TiVo Pulls Web Page Promoting FOTF’s SuperDads Contest

Jim Burroway

June 10th, 2008

Apparently, TiVo has been getting a lot of grief over the TiVo/Focus On the Family SuperDads contest. That’s the contest where everyone is supposed to submit an essay explaining why their dad is a “SuperDad,” with winners throughout the month of June receiving free TiVo’s. The problem is that several LGBT folks have been submitting essays explaining why their dads are SuperDads, only to find their submissions disappear into the ether. This has prompted tons of complaints to TiVo, as well as an online petition at the Family Equality Council.

Partnering to promote a discriminatory contest in which LGBT contestants are silently disqualified can set the company afoul of several states’ anti-discrimination laws — nevermind the public relations fiasco this move has caused. It looks like TiVo’s fealing the heat though. The web page on TiVo’s web site promoting FOTF’s contest affiliation used to be here, but now it’s missing — even though the contest goes on through the end of the month. (The contest page is still up at Focus On the Family.) But TiVo’s silent removal of a web page won’t be enough to gloss over the outrage. That will take a public apology and a reassessment of TiVo’s partnering relationship with FOTF.

Meanwhile, here at BTB we’re holding a truly inclusive SuperDads contest. Tell us why your dad is a SuperDad. You can send photos, essays, letters, drawings, videos, podcasts, or whatever else conveys a sense of what your father has meant to you. Your only limitation is your imagination. Just send it to Superdad@boxturtlebulletin.com.

The best submission gets a free BTB T-shirt. I know it’s not much, but maybe next year we’ll be able to afford a TiVo.

[Hat tip: Good As You]

Update: Some people are reporting that the site is up, while others say its down. A mystery. Here are some questions we’d like you to answer in the comments:

1. Does TiVo’s page load for you?

2. Is this the first time you tried accessing the web page at TiVo?

3. Did you clear your browsers’ cache and/or deleted cookies? Do you get a different result if you do?

4. Please specify which browser, operating system, and internet provider is giving you your results.

G-A-Y

June 11th, 2008

A correction: The web page that was pulled was not promoting the contest itself, only the affiliation between Tivo and FOF in terms of the “Kidzone” service. I don’t think Tivo ever actively promoted the contest.

John

June 11th, 2008

FYI – At 8:28AM EST the TiVo webpage you linked is up. I guess they’re not sure what they want to do about this…

G-A-Y

June 11th, 2008

John, Joe: It’s not that it’s going up and down. It’s that for some people, te site loads, while for others, it does not. Not sure what’s going on.

I’ve tried it on three diff. computers and three different browsers, and the site will not load for me. Some of my readers report the same results, but others say the site loads for them without incident. Weird.

Jim Burroway

June 11th, 2008

Several people are reporting that the page is up. But when I try to load the page, I get a “page not found” error.

Have you tried clearing your browser’s cache before trying to load the page?

G-A-Y

June 11th, 2008

Yea, I did.

AlexM

June 11th, 2008

I followed your link, page there. I cleared my cache, hit reload, still there. It is possible to set up a web server to selectively block or allow access to certain pages depending on ip/location. I just got up, so let me wake up before I hunt down public web proxies to test my theory out.

werdna

June 11th, 2008

The linked page loads for me using both Firefox and Safari on my iMac. But it’s not a promo for the contest, it’s just an ad for TiVo that says “Welcome Focus on the Family” and touts the KidZone feature.

Jim Burroway

June 11th, 2008

Some people are reporting that the site is up, while others say its down. A mystery. Here are some questions we’d like you to answer in the comments:

1. Does TiVo’s page load for you?

2. Is this the first time you tried accessing the web page at TiVo?

3. Did you clear your browsers’ cache and/or deleted cookies? Do you get a different result if you do?

4. Please specify which browser, operating system, and internet provider is giving you your results.

AlexM

June 11th, 2008

As I said before, I’m still waking up. Yes, the page that comes up is all about Kidzone, and says that TiVo is working with FotF for Kidzone. I haven’t tested my ‘location’ theory yet. Let me finish my coffee.

G-A-Y

June 11th, 2008

Jim: I’ve written you about this, but I wanted to post it here as well:

It seems that we are being redirected on the basis of our IP address. I figured this out because when I try and load the Tivo/FOF site via my iPhone connected to our Wi-FI network, the site will not load. However, when I go off the network and connect to the collective Edge net (therefore no longer associated with our homebase IP), I can load the site just fine.

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2008/06/is-tivo-being-s.html

AlexM

June 11th, 2008

You posted when I was typing, Jim. Windows, both Firefox and IE shows it, and Midconet in North Dakota.

GDad

June 11th, 2008

I can’t find anything on the TiVo web site about it at all. The site map and any links turn up nothing.

Firefox, WinXP, not sure of ISP.

AlexM

June 11th, 2008

Ok, while testing the few anonymous proxy servers that I could get to work, I found one that didn’t go through. But when I went back to surfing normally (not through proxy), I found that it didn’t work for me again (I had turned my cache off while testing). What it did for me was redirect from http://www.tivo.com/promo/kidzone/fotf.html to http://www.tivo.com/promo/kidzone/kzoffer.html.
Also, when it was still coming through normally, it got redirected that way when I checked through a FreeBSD (a type of Unix operating system) server I have access to, on a different ISP (QWest, also in ND).

I’m still scratching my head on this one.

Ephilei

June 17th, 2008

No wonder there’s a bias against gay dads: every gay dad is silenced.

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