The NTWRK, an app no one has ever heard of until they promised us a light blue Cobra Commander variant, started promoting said exclusive Cobra Commander variant on its service a few days ago. Fans were pumped and G.I. Joe fans everywhere began downloading this Trojan Horse of a nightmare app, fingers hovering over the ‘Buy’ button in anticipation of this Light Blue Cobra Commander variant. (The upcoming standard edition will have navy blue paint, see above linked article for more details).
Then, just minutes before the Special Drop event launch that NTWRK and Hasbro had been promoting (we received notification from Hasbro via official press release) they changed the deal on everyone just minutes before go-time. They pulled a Cobra Commander on us literally– they really did this!
What was originally supposed to be two different figures (one for the app and one for general release) is now just one standard edition dark blue figure being sold by the app first. This was only the first sign of the disasters coming for everyone hoping to get a variant light blue Cobra Commander. The social media of NTWRK started to tell people it was at random you wouldn’t know what you would get till you opened the box, now making it a chase variant instead of a Special Drop light blue variant as we all thought.
Then minutes before the drop, NTWRK changed the image on the drop page– the one containing the light blue variant. It was now standard edition navy blue. That light blue Cobra Commander had made its way to IGN, SYFY WIRE, Toy Wizards, and more, being promoted as the figure you could get from NTWRK on drop day. Their social media once again told people that in spite of light blue Cobra Commander reveals, this would not be the figure fans would receive. It would now be the standard edition navy blue figure.
However, this is the email sent out minutes before launch– again displaying the light blue Cobra Commander. Note that our guess here is that light blue CC was meant to be a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive for some brand out there, but how NTWRK “got their hands on it”* (and then didn’t) remains a mystery.
Now, keep in mind this is all leading up to the actual NTWRK app “Drop Event”, which we are going to discuss now. Mind you, they have no website to buy something from, you had to download their NTWRK app. This was the scam, and everyone fell for it. They got thousands and thousands of people to download that app just for this figure. Now that everyone had jumped in, they switched the bait on everyone. To make matters worse, most people were still in for the Cobra Commander. Unless you happened to check Twitter you had no idea NTWRK was pulling these schiesty actions. We did not know what version we where buying before NTWRK was more than happy to take our money.
But wait– NTWRK still had other plans. In fact, it changed its mind– no, you would not buy said G.I. Joe Cobra Commander figure. All of a sudden, the app wouldn’t let you buy it but plays a long video the whole time you are trying to figure out where the buy button is. Many attempts later, we think we have it, but again the app lets us down. The purchase won’t complete and several errors pop up, from can’t verify shipping, to can’t process payment, the server resets, and finally the toy just sold out.
Then collectively, our greatest fears happened across the interwebs. Within a 10 minute time frame (or less) the Cobra Commander was sold out– now you drooling, rabid fan boys can go home. NTWRK had a tsunami of comments, all of them from fans upset that they could not purchase the light blue Cobra Commander variant figure. By now, the site was on fire and the stock was all burned up and gone.
This was an utter failure on every level. It was more than a plane crash, this was the Hindenburg or The Challenger exploding live on TV in front of thousands. It was complete devastation on every level. The item that was promoted was not actually there. There’s no way we aren’t past rookie toy sales like this by now! Haven’t we learned?
You had to load the NTWRK app on your phone, give them all your private info, and only then could you buy this toy at this specific time. At that moment, they show you a video of the toy we wanted to buy. By now, NTWRK knew the toy was already switched it out with another version. Then to compound all of this more, if your app geeked out, they suddenly could not sell you any at all.
I deleted my app shortly after the sold out image revised on the screen. This was defeat and I was ready to swim across the channel to England. Looking at the comments online, I can see that just about everyone else that signed up for this unwelcome and horrible service experienced then same stress and disappointment.
What is next, you might ask? Well eBay of course! The few lucky people that got to buy the thing have already prelisted it without even knowing what version they got, and it is up for $200.00. By now, some collectors have already given up on the new G.I. Joe Classified Series toy line and have called it quits.
Epilogue: I hope Hasbro sees this failure and would use better partners in the future. We G.I. Joe collectors will not ever go back to NTWRK, that is for sure. This was more like the chaos at SDCC in the Hasbro line, so at least the exclusive stayed true to the purchasing experience of the show for which it was intended. At least after a couple of days that pays off; you can buy something and make great friends in line (I am looking at you, Mike).
So many of us have wished and dreamed every day for Hasbro to take its G.I. Joe fans seriously. It had really looked that they were. We have a new line of action figures and here was an honest to god Mail Order Exclusive Cobra Commander. But that was a trick, and a poor one at that. Such high hopes have left so many of us disappointed and angry instead of happy and joyful at this event. And I can see many that won’t come back.
Please let Hasbro know your thoughts on this debacle– you can contact customer service here.
1 (800) 255-5516