One of Twitter's hot trends right now is #NBCfail. No wonder. Not even a week into London's Summer Olympics and NBC has racked up so many faults you would think they'd be on the verge of disqualification. Where to start?
First off, there's the basic-cable time delay of the most popular sports, which means those events don't air in the United States until 5 or 6 hours after they happen. NBC's reason for doing so? Cashing in on prime-time audiences. But with today's climate of smartphones, social media and 24/7 internet connection, Olympic spoilers are easy to come by, if not impossible to avoid.
Then there's the story of Guy Adams, a Los Angeles correspondent for the the Independent (UK), who took to Twitter to voice his criticism over NBC's coverage. In doing so, Adam's published the email account of an NBC senior executive. NBC, who paid $1.18 billion for the rights to broadcast the Olympics on television and the Internet in the United States, quickly brought the hammer down. They lobbied Twitter to suspend Adam's account to which Twitter complied, despite the executive's email being publicly available.
Other complaints from critics range from spotty online streaming to NBC editing out sensitive terrorism content during the opening ceremonies.
However, some techie customers are taking matters into their own hands. Yahoo! Sports reported that some people in the United States are circumventing NBC's grip by setting up virtual private networks (VPN) to re-route Internet connections through London servers.
"Because all of my Internet traffic looks like it's coming from that box in England, the BBC thinks I'm located in England," 31-year-old California-resident, Jason Legate, told Yahoo! Sports.
Doing so has allowed Legate to watch at least 12 hours of live BBC coverage since setting up his network. Otherwise, when logging onto the BBC's website, Legate would have encountered messages telling him he was not allowed access.
"To me, it just felt like they were insulting everyone so I basically decided to boycott NBC for the duration of the games, which meant I had to find an alternative," Legate said.
Yahoo! Sports also spoke with 26-year-old Kate Gardiner, a New York City journalist, who spread word on Twitter that she was using a service called TunnelBear to get around NBC's restrictions. TunnelBear is another VPN service that makes Gardiner's Internet connection seem like it is based in London.
Although some VPN services might include manuevers that are beyond casual Internet users' know-how, not to mention subscription fees (TunnelBear requires a $5 fee after streaming 500 megabytes of video), it appears the Olympic-starved masses have spoken.
What about you? Have you found ways to circumvent NBC? Let us hear about you crafty ways in the comments below…or just air you grievances.