I've heard of a few of these authors (and read links from this site), so I have good feeling that at least one or two will be worthwhile reading.
But as business model, who can (honestly) criticise this? As the consumer you can decide the value and get what you want at the price you want or you can ignore it; the market will decide if it has a future.
"Altogether there were almost half a million views from more than 150 countries"
"over 20,800 orders were placed"
How can you call that a success? Just look at how many people viewed it for free - well over 950,000 people didn't spend at least $35, so they lost over $33 million.
They should have just stayed with the half price offer - at least they wouldn't have lost any sales
"Passing a law banning this practice prevents the scenario from becoming an issue in the first place."
Agreed although it doesn't need to be a new law; as suggested above, existing employment law could be extended to include this provision.
The main purpose of employment law (as I see it) is to try to create a level playing field between the (in this case, potential) employer and employee and reduce the risk of the employee giving up rights 'because he/she needs the money'