Zomato’s users were greeted with a surprise in their inboxes today morning. Turns out some unexpected food was coming their way.
So I get a message from Zomato today.. pic.twitter.com/mLvwDqTBSa
— Arun Yogesh (@deArunized) April 14, 2017
In an industry which until recently was offering Buy One Get One free offers, and 100% cashbacks, some free food could’ve been thought as a natural extension to quickly garner some more users.
Hi @Zomato, I haven't ordered anything.
Are you trying to make me feel hungry already ? pic.twitter.com/5oVFAWg6nO
— Utkarsha Singh (@AskUtkarsha) April 14, 2017
But people were wary.
@Zomato this is not my order. pic.twitter.com/FgB3kl3IvU
— N!r (@N1r_D) April 14, 2017
And some honest folks thought they were receiving SMSes meant from someone else, and tweeted to Zomato about what was happening.
Dear @ZomatoIN @Zomato not sure whose order you are sending me because I didn't order a thing. pic.twitter.com/NUUOD4y109
— Aparna Jain (@Aparna) April 14, 2017
It is 2017 after all – if you could have fake news, why couldn’t you have fake orders?
@Zomato sending #fake orders to me pic.twitter.com/04fqWz3srz
— Arush Mahajan (@ArushMahajan) April 14, 2017
@Zomato sent me 3 SMSes saying orders from 3 restaurants are on its way when I have ordered none. FYI, today's Lohri, not April Fool's Day.
— So (@souveek_sa) April 14, 2017
Zomato was especially enthusiastic for some users, sending them the same message thrice in quick succession.
Hey @Zomato I ordered from @Chaayos last year. Why am I getting messages that order is on its way this year? pic.twitter.com/UipEuhMRFA
— Amritanshu Anand (@amri_anand) April 14, 2017
But some eagle-eyed customers figured out what was going on – Zomato was simply resending SMSes for ordered they’d made over a year ago.
Hey @Zomato you're sending me notifications for orders from a year back lol pic.twitter.com/QC3NYjXhA6
— PT (@peeteeonyou) April 14, 2017
@ZomatoIN you are a year late in sending me this order ??
Going back in time to send me pizzas today ???? #Zomato #TimeMachine pic.twitter.com/zewCMmTV8g
— Dream Wallets (@Dream_Wallets) April 14, 2017
Zomato finally figured out what was going on, and sent out apology SMSes. The company said that the messages had been sent because of a technical glitch, which had since been resolved.
My brother joined me for #Zomato heartbreak cry ? pic.twitter.com/AjfogmVrOx
— MsMenon? (@MsFilterKaapi) April 14, 2017
But the apology SMS reached some users who’d never received any messages in the first place, leading to even more confusion.
Zomato is sending me an apology SMS for sending me an SMS sooner (which I didn't receive in the first place). I'm so confused LOL
— What When Wear (@AanamC) April 14, 2017
But people were mostly heartbroken at not having received any free food at all.
I was so close to getting some free food! So disappointed #Zomato ? pic.twitter.com/7ujismK0zk
— MsMenon? (@MsFilterKaapi) April 14, 2017
Some joked that this flurry of SMSes was a reaction to the launch of Google’s food delivery app Areo yesterday, which could compete with Zomato and eat (heh) into its margins.
Zomato app on my phone has suddenly become super active. Sending older (months older) order delivery msgs. Areo launch reaction? @Zomato pic.twitter.com/yMqO8sPa0n
— Bhupinder Ahuja (@ahuja_bhupinder) April 14, 2017
But some good might’ve come out of the whole incident at all. Someone thought this could become a feature – if Facebook memories could be a thing, why not Zomato memories? Get on it, Zomato. 😛
so @zomato memories is now a thing. pic.twitter.com/4HMCGXmMhN
— Sanket (@iamsexified) April 14, 2017
This isn’t the first time an Indian company has sent SMSes en masse to users about products that they didn’t buy. Last year, Myntra had spammed thousands of its users with notifications for products that they hadn’t bought. It turned out that the glitch was thanks to a simple variable name change. Zomato hasn’t quite revealed what went on behind the scenes, but given its propensity to blog extensively about its inner goings on, one expects that there will be more information soon. But for now, Zomato users have realized no matter what SMS notifications might say, there are no free lunches in the world.