Contest For Early Pottermore Access Leads To Massive Traffic & eBay Action

Harry Potter e-books site officially launches in October, but a “Magical Quill” contest that grants one million winners access to the beta site is drawing massive traffic. And beta accounts are popping up on eBay.

For each of the seven days, a clue will be posted on the Pottermore homepage, leading those who solve it to the “Magical Quill”–the opportunity to register for early access to the site. A limited number of people are able to register each day, and the competition is designed to keep them glued to the site–though some winners immediately began selling their early-access accounts on eBay. (The bidding on one account is now up to $152.50.)

From a post on the official Pottermore Insider blog explaining how the competition works:

We won’t be telling you when a clue goes live, so you’ll need to keep a careful eye on over the seven-day period. However, we will let you know, via and the Insider, when registration for a particular day has come to an end.

Finally, we will not be enabling early access to the site straight away. Once The Magical Quill challenge is over, we will send successful early access registrants a Welcome email, letting them know when they will be able to access Pottermore. We won’t be able to let everyone into the Beta site at the same time, so please be patient with us. You may have to wait a few weeks for your Welcome email to arrive.

A follow-up Q&A post responded to some of the issues that arose yesterday, on the first day of the competition: A problem with verification e-mails sent to Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) accounts and the possibility of different answers to clues based on different translations of the book: “Yes, some of the translations only referred to four of the five owl types when describing the Eeylops sign. We are double-checking the consistency of the translations for the remaining clues but, when in doubt, please always refer to the original English versions of J.K. Rowling’s books.” Also, a post today notes, “We won’t be announcing the arrival of a new clue on our Twitter account to ensure we don’t give an unfair advantage to Twitter users, but we will let you know, via @Pottermore and the Insider, once the maximum number of registrations for each day has been reached.”