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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Dec 17

Written by:
12/17/2012 5:32 AM  RssIcon

My name is still Dick

I again experienced the unfortunate fate of having to enter my name into an entry form that used a word filter. Normally I avoid contests like the plague. However, this time, the contest was through my local Ford dealership and they already had my name and email address. So, I figured because the prize was a brand new car, I'd give it a try. Here's what happened, I tried to complete the form.

First name, Brad.

Last name, Dick

System response: Please enter your last name.

I had entered my last name, Dick. So I tried again, Last name, Dick.

System response: Please enter your last name.

Okay, now I knew what was going on.

Clearly, the software gurus at Ford were using a “bad word’ dictionary. These are lists of words the programmers consider unacceptable; like damn, hell, and the “F” word. The word dick is often classified as a ‘bad word’. Hence, Ford would have nothing to do with my last name.

The refusal to accept my last name was similiar to what I experienced with the Cleveland Institute of Engineers (CEI) when I requested training information. As you can see in the upper half of the image below, CEI calls my name, "Inappropriate language".

 

In March, 2008 the penton programmers developed a form that all editors had to complete. As shown in the lower half of the above image, the form refused to accept my last name. "Filled in username is prohibited...

When I complained about the form, saying it wouldn't accept my last name and to please remove the filter, the 'programing guru woman' said, "We don't use a filter". She either lied, or was too uninformed to know that a filter was indeed in place. Only after filing multiple complaints was the filter removed so I could register.

Now back to the Ford contest.

Not to be dissuaded from maybe winning new car, I changed my last name from “Dick”, to “Youwontacceptmylastname”.

Bingo, my entry form was accepted.

About a month later I received this nice color brochure on Ford's Fusion Energi car. You may have guessed how it was addressed; “Brad Youwontacceptmylastname”.  An image of the address label is shown below.

I now have a way to track whether Ford is selling their lists to others. If an advertisement for lawn mowers, or house siding or anything except Ford cars arrives addressed; “Brad Youwontacceptmylastname”, I know Ford sold my name to a list.

 

 

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