It’s fun (and sort of pathetic) to read about how gullible people can be whenever something “free” is offered. We should know by now that when someone says “Hey, want a free iPod?” it’s not really free. Those banner ads for free iPods are all over the web, and people fall for it all the time. The trouble is that strings will be attached, and most likely it will cost you money in some way or another. I see these offers all the time, and it’s an obvious sham once you read the fine print…you have to sign up for all kinds of spammy services, you have to agree to purchase this or that from their sponsors, and (most evil of all) you’ll likely have to get several of your friends to join up as well. It’s just a giant ugly mess, and yet people are so enticed by it that they’re willing to do anything to get that “free” iPod. It’s just another way for marketing people to pull the wool down over your eyes. P.T. Barnum had it exactly right.
From the “No Free Lunch” file, let’s take a look one of the more widespread offers circulating online for a free Apple iPod.
This one is from something called Incentive Reward Center, which is typically reached via Web-site banner ads and promises a “free*” iPod that normally sells for $399.
In the asterisked fine print below, the firm says that receiving your free iPod depends on the following conditions: “completion of offer terms,” “completion of user survey” and “participation in sponsor offers.”
What it doesn’t say is that the offer terms will expose you to reams of spam and marketing solicitations, that the user survey is actually a lengthy marketing ploy, and that the sponsor offers needed to qualify for that free music player will almost certainly cost you money.
It also doesn’t say that Incentive Reward Center is in fact a Florida business entity called Theuseful.com, which is in fact a fictitious business name registered by another Florida business entity called NiuTech.