for the Facebook page, chimed in personally:

Hey everyone. This is Matt Hollowell, and I’m the admin of this site. I’m posting tonight not as a representative of LexisNexis, but as a guy who is very passionate about this community and loves working at this company. It is very obvious to everyone that today’s Red Alert did not go as planned, and even that is an understatement. But I want to assure you all that I have read every comment (criticism, encouragement, or otherwise) and will read them all several more times. As members of this community, it truly is your input that matters most, so I do sincerely appreciate all of it. As you can imagine, there is much discussion going on, and we will do our best to make things right. Please accept a personal apology from me; alienating or upsetting you has never been our intent, and I completely understand your frustration and anger. LexisNexis is a wonderful company full of hard-working people, people who work tirelessly to put forth the best programs possible for you. As such, we continue to work on today’s issues and will do our best to address today’s failures. Please continue to post your feedback on this page; its value cannot be overstated. –MH

I know a lot of people are upset. It is frustrating to waste an hour, or even ten minutes. That I can seriously understand. But rewards points or no, as Blink 182 sang, “I know that everything, know that everything, know that everything, everything’s going to be fine.”

LexisNexis for Law Students [Facebook]

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