Adventures in testing (or user experience? or fraud?)

Let’s hope that we don’t have any job applicants from the Obama campaign anytime soon; their online work is a bit, shall we say, suspect. From Powerline blog, quoting a reader’s experiment with Obama’s web site:

I’ve read recent reports of the Obama campaign receiving donations from dubious names and foreign locales and it got me wondering: How is this possible?

I run a small Internet business and when I process credit cards I’m required to make sure the name on the card exactly matches the name of the customer making the purchase. Also, the purchaser’s address must match that of the cardholders. If these don’t match, then the payment isn’t approved. Period. So how is it possible that the Obama campaign could receive donations from fictional people and places? Well, I decided to do a little experiment. I went to the Obama campaign website and entered the following:

Name: John Galt
Address: 1957 Ayn Rand Lane
City: Galts Gulch
State: CO
Zip: 99999

Then I checked the box next to $15 and entered my actual credit card number and expiration date (it didn’t ask for the 3-didgit code on the back of the card) and it took me to the next page and… “Your donation has been processed. Thank you for your generous gift.”

This simply should not, and could not, happen in any business or any campaign that is honestly trying to vet it’s donors. Also, I don’t see how this could possibly happen without the collusion of the credit card companies. They simply wouldn’t allow any business to process, potentially, hundreds of millions in credit card transactions where the name on the card doesn’t match the purchasers name.

In short, with the system set up as it is by the Obama camp, an individual could donate unlimited amounts of money by simply making up fake names and addresses. And Obama is doing his best to facilitate this fraud. This is truly scandalous.

It would seem that the people running Obama’s site either a) don’t test their stuff very well, b) don’t care much for user experience, c) intentionally engaged in fraud or d) all of the above. It’s a lesson for all of us, whether we’re programming web sites for high-profile political campaigns or simple apps for internal use.
Oh, and the power of the blogosphere shows itself again: NRO’s The Corner blog reports that the Obama camp, $600 million later, has fixed the problem.

 

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