UPDATE: Mike Arrington personally apologized for the blunder on TechCrunch: “Yes, there is nothing you can say to make us feel worse. And, yes, we can never make fun of anyone doing this again without pointing back to this post.”
ORIGINAL POST: Exactly 452 people applied to the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. How do we know? The organizers just sent out a blast email thanking applications for their submissions, everyone cc’ed in plain sight. “Our industry-wide nightmare of publicly disclosed email addresses continues,” says the source who passed the email along. Applicants have now been flooded with reply-alls from others joking and venting about the massive bcc fail; more than 27 responses and growing, we hear.
“Total fuck up amidst craziness of trying to plan for three times the size we expected. We feel horrible about it. The thread seems to have taken a life of it’s own and restored my faith in humanity, though!,” organizer Tarikh Karula said when Betabeat asked for comment.
The episode reminds us of when the NYC Startup Job Fair failed to blind copy applicants who had been rejected, spawning reply-all outrage and a counter-job fair.
Some sample reply-alls:
“If I never had a contact list to auction off to headhunters, I do now… =X”
“They just figured that in the spirit of social networking it’d be a good idea for us to all…uh…socialize. :D”
“hmm, anyone have a place where 450 others can crash for a night?”
Could someone set up a quick-and-dirty message board/forum whereby
1) people looking for other hackers to join their project can post a “stealth-version” of their idea and the type of hacker they are looking for
2) people looking for projects can post their qualifications to help the projects in “1”
This will be my first time at the hackathon and I’m torn between blazing on my project or on someone else’s project.”
“botanica bar, mulberry & houston @ 6:30 gogogo”
“They’re kind of boring, actually, except for an animated GIF of Patrick Stewart,” our original source said. “Mostly people trying to get traffic for their startup or making some other (more logical?) way for everyone to connect. It seems like #tcleakers is the hashtag of choice, tho.”
The level of irritation varied from hacker to hacker. “Dear @techcrunch, thanks for sending 400+ hackers an open email about the Disrupt hackathon. I assumed you knew how to use email. #wtf,” tweeted Alex Barbara. “Dear @techcrunch thanks for giving me the email’s of 400+ hackers for the NYC Disrupt Hackathon #TechCrunchEmailFail,” writes Bryan Beshore. “I might possibly have to change my email address due to @techcrunch disrupt #bccfail,” tweets Christian Croft.
The leak inspired some people to joke around and others to hustle. A business development staffer at a local start-up has already asked Betabeat for the list. We also received a response to our request for forwards from an enterprising hacker whose start-up is “a perfect fit for saving the reactions to the email thread.” Some speculated that the emails were being copied into spreadsheets everywhere for future spamming.
The group also has some calling to form a coaltion. “The heavenly powers that be wanted the future leaders to be connected. Let’s stay in touch ladies and gents. We are the future!! LETS HACK,” one communications strategist wrote to the list. Another applicant started a Google spreadsheet.
UPDATE: Disrupt organizers just apologized to the list for the mistake and asked everyone to quit replying all. They’re also “removing” anyone who has replied all–we’ve emailed Mr. Korula to find out what that means, exactly.
We apologize for the email blunder earlier this afternoon.
While it has come to our attention that one of the coordinators of the hackathon had exposed our applicants email addresses, we are also aware of the nuisance the thread has become. We’d like to ask everyone at this time to stop replying all as not to negatively disrupt all 500 applicants on the list
IMPORTANT: To help manage the problem of unwanted emails we will be monitoring the thread and removing anyone who has replied all to the list of potential applicants. This will take effect within the next hour.
We appreciate your understanding and patience.
UPDATE: The threat to remove applicants who reply all is fake! It was a user posing as an organizer who admitted it to one user who had panicked. “BTW, this is fake. While I don’t want TechCrunch to look “worse” than they already do from this, I simply didn’t want to get another frick’n email. I created this account to shut everyone up, not make tech crunch look bad,” the impersonator wrote to the list.