Friday, April 13, 2012

Age Verification Sucks

I’ve started this post at least three times in the past – but never finished it due to either lack of interest, something better to do or Dance Moms was on…..I cant remember which.


Anyway, I’ve picked it up again due to a recent twitter discussion with @BushmillsGlobal-

From this exchange, I think you tell my position on the matter.  It’s pretty simple – Age Verification for information is stupid, and even more so on Twitter.

This is all about lawyers.

The goal here is to put the responsibility back on the user of the website and not on the distributor, brewer or the retailer of the alcohol. 

While I understand the legalities, it doesn’t mean I have to agree with them. 

The fact that there are lawyers that argue in the clients defense – that poor little Billy stole his mother’s car and crashed into a busload of nuns, due to him seeing a twitter account of a liquor distributor – is absurd.

The fact that there are judges (who the majority of were also lawyers) who do not toss these cases out – is absurd.

Meanwhile, we have companies (also filled with lawyers) spreading fear of such lawsuits, and thereby making a profit off of distributors, brewers and/or retailers – while at the same time, supporting legislation to further embed their business practices and force other companies/entities to adhere to them – again absurd.

Finally, to think that their simple “Put in your age” is actually a deterrent of some adolescent – well, I think you get the picture.

In this particular instance – Bushmills uses DrinkIQ to “Authenticate” visitors to their website, and I can only assume that DrinkIQ is also their advisor pertaining to Twitter (If you represent either Bushmills or DrinkIQ, please feel free to Email me – I would love to print your response)

I did visit DrinkIQ’s Website, and the problems inherent into the systems were immediately glaring.

First and Foremost – To access a website that is providing information about Drinking Responsibly – you have to enter your age.  I kid you not. 
Secondly, the years of birth to set your age goes from 2010 (there must be a ton of dishonest 2 year olds out there) to 1900 (what about the worlds oldest people?  Do they not get a chance to view content?).  This is just lazy programming, but at least it is not as lazy as some – I often put my birthdate as July 4th 1776 on many websites.
Thirdly, If you put in an age that is to young – they route you to Google.  Go away kid – you are bothering me….now search some porn.
Finally, I didn’t go past the splash/login page – because I disagree with their terms of use……which means I had to leave their website IMMEDIATELY. Especially when one of the terms refers to me being able to quote from or Link to a site.  Yes, I said that right – I cannot even link to their site without permission.
For the record, by no means do promote the illegal activity of underage drinking.  I might not agree with the law – and I have passed that to my legislators – but I do abide by it. 
Meanwhile, I also do not support the notion that alcoholism is a disease – and that we must do everything in our power to discourage people of a legal age to “Drink Responsibly”.  I think that is their personal choice – and nobody should push their ideals and views on anyone.
Finally, I am no fan of frivolous lawsuits.  If you do something stupid – you are responsible.  Common sense prevails.  Likewise, if something tragic happens to you – don’t begin a lawsuit against the brewer/distiller/handgun manufacturer or anyone else aside from the person who directly harmed you just because they have deeper pockets, and in many cases will settle out of court just to keep their names out of the press – of course, this goes back to lawyers again.
To circle back and wrap this up, to think that Age Verification is going to stop underage drinking, while Alcohol is prominently displayed everywhere in society (TV, Facebook, Magazines and Radio), mostly without any type of restriction at all, is asinine. 

Its time that people wake up and tell your representatives to stop working on legislation for this (and focus on more important issues), tell your favorite liquor/beer manufacturer that you are tired of being treated like a criminal when all you want is to follow their latest news, and to tell your friends to follow us on Twitter - @smokesandbooze – because we don’t censor or restrict anything.
Cheers -
PS- Use the hashtag #AgeVerificationSucks to show you saw this message


  1. Nooooooooo, don't get me started on "Responsible Drinking" or should I say the concept of paying a set fee to get into a whisky fair and then try as many drams as you like at no extra cost until you fall over. But try to take some sample bottles and actually pay for drams to take away and enjoy over time and at leisure at home and you'll be thrown out for being abnormal or 'greedy' and, dare I say, an irresponsible drinker.

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