NescaFail & 9gag

A really interesting thing happened yesterday morning. I had the advantageous position to follow the case of Janos Szolnoki, a Hungarian guy, who entered to a competition on the official site of Nescafé Hungary. What’s so peculiar about this? Well, he asked for some help from 9gag.

9gag is a popular website filled with funny pictures and well known stick figure like rage comics and other stuff like that. The new upcoming generation created this site and this “culture”. I say culture, because it has some really interesting details to it. I am not a professor in this field, and I really don’t know too much about psychology or sociology, or the effects of the crowds, but what happened made me think.

What happened?

The world is changing rapidly, and we don’t really know the effects of it yet. Janos posted a picture to 9gag asking the community to help him win a contest and win $5000, so he can help his little brother who is disabled. He wanted a Christmas that he’ll never forget. He seemed like a nice fellow and he had good intentions and he needed 3000 likes on Facebook so 9gag came to the rescue: with over 47 thousand likes. That is just simply impressive, and in the light of later events this was only the beginning and nothing compared to what this online community achieved.

Janos was banned from the competition. A really bad choice from Nescafé: the rage of the whole Internet came down from the heavens – the great fear happened: the sky fell on them, even a little magic potion couldn’t help on the situation. So Janos was not in the final 30 – from whom 5 competitors would win each $5000. I won’t discuss the contest in depth here. Let’s just say that the jury had every right not to select Janos as a finalist, but they should’ve done something with a contestant that had over 40 thousand people behind him. And Nescafé had a pretty misleading slogen: “the two contestant with the most likes will certainly win”. They left out: if they are selected as a finalist by our own jury.

But what did 9gag do?

And here comes the important, scary, glorious part – or call it what you will. The 9gag Army came, saw and conquered. In just one day Janos gained 25 thousand likes on Facebook for this new group. Not to mention the birth of the Facebook page: Occupy unfairNes-cafe. People were outraged: they posted on the page of Nescafé Hungary, in just minutes all hell broke lose, the page was spammed by the second, it was like they hit it with a heavy machine gun and a few tanks, bombs, cannons, everything they had and they did it continuously for 24 hours and still counting. But this is not all: They posted the same thing over and over again to the official Nescafé page, to CNN and other pages all over the world, making everybody know about what happened, and demanding the $5000 to Janos.

They reached their goal, slowly everything is returning back to normal. Nescafé reassured everybody that they are working on the situation. They contacted Janos and offered him 3 things, from which he did not yet choose anything. Also 9gag offered Janos money as well, suggesting to him to open a Paypal account to gather the $5000 for charity. Everything turned out great.

What do you want to say with all this?

This whole mess made me think. The Internet has real power now. Or I should say the community on the Internet. They forced a big company to their knees, and all this came from one person. And maybe he wasn’t even right, but the online community was outraged and that’s it. But this is a fearsome thing if you think about it – I don’t want to say anything bad about Janos, I truly think that he’s a nice fellow, and he keeps calming people down on his Facebook page, saying be funny, be creative, don’t be rude. He has good intentions, but I played with the thought for a bit: what if this power gets into the hands of a bad person? This whole thing can now have an effect on governments, on the economy. And it is hardly controllable. They can show their strength 24/7 being on different parts of the world, they can force anything.

9gag started to fight back, but more people joined quickly! Facebook and Twitter are pages where you can easily get information on stuff happening right now, and you can join in a fight that’s happening. I searched Twitter yesterday with the word Nescafé and Nescafail and everybody was talking about this. The Internet connects people really quickly. So a fully equipped army was ready in just minutes. Just imagine if this fell into the wrong hands. One Tweet and millions are ready to follow an order. Scary. Maybe impossible? Who knows…


Janos was in the right place at the right time. Occupy Wall Street is happening now and obviously people are more eager to force big companies to pay up. But this whole thing showed us that in just  24 hours an online community, that’s seemingly spread all over the world and is not organised, can achieve a victory like this: it can force a big-shot company to deal with only one person – so they won’t lose customers, and they won’t have a bad reputation.

This is a huge force and it only foreshadows the things to come. I’d really like to read some interesting stuff on this subject. The power of the Internet, or the psychology of the Internet or the crowds on the Internet, the movement of this. So if you have anything to share or say about this, please do it below!

78 Responses to NescaFail & 9gag

  1. Well, you aren’t the single one to realize this power. Check out ACTA and SOPA on the internet. They are afraid… afraid of us… afraid of the people they have to serve…

    • Be afraid of GOVERNAMENTS, not afraid of the people, the internet people is the last hope of freedom on a world of FALSE DEMOCRACY and Propaganda Lies. BELIEVE IN PEOPLE!9GAG UNITE!

  2. Scary how a swarm can easily form throughout the internet. However in the quest for justice and fairness, i was glad that i was a part of this. Janos had all the right to win , with a heart of a saint. I think that there is enough sanity in the people of the internet to decipher whether what they are being asked to do is right or wrong. I am HOPING that this amassed army would continue to do good, and not fall into the clutches of the wrong hands. :) Good job, 9Gag Army!!!

  3. I was there when it started and also when the whole thing happened, it is truly incredible.. But, talking about bad reputation, I wonder what they are going to do about the like/dislike ratio on the Nescafé commercials on YouTube. I feel sorry for them a little.

  4. Wow, I liked the video when I saw the picture of Janos in 9gag and followed the hole story step by step, I didn´t spammed the page but I watched from the dark how the facebook of the company was filled with 9gagers, at first I laughed but after seeing Janos asking for the 9gagers to stop I realized that they were out of control, I liked this article because it makes us think and I remember a wise man saying: with great power comes great responsibility and now I know he was right!

  5. I am a 9gagger, member of the 9gag army. This is not new of course, and it is in fact rudimentary. Anonymous has been doing something similar and far more dangerous: Coordinated DDOS attacks. What we did was just rushing in their page, making them loose popularity (where the real wealth of a company lies). Internet and it’s people can be dangerous in fact, but for each dangerous asshole hacker wannabe out there, we are more than 100 good citizens, angry aggainst our governments, willing to do the same thing, and they are not ready, because they don’t know how it works. We have the winning hand as long as we stay united.

  6. 9GAG TROOPER. I like it. Maybe i’ll create a t-shirt about it.

    I Was one of the 47000 who were there on nescafe.

    I am 9gag. I am part of the army.
    You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us -Anonymous

  7. I am also a fellow 9gagger, and it started with outrage toward Nescafail discriminating and breaking their own rules. We as a community thought that this was unfair, we did not set out to get revenge, only justice. It’s not about internet power, #Occupy anything or “messing with us”, just a community who cares enough to help Little Derp and show that society has not all turned bad.

  8. 9Gag did not create this ‘culture’, nor do they create the ‘funny pictures’. 4chan and Memebase create all the memes, which then get copypasta’d to 9gag. For that reason, 9gag’s Judgement Day shall be tomorrow, December 21st. Prepare to DDoS.

  9. I was one of the 47,000. Just when Jansen’s Post was in the trending up to the post where Jansen’s told everyone about the failure in the competition[ also trending]. And on the siege at Nescafe Hungary. All I can say is that there is still hope for Earth.

    As everyone said. We didn’t spam for revenge. it was for JUSTICE for Jansen. And everyone at 9gag stands united for every fellow derp and derpina.

  10. I myself am part of the 9gag army but am still amazed how we can make such a difference. It just proves that anything’s possible. There might be haters, but the point is we were victorious just by sticking together.

  11. its a good thing to see that a unorganized mass could group itself to do a greater good, it is a great power of goodness.
    like it is said in the topic it’s a fearsome power, if it would be used for evil it would be catastrofic, but since its moved by the people’s will it will just reflect what people truly thinks and wants.
    what you have to fear is from were this force will come, with it comes from communitys like 9GAG were everything is “just for fun” it has no reason to be feared!!

    from just another member of the 9GAG ARMY ! =D

  12. I’m a 9gagger and I’ve been following this story since the beginning. I remember asking a friend at work, when I first saw Jano’s post on 9gag, asking for likes on the nescafe page: “do you think this is for real?”.
    I am proud that I was part of this, and feel that we really have power when united.
    9gag army!!!!

  13. Sounds like Cheating and Blackmail to me! I feel so sorry for the other people who never had an “army” to vote for them. Nestle should not be forced to pay a randsom to these Cheats!
    9gag are causing trouble around the internet by claiming memes as their own and adding a watermark to them, then profiting from selling merchandise, sites like Tumblr, Reddit and 4chan, are the original makers of these meme’s and their members have vowed to take action if this practise does not cease.

    • if you tell your brother or mother to vote is not cheating , so what if you have 20,000 relatives?? ….. i did not read the rules of that contest but i think “you can not ask for help” is not one of their rules …. 9gaga does not claim memes as their own … just watermark is not ilegal …

  14. Seeing what the 9gaggers can do amased me. We did not troll for tatred like 4chan is doing, trolling 9gag. We protested against the unfairness of Nescafe. It was aal in the name of good, I personally was very touched by Janos’ try to help his little brother. Showing love to another can only set the masses towards good. 9Gag army, I salute you!

  15. “What if this power gets into the hands of a bad person?” I think this is not something to worry about. 9gaggers/9gag army knows when to move or fight. ‘WE’ use our minds.

  16. Salute to 9gaggers! This event literally sums up the potential of internet based interest groups. One spark was enough to set off this rage and indeed, this power should never be used for dirty deeds. 9gag is not politically motivated, thus chances of abuse of power are low. It should remain in that way.
    And 4chan people: True, you created memes etc we use but all of the goodies were buried underneath your disgusting addiction with inappropriate material. And you represent the 70’s and 80’s generation, by word of law, you are OLD. 9gag represents 90’s.

  17. and that’s how SOPA (bad terrible acronym lol) came.

    government are too scared that they couldn’t reach their hands on internet, so they try to cut anything, so a big movement like this won’t happen in the future



  19. I like your article, it is well written and you rised a very important question, but I have to tell you: each one of us, the 9GAGers, have the ability to choose. So is not about getting this “power” in the wrong hands, because each of us is holding the power.

    I know people which are 9gagers and they didn’t implicate themselves in this whole situation with Nescafe (spamming, trolling, disliking, etc.) because they just didn’t want too or they didn’t believe the story. So is our choice.

    That’s the beauty of the community that formed on 9gag, we know that we have the liberty to choose whatever we want and we think is the best. It was the same for the likes given at Janos video, nobody was obliged to search the link in the comment and liked his video, they did that (over 40.000 people) because they wanted to do it. Because they wanted to help. Nobody forced them.

    I’ve seen posts in the trending page on about charity or helping wining some competition (almost the same as Janos’s story) but they soon “died”, people didn’t believe the story or they found it stupid or some other reason.

    So is OUR choice – the 9gagers, the twitters, and so on…

    I just think that if someone comes up and posts something on 9gag about I don’t know what story, I strongly believe that the people which enter 9gag everyday will know how to research and not let themselves be brainwashed.

    Sorry for the long post and best of regards,


    • Spot on. i have never clicked at any charity, religious, or environmental pages on facebook that asks for likes. and we don’t even know this Janos guy. but the way he approached us was unique and fun, so we chose to side with him coz WE wanted to. besides, the video itself was WORTH the win and if he didn’t deserve it, he wouldn’t have gotten my ‘like’.

      in my opinion, the organizers disqualified him coz they thought he was cheating- i mean..who gets 40k+ votes in less than a week? but of course, they won’t admit that NOW they know we actually exist. the contest rules itself was vague and for Nescafe to simply dismiss the efforts of 40k+ existing people is simply outrageous even if the winners are decided by THEIR juries..

      but that was then. they’ve learnt their lesson and did the right thing now. so Merry Christmas to them..

    • Well said Carina, thank you! I really appreciate it, and also it is very comforting to know that a lot fellow 9gaggers agree with you!
      Still this is a really interesting phenomenon that’s happening (and of course this is not the only precedent – some of you suggested that we don’t know about the Arab Spring because we are from America; well this is a bad stereotype, and anyway we are located in Europe…) So what’s happening now is really interesting, the mass effect is transforming because we can’t really talk about it in this case, but somehow we can. I’d still like to read some professor’s essay on this or something…
      On the other hand you are right: every single user on 9gag had the choice either to join in or leave this. So it was an individual choice every time, not because of a crowd or because someone forced them.

      However I’m still fiddling with the idea: what if someone could be so clever and evil to make everybody believe they’re joining in to help, and in reality they are making something bad. I can conceive such a deception. Though maybe in a sci-fi 😉

      To quote: With great power comes great responsibility.

  20. We are an undeniably strong force. I was proud that in so many ways a site that normally pits country against country, one that is biased enough to pit one team against another based solely on preferences of music, books, ect. in the name of fun could band together for a common, noble cause. I was proud to be a part of this Battle, and I know that we could win so many more but my fear is that, like Janos, our next leader will not be able to control the force he has created. In a way, I think that we have started one of the most fearsome world wide revolutions of our time. Once word gets out, every government world wide will begin to fear the people, the internet, and their power. We are a united world. United by language, fear, and now a sense of power but my fellow comrades this power does not come without cause. Fear us world, for we are a force to be reckoned with. 9gag, fear the world because we are new to it in so many ways, and do not yet know the full power of a leader that fears us the way that we have feared them for so long. Power is fear, fear is power, and neither comes without responsibility.Be wise, be strong. 9gag all the way.

  21. The thing is that 9gag is not unorganized. We are all good people (we all look up to Good Guy Greg and use him as an example in life) who enjoy funny things and come together for the sake of a good cause.

    We even organize specific days in which we can recognize each other, with the possibility of meeting and hanging out. We are very aware of what is going on around us, with posts about what is going on in the news. Now we might not take down corporations everyday or anything serious of that nature, but we come together when we feel the need to. We all thought the little guy should have won because he had the most votes, so we told Nescafe and everyone else what we thought.

    I think it’s that simple. There is power in numbers and 9GAG proved that. I am very proud to be a part of this site because it shows that change can happen and people can really make a difference. Corporations don’t own us, we can control them.

  22. First,When i saw janos’s post i feelt rly sorry for his brother and ofcourse liked that video.nothing unusuall, but when i heard nescafe banned him i get so mad that i throw away my mothers Coffe :D. we are huge!!

    9gag army !!

  23. in one hand… We are 9gagers, we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget, expect us. But in the other hand, we had fun, we did it, even if maybe nescafe was not really wrong… I don’t care about that, but yeah, you can freak out, 90’s generation is coming, united as one; on the internet we can do everything, whenever we need it.

  24. people should know, that we are committed to 9gag, and we will do ANYTHING possible.

    he request a christmas gift for his brother, we gave him his request.

    as simple as that.

    we’ll get it done! LIKE A BOSS!

  25. I think what the really interesting part was , and scary in the same time , taking in consideration the mass of people taking part in all this , was that none of them really considered it a “war” , it was just something they did on a friday afternoon. Out of boredom , or just because they saw everyone else do it. Now the scary part , it wasn’t really organized. People just started moving to the nesscafe page doing what they knew best , trolling. Imagine if they had a leader , an irc page , or a blog to really organize , think things through. The hit was in deed hard as it is. But it wasn’t all they were capable of. I would dare say , it wasn’t even half of it. And i would also dare say , this is just the beginning. There will be more to come. People will start realizing what the power of masses will mean to a company that depends on web communication and such.

  26. Why do you all think you are so fckin right?

    János’s tender wasn’t anything but attentionseeking and demagogue.
    Other charity tenders had real, ready goals & plans worked out, Janos only went bitching around to 9gag, where ignorant people took up blindly his cause.
    He wasn’t banned from the competiton. He was simply not qualified. The only reason for qualifying his tender would’ve been that the stupid mass would not start to riot.

    Furthermore, he lied multiple times, and used demagoguery again, highlighting the weakest tenders (“my tender didnt make it but the ‘computer game day’ did… cruel nescafe…”), while in an interview he admitted that he absolutely understands that why nescafe banned him, stil he kept on whining to ‘9gag “army”‘. ( – the interview, use google translate)
    Also, the terms HAVEN’T been altered after his tender got the like-wave.

    I feel sorry for all that stupid people who bought the poor-derp story, and blindly, without reading the terms, or as little as taking a look at the other side of the coin started to flood and flame nescafe, while thinking they’re the part of smth (actually they/you were the part of winning for a noble cause using corrupt and repulsive resorts)… pathetic. i feel sorry for the little guy having such an attention-whore of a brother.

    The cause could’ve been noble, and fair, but he managed to corrupt it and to make it disgusting.

    Also, to the ignorant and stupid “9gag army”, of what you are so proudly say that you’re members (“soldiers” – LOL), how about taking up a REAL case, like SOPA or the revolutions in the Middle-East?..
    oh wait. you wont. because you are dumb and lazy to get informed, and dont give a crap about real deals.

    And yes, the “happy end” – not the fcker got the money, but an institute what really needs the funds, and this way maybe it won’t be wasted. Still, it’s not because of the nobelity of the Nescafe directory (which is present btw, if you take a look at the final, real winners), but the cause of the fear of the negative press. I cant accept the positive outcome, if it comes as the product of such a negative and repulsive method. You shouldn’t either.

    PS – Sorry for using such language, but it’s the effect of days and days of restrainment.

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