Don’t mess with March Madness. CBS Sports is learning that lesson the hard way on Facebook, where a major backlash is happening over its NCAA basketball bracket application. Yes, this is the same application that was allowed to spam users’ friends with more invites than other Facebook apps.
The app—which lets you pick which basketball teams you think will win March Madness, track your progress, and compare with friends—isn’t working properly. For instance, yesterday it didn’t know that Texas A&M won against BYU. We were alerted to this problem by Jake Pease, a student at the University of Florida, who wrote in an e-mail:
I just wanted to report on the issues I’ve seen with the CBSSports Facebook app that has users peeved on the forums. . . . As some of you may know, A&M won their game today against BYU. Alas, Facebook says otherwise, with A&M coming up in red.
On top of this, if you refresh your bracket a few times, you’ll see different calculations for your current score.
People commenting on the CBSSports app are saying some pretty harsh things about the app. I can’t blame them. This is supposed to be an application that awards $10,000. If they can’t get the math right enough to tell me my score, how can I know they’re picking the right person? Come on CBS, didn’t your coders actually test the program before you deployed it?
This is a serious issue for college students and other sports fans following the tournament. There is a lot of beer money at stake, not to mention that chance at $10,000 CBS Sports is offering to anyone whose picks end up in the top 10 percent. But it is an even more serious issue for CBS Sports. It is failing in a very public way. This is the risk big brands take when they put an app on Facebook. It had better work or else the world will hear about it. Below are some more comments from irate Facebook members who add the application to their pages: