pssst, hey Dell, check this out…

How to determine Gateway’s total online sales without really trying, or something I bet their competitors already do:

I ordered a Gateway networked DVD player the other day and in the confirmation email they sent me an order status URL. I put in my order number and it showed me a summary of what I ordered, how I paid for it, and when it would show up at my door. Then I noticed my order number was in the URL and copied to the form, so I changed it, and I could see the next person’s order (not much beyond what they ordered and what they used to pay for it).

It’s nice that Gateway doesn’t have a difficult-to-use order tracking system, but even though the order status page doesn’t reveal any personal details, I’m surprised Gateway leaves it wide open. Anyone could build a bot to quickly tally how much in sales they get on their website per day, what types of products are selling the most, what price points people buy at, what the average shipping time is, and what percentage of people pay for things on credit cards, on gateway credit, or other means, by simply feeding numbers into the form, then going to the “view order details” page to scrape the data for storage.