Friday, January 07, 2005

Is the spam a scam? Let's find out.

For months, I've been getting those spam e-mails for: Get a free XBox / iPod / TiVo / etc. I'd heard from a couple people that the deals were supposedly legitimate, but I wasn't convinced.

Then today, I noticed that David's Largehearted Boy blog has a slew of links to such offers. I searched through his archives and it turns out that he's actually received the rewards from a few of them. I don't know David personally, but he's a concrete enough source for me to believe that it's more than just urban legend.

So I took the plunge. I signed up for a free Photo iPod. At worst, I figure I'll get spammed at an e-mail account that I rarely use.

Here's how the deal works:

It's a pyramid scheme. You sign up for the free whatever, sign up for one other offer that they're pushing, then get several other suckers to do the same thing. For this particular offer, I have to find 10 other people willing to participate.

The "one other offer" is the tricky part. Several "fake" offers appear before tthe real offers finally show up at the end. Once you enter your e-mail and home address, you're asked if you'd like to receive related offers. I made sure both boxes were unchecked. Then there were three more offers presented (stuff like refinancing, Publisher's Clearing House, and car quotes) I said no to all of them. Then there was another offer... and another... and another... and another... It went on for a while, and I almost thought I had to select one of them. Nevertheless, I just kept clicking no because I honestly didn't want to participate in any of them.

Eventually, the slew of "fake" offers comes to an end, and you're presented with the real offers, one of which you must sign up for. The real offers were much more reasonable things like credit card applications or the Columbia House DVD club. I picked a two-week free trial in Blockbuster's online rental program (like NetFlix) which I will probably cancel in 13 days.

If you'd like to be one of my 10 suckers and help me get my free Photo iPod, click here. Follow the steps as I've noted above and be sure to keep clicking "no" for the extra garbage. Then you only have to find 10 suckers of your own.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

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