Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Don't Click Here For A Free iPod 594

fermion writes "Do you wonder what all those free iPods links are about? Do you wonder why apparently rational Slashdot users would use their .sig line to push an offer that seems little more than a thinly veiled pyramid scheme? Answers to these questions can be found in this NYT article (personal information, with no free iPod, is required). The plan itself seems simple. Rat out your friends to advertisers, and get a free gadget. The firm in question, Gratis, Inc, gets a bounty on each customer. The firm claims to have a revenue of $15 million in 2004. They claim to give away 500 iPods a week. If, as the article claims, each contact earns a bounty of around $50, we might presume that 1 in 12 contacts get a free iPod. This firm seem fairly upfront. Another firm mentioned in the article, Consumer Research Corporation, seems much less so. As always, read the fine print."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Don't Click Here For A Free iPod

Comments Filter:
  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Sunday December 26, 2004 @09:57PM (#11188278) Homepage Journal
    I want you all to read this very carefully: Nothing is free , except true charity and this is decidedly not charity. Somebody (Gratis Inc.) is making money. Let me tell you a secret.....your identity and demographic information is valuable. Individually, it means very little, but when you sell out your friends to get in on this scheme, numbers start adding up and marketing firms and companies are paying big for this information, thus the 500 iPods/week adding up to $6.5 Million US/year and the company is decidedly making a tidy profit on top of this expenditure.

    • by FlipmodePlaya ( 719010 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:09PM (#11188371) Journal
      Whenever a /. article is posted about some nifty little DIY project that can save you from spending a few hundred dollars on a consumer model or whatever, the value of one's time always comes into question. How much money are you saving if the project takes X hours of your time?

      I think the deal is similar here. In the end you're getting a free portable music player (I believe they offer TVs and such, too, right?), but you have to sign up for free trials and things like that. You also have to shamelessly whore yourself out to your friends and family, to rope them into the scheme. Then there's the whole personal information thing the parent mentioned. After months of your own ridiculous marketing, is it really worth it?
      • by Surazal ( 729 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:51PM (#11188599) Homepage Journal
        My mom would have issues with me sending her privacy information to a nameless soulless corporation.

        Hence, you can count me in as one of many people to decline this offer. Hope that helps.
      • RE: Time is money (Score:5, Informative)

        by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @11:15PM (#11188724) Journal
        Yep! When I first heard about the Gratis, Inc. offer to send a free iPod, I figured "Hey, I'll at least give it a try and see exactly what they're really asking me to do."

        I got through the majority of the thing before I realized it was going to be a huge waste of my time to proceed further. At the beginning, they don't really make it clear that you need to get at least 5 referrals to *sign up for the offers they're emailed* (and I believe, keep them for at least 30 days, too). They make you think that YOU simply have to do so with one (of many) offers you click through, and then give them 5 valid email addresses of friends.

        From my browsing through all the "trial offers", I began to realize that almost all are a royal pain in the butt to get cancelled after you sign up. I might be willing to go through the hassle myself, but I sure don't want to make 5 of my friends do so (if I could even get 5 of them to sign up for these offers in the first place!).

        I think one of the "simplest" ones to cancel was the offer to sign up with AOL, and as most of us probably already know - that's not usually the easiest thing in the world to cancel. (At the very least, you're gonna be waiting on hold for 20 or 30 minutes until you talk to some cust. service clown who keeps trying to give you more "free hours" rather than just cancel you.)

        Worse yet, so many other people already know about these deals, you end up emailing friends who are already trying to get the free iPod themselves.
      • i don't get it.

        my spare time is free.
        i don't pay myself for my spare time, my employer doesn't pay me for my spare time. and i definitely don't want to spend the whole day earning money because in that case the following question arizes:

        what is all the money good for if i don't have any spare time to spend it?
    • by eeg3 ( 785382 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:16PM (#11188411) Homepage
      I don't think most people care their information is being sold away. It's really not that big of a deal.

      You can spam me all you please, if you'll give me a free iPod first.
        • I don't think most people care their information is being sold away. It's really not that big of a deal.

        I care.

        That's why I trade supermarket "coupon" cards whenever I get a chance. It is better than avoiding the cards because trading has the potential to poison the data collection. If I simply refuse, they have a valid data set on those who use the cards (most people). But poisoned data can be dangerous if used as the basis for financial decisions. I'd love it if people made card trading a regula

        • by elmegil ( 12001 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @11:10PM (#11188704) Homepage Journal
          Lots of people care. But guess what? Chances are good, your information is already being "mined" by the credit card companies anyway. Might as well get something for your trouble, if you're so inclined. Me, I didn't like the pyramid style of it, so I didn't. But I certainly thought about it a bit, and others I know had their iPods in time for christmas. Could have been a nice stocking stuffer had I opted in....
        • That's why I trade supermarket "coupon" cards whenever I get a chance. It is better than avoiding the cards because trading has the potential to poison the data collection.

          yeah you must really be psyching those evil supermarket dudes out!
        • by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <`john.oyler' `at' `'> on Monday December 27, 2004 @12:18AM (#11188989) Journal
          I've often thought about a website devoted to courtesy card havoc. Maybe everyone uploads their number, and each week you print off a new barcode for yours. We could even have a week where we all use the same number simultaneously...

          Think about it. We'd drive the poor sap crazy that tries to do the actual data mining. "Here he is buying $500 worth of groceries in upstate NY, and 6 minutes later he is buying peanut butter with foodstamps in florida!"

          Of course, how long before the cease and desist letter was mailed?
          • A site like these? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            A site like these? Rob's Giant BonusCard Swap Meet [] or The Ultimate Shopper [] (Safeway)
          • FoeBud Privacy-Card (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jeti ( 105266 )
            In Germany, we have the PayBack system, where you get something like 1% of each purchase on a separate account or something. It's pretty big over here, and I guess it must be comparable to the courtesy cards you mentioned.

            The clue is that these cards are tranferable. So FoeBud [] got a card, made "Privacy-Cards" with the same barcode, and offered them to people interested in consumer privacy. Several thousand euro were collected, but PayBack wouldn't pay out.

            So the whole thing went before a court. The court
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 27, 2004 @02:39AM (#11189598)
          They collect the data simply for "data mining" purposes. Now that technology has made it possible to retain vast quantities of data (and not just summaries,) retailers are amassing HUGE databases of customer purchasing information. Walmart reportedly has 50 petabytes [] of sales history saved.

          Most of data mining today answers the mundane questions like "how much more ice cream do people buy when it's hot?" What they're going for is more esoteric links and trends. Things like: if anagama buys lingerie, then buys an EPT test a month later, perhaps they can forecast the demand for EPT tests based on lingerie sales. Or maybe they'll put anagama on a list so that in 9 months they send you coupons for diapers and formula. (BTW, diapers and formula are the holy grail of retail: if they can get new moms to regularly shop at their store for those two items, they believe they have a customer for life. New moms typically harbor good feelings about the places they trust to help provide for their children.)

          Data mining is still a very immature process, despite current marketing hype. So far, it's being used experimentally. Walmart is certainly the king of data mining, but even their latest and greatest example was simply to see what people bought before and after hurricane Charley. (Turns out they sold 7 times the usual number of strawberry pop-tarts and beer, so they shipped trucks with extra poptarts and beer to the stores in the projected paths of the rest of the other hurricanes this season.) Again, nothing that couldn't have been done with raw statistics.

          Retailers view this data as "gold ore", even though it's a lot more like the Emperor's New Clothes. It's got to be valuable, somehow, it's just that we haven't figured out how to process it yet. The people working on the "customer database" teams are quick to shout "yes, it's valuable" because if they didn't they'd be out of a job. Same with the Sun and Oracle salesmen -- buy this valuable database processing engine and mine for gold (or else I get no fat bonus check, boo-hoo.)

          Yes, I am a deeply placed insider who works for a large retailer. I see this stuff all the time, and I know how worthless it's been so far. But it doesn't stop us from trying to mine more data. And it certainly doesn't stop us from collecting it. So go ahead and poison the database it if you want, but there are three reasons why I personally wouldn't bother: first, the number of poisoners is statistically insignificant (good luck changing that). Second, as I mentioned above, the databases are not yielding the gold you might imagine. Finally, I try not to participate in those card gimmicks -- I shop at stores that don't require them.

    • Let's not forget that the next time you buy something from Apple or whoever they sell the info too you are paying for that "free ipod". They add PR/marketing/e.g. "NOT ENGINEERING" expenses to the cost of the product.

      I think everyone should listen to Pacifica for oh I dunno, a fundraiser or two ;-)

    • Nothing is free

      "There is no such thing as a free lunch, unless you are the lunch."
    • by LGagnon ( 762015 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:37PM (#11188532)
      Nothing is free

      This said on a web site that constantly talks about open source software. Don't get me wrong, nothing tangible is free, but but its a whole different situation with intellectual property.
      • There is no free lunch. Ever.

        If you're thinking of duplication costs; they're low, but certainly not zero. However, until somebody puts forth effort into producing an original work, there's nothing to duplicate.

        That takes us back to production: somebody had to pay for the engineering time and resources. Skilled engineering labor is expensive and most decent software projects require teams of people writing the software, docs, distro scripts and doing the QA. Even if this work is done "after hours" the
      • Don't get me wrong, nothing tangible is free

        Software is not "Free" as in beer - when people do publish software Freely , they are doing charity. FOSS software can be sold (RMS sold emacs for 150 USD per copy !!!). But what FOSS tries to seperate is the Cost of Development from Profit per Sale.

        I have been (wioll haven been) paid to do some features on the OSS I work on - because somebody really needed it. That's because I created some wealth with my effort (in a wholly capitalistic point of view). And

    • by rufusdufus ( 450462 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:38PM (#11188539)
      Here [] is a site I found that has a calculator that suggest how much the bits of information about you are "worth".
      They suggest you "refer" agencies which collect information about you to this site so you are properly compensated.
    • by new-black-hand ( 197043 ) < minus poet> on Sunday December 26, 2004 @11:13PM (#11188718) Homepage
      Why are these companies always portrayed in a negative light with the assumption that they are bad? I see nothing wrong with Gratis - they are filling a need for the companies that are willing to pay up to $60 per lead. Gratis meet all their obligations to both clients and referred customers for their clients. Why must everyone then assume that they are somehow evil? They have made a lot of money doing what they do, and a lot of people have received iPods for their efforts - the owners are even willing to have their full names published in the NYT which shows that they have nothing to hide.
      • by Peter Cooper ( 660482 ) on Monday December 27, 2004 @05:31AM (#11190069) Homepage Journal
        Let's do the math. I'm not going to double check the figures, but I believe you refer 5 people, and once they all sign up, you get a free iPod. Rinse and repeat.

        Okay, so one person hooks up five people, they all sign up (making the company $50 * 6 = $300) and a $249 iPod is sent out to the first guy. Profit so far is $51.

        Each of those five hooks up five people for a total of 25 new people, so 25 * 50 = 1250. Five iPods = 1245, not much profit this time.. so this shows that at $50 there's no real profit for the company at each generation, until...

        25 * 5 * 5 * 5 * 5 * 5 * 5 * 5 * 5 * 5 * 5 = 2.5 billion.

        At this point you've exhausted everyone on the Internet, as you can't sign up more than once. So where's the money?

        As in ANY pyramid scheme, the money is in the last generation of the scheme! Free iPods will reach a point where they have several million on their books, and those several million can't find anyone to sign up! So.. several million * 50 = $A LOT OF PROFIT. And those guys won't get an iPod. Cha-ching.
        • In this case, the money is probably in the FIRST level or two of the scheme. I already don't have 5 people who would get 5 friends to sign up; and I'd be the first level if I signed up, so they'd get maybe $60-$180 out of me and my friends, and give out *NO* I-pods.

          It's also not a true pyramid scheme in the sense that you don't have to pay any money to get in. There's a fine line between a pyramid scheme and just paying people to do sales. My company has a bunch of people we pay JUST to sell stuff. And
        • These schemes rely on a certain amount of turnover, so maybe you'll get 5 or 6 levels in the pyramid, but a lot of the lower levels will sign up, realise they've been conned and write off the money. This helps keeps the burn rate of eligible suck ..err.. consumers low enough to sustain the pyramid.

          The people at the top will be driving ferrari's, though. I was hired once to write some software to handle one of these schemes (even today a lot of them are paper based) and I got to see the figures for the to
    • Reminds me of one of the Ferengi rule of acquisition #59: Free advice is seldom cheap.

      In this case, I think we can say, "Free iPod is seldom cheap."

  • Christmas spirit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:00PM (#11188299) Homepage Journal
    It seems common sense [to me anyway] that to get a "free" iPod from some company or person that is giving one away, they stand to gain something in return. Since I don't know precisely what they are gaining, since it isn't money from me, and I have to assume they aren't doing it in the Christmas Spirit and giving for the sheer joy of it, then it only stands to reason that they are going to loot me in some way.

    Some people might not mind having their personal browsing or comsumer habits monitored at every turn or click, but I'd rather keep some anonymity. Especially from companies which are quite obviously associated with spamming, and pyramid scheming.
    • "The lesson is that the only thing on this earth that is truly free is your mother's love. Everything else has a string or catch attached." ummm... What about free software? More importantly, iPod Linux:
  • by AtillaTheKilla ( 836478 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:01PM (#11188300)
    I can easily see this thread degenerating in to hundreds of 'rational' slahdotters begging for refs. We'll see...
  • by confusion ( 14388 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:01PM (#11188301) Homepage
    If you send this email to 10 of your friends, Bill Gates will send you $100. Er send you to Disney world, or refinance your mortgage or something.

    Jerry []

    • by Saeger ( 456549 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (jllerraf)> on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:30PM (#11188488) Homepage
      The amount of money Bill Gates was giving away [] was actually $1000, not a piddly $100 cnote. You obviously never got paid and are just jealous of the millions who did.
    • by TheAJofOZ ( 215260 ) <adrian AT symphonious DOT net> on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:57PM (#11188630) Homepage Journal
      Don't worry there's a hard limit to how long this can last. Lets say it takes 1 month to get the 5 referrals you seem to need (I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to account for people taking longer, dropping out etc):
      Start: 1 person.
      1 Month: 5 new (6 total)
      2 Months: 25 new (31 total)
      3 Months: 125 new (156 total)
      4 Months: 625 new (781 total)
      5 Months: 3125 new (3906 total)
      6 Months: 15625 new (19531 total)
      7 Months: 78125 new (97656 total)
      8 Months: 390625 new (488281 total)
      9 Months: 1953125 new (2441406 total)
      10 Months: 9765625 new (12207031 total)
      11 Months: 48828125 new (61035156 total)
      12 Months: 244140625 new (305175781 total)
      13 Months: 1220703125 new (1525878906 total)
      14 Months: 6103515625 new (7629394531 total)

      Since there are only 6,446,131,400 people in the world the scheme cannot continue longer than 14 months. Sadly, those last few months will suck big time (and a few months after because of people who can't do basic math).
      • Actually, I don't dispute your explanation, just the conclusion. Those people who can't do math will continue, encouraging others to try again (hey, if he's still doing it, maybe it still works!). Those people will in turn encourage others... and somehow this becomes self-sustaining.

        Truly, if this logic held, we would have been done with pyramid schemes in the early 20th century.
  • Question (Score:5, Funny)

    by suso ( 153703 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:01PM (#11188307) Homepage Journal
    Do you wonder what all those free iPods links are about?

    No, not really.
  • old news (Score:5, Informative)

    by esmoothie ( 838226 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:02PM (#11188319) has been talked about before. There was even an article on wired about it a while back;,2125,64614,00.html [] From everything I have read, it seems legit as far as people getting their ipods.
  • by eMartin ( 210973 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:03PM (#11188325)
    I know several people who got free iPods by signing up for the offers involved and then cancelling. If they paid anything at all, it was certainly a lot less than the cost of the iPod.

    I guess if this company is making money, then not everyone bothers to get out of the offers they sign up for, but even they aren't getting ripped off.

    BTW, there have been a few sites that set up referal pools, where people basically just got together and refered each other with the people in the pool.
    • by zoloto ( 586738 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:09PM (#11188373)
      It does work. You fill out offers from three companies and wait. In my case, two visa's and AOL. Once the iPod came AOL was cancelled (under the no billing time) and the visa's were cancelled. I used a P.O. Box from a company that would accept packages from ups and fedex (MBE). After I had gotten two iPods, the MBE account, AOL, temp hotmail address and Visa cards were cancelled.

      No junk mail at my house. No spam. Free iPods.

      I'm not complaining.
      • by Saeger ( 456549 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (jllerraf)> on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:19PM (#11188427) Homepage
        After I had gotten two iPods, the MBE account, AOL, temp hotmail address and Visa cards were cancelled.

        Well, thanks for scamming the scammers, scammer. Hopefully "Gratis, Inc." will go out of business as fast as AllAdvantage did a few years ago. If anyone remembers them. :)

        "If anyone here is in marketing or advertising... KILL yourself. No joke here, really, seriously, kill yourself, you are no rationalization for what you do, you are Satan's little helpers. Kill yourself. Kill yourself. Kill yourself, now. Now! Back to the show! ... Seriously, I know all the marketing people are gonna be like, "There's gonna be a joke coming up!" There's no fucking joke: suck a tailpipe, hang yourself, borrow a pistol from an NRA buddy, do something to rid the world of your evil fucking presence. OK, back to the show. ... You know what bugs me though, that everyone here who's in marketing is now thinking the same thing: "Oh, cool, Bill's going for that Anti-Marketing dollar. That's a huge market!" Quit it! Don't turn everything into a dollar sign, please! ..."Oohh, the plea for sanity dollar. Huge! Huge market! Look at our research."
      • by lsmeg ( 529105 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @11:44PM (#11188846)
        It does work. You fill out offers from three companies and wait. In my case, two visa's and AOL. Once the iPod came AOL was cancelled (under the no billing time) and the visa's were cancelled. I used a P.O. Box from a company that would accept packages from ups and fedex (MBE). After I had gotten two iPods, the MBE account, AOL, temp hotmail address and Visa cards were cancelled.

        Word of caution: be careful about signing up for credit cards and cancelling them. The number of credit cards you own and have ever owned make up a part of your credit rating. Two credit cards you sign up for and cancel probably aren't going to do much... But if you go to get a mortgage and you've had 20 different cards, it could raise some eyebrows.

  • by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <> on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:04PM (#11188333) Homepage Journal
    It's that it's a nasty scheme to harvest contacts for junk mail, telemarketing, etc.

    The company I work for partners with a lot of these companies, offering one of the things you can sign up for as part of your work toward a free whatever. The companies we work with are legit, but the idiots that sign up for this shit don't read the agreement details and then they wind up getting deluged with legally clear spam, junk mail, and telemarketing.

    It's not really free, it's just that you don't pay for what you get with cash. You pay for it with your time. You have to sift through legit spam, junk mailers, hassle with telemarketers who can now legally call you even if you're on the DNC list.

    So, hey, if you sign up and didn't read the agreement, too bad. You're an idiot, and you deserve all the crap that you get deluged with. Hope all that extra advertising was worth the free iPod.
    • by bwy ( 726112 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @11:17PM (#11188732)
      It's that it's a nasty scheme to harvest contacts for junk mail, telemarketing, etc.

      Well put. Whether it is "legit" or not is a secondary concern. I don't put much respect towards people who run around spending all their time spamming themselves and friends to get things for free.

      I mean, Christ-o-Mighty, We're talking 250-300 bucks here people. Get a job and earn it the old fashioned way. If true wealth were created merely by sending emails to people or by participating in some other pyramid scheme, everybody would be rich and nobody would work again (unfortunately, it would also mean that money grows on trees.) Also, it is an iPod... we're not talking about going to these extremes to feed a family. People are doing it to get a gadget that they can clearly live without.

      This is similar to the people who continually sign up for store credit cards to get discounts or "free" gifts. Apparently, they either don't understand or don't care how their credit score is derived. I know people who live their whole lives trying to get freebies. If they spent half that effort improving themselves, I'm sure they'd get a raise, better job, or something.
  • by MinutiaeMan ( 681498 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:05PM (#11188338) Homepage to get hired to work in one of Apple's retail stores! All permanent (i.e. not seasonal) employees get their very own iPod for "business" uses -- ostensibly, this is to help familiarize the Mac Specialists with the product, and also to give you a "reference" to look up data (stored as notes in the iPod). But you're completely free to store your own music on there and use it for your own purposes, too.

    (I suppose this might be too much "work" for some people, though, plus it doesn't have the fun of selling out your friends to spammers...)
  • couldn't they find something a little cheaper and make even more money?
    • they've got several different "free" options...

      I've personally scored a "free" in addtion to a free ipod.

      There's also where for selling your soul and 4 others you get a "free" xbox, ps2 slim, gamecube, or nintendo ds2

      *Shrug* and there's a myriad of half-arse gratis clones out there.

    • Upfront: This post is to help me get free stuff.

      Several legitimate companies are giving away other gifts; some more and less expensive than the iPod.

      I got a free iPod from J&TCooper's site, I've got a page of pictures of my iPod and links to sites that are legitimate on my site []. There are some very intersted items that you can get, including PC parts (also from J&TCooper), game consoles, a PC, and a lot more.
  • by Kufat ( 563166 ) <kufat AT kufat DOT net> on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:06PM (#11188347) Homepage
    Disclaimer: No links to sites will be given, so people don't think I'm spamming referrals. I don't plan to do any referral-based offers in the future anyway. Additionally, I'm not affiliated with any of these sites.

    So far, I've received:
    $170 check from a free green xbox offer (now closed)
    Xbox, from another free xbox offer. (Anyfreegift)
    ipod, from
    $700 check, from freelaptops4you.

    Only required referrals. The other grand worth of money/stuff didn't. I'm currently working on a deal for a laptop from another site.

    Are some of the sites scams? Yeah. But some of them are legit, or close enough for you to get your stuff.
  • click through (Score:5, Informative)

    by zlel ( 736107 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:07PM (#11188349) Homepage
    No drop-of-blood-required link here [] generated via this generator []
  • Ed McMahon (Score:2, Funny)

    by haffi ( 21074 )
    You may have won 1,000,000 dollars.

    sound familiar?

  • Among the things I read:

    1) The company isn't responsible if you're not ellegible for the free ipod list.

    2) The company doesn't guarantee that if you're ellegible, it will send you the free ipod.

    3) The company doesn't guarantee that when they send it, it will arrive.

    In other words, the company doesn't guarantee A THING.

    It's a scam. Just a SPAM frontend.
    • And all I have to say is what do you have to loose except for a couple clicks on a website and a disposable email getting spammed? Most offers are free and/or you can cancel in time so you don't get charged a thing. A lot of my friends thought the same way as you and after recieving my iPod I just called them up and let them know the good news. Now some of them are signing up as well.
    • here is a screenshot of the processing page...

      and a clip of the screenshot after they sent it...
  • If anyone (Score:5, Funny)

    by staeiou ( 839695 ) <(staeiou) (at) (> on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:19PM (#11188428) Homepage
    I swear, those people with the free iPod links will be FIRST up against the wall when the revolution comes.
  • Now the ipod spammers on livejournal and elsewhere will point out this article as absolute proof that ITS NOT A SCAM and its totally free with no strings attached.

  • Anyone who has any common sense would read the terms/conditions for these things and see its not very hard to follow the *rules*. I've already gotten my free ipod. I of course, used a brand new yahoo account in order to prevent my mail email account from being spammed. I don't understand why articles come out about these things blasting them to pieces because a few people feel screwed over cause they didn't get something for FREE.

    Thats right, FREE. Unless you want to count the time it takes (sure sure
  • Here's a interesting thread on just how legit this company is....

    (read the last page) []
  • ..I haven't tried it myself, but a fellow sys admin at work (who also happens to be an RA in our college) went through the hoops and did, in fact, receive his iPod. Me? I don't have the patience to go through with it -- besides, my iPod was free to begin with - I received it as a gift. :)

  • Wrong site? (Score:5, Funny)

    by System.out.println() ( 755533 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:39PM (#11188543) Journal
    Do you wonder why apparently rational Slashdot users ....

    What slashdot have you been reading, exactly?
  • My friend came to me back in the summer, asking me to sign up under him at At this point there wasn't much information about Gratis' operation on the Internet, so I did some back of the envelope calculations to figure out how the hell these guys could make money by giving away iPods.

    I ended up posting my results here []. Quick summary: It's economically viable. I wish I had thought of this first.
  • Citibank is giving away iPod Minis if you open a checking account and keep it for a year, and pay two bills online a month from it. (Go to their main page and click the picture of the iPod if you want the details).

    Note that this is no psuedo-pyramid scheme. You do not have to sign anyone else up. Reading the fine print, and adding up the fees, and taking into account the opportunity cost of having money in a lousy bank account instead of some good investment, it still looks to me like it only costs abo

  • I got my iPod (Score:3, Informative)

    by digitalgimpus ( 468277 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @11:29PM (#11188793) Homepage
    I seriously got mine from I documented the entire thing (play by play) on my blog:

    Free iPod Posts []

    That query will display just my free iPod posts. I posted as quick as I can, so the dates are very accurate to the actual events. Even a few photos posted at the end.

    I did sign up for a freeflatscreen [], though haven't completed the requirements for that one (if you want to see blog posts for free flat screens... help out :-D ).

    All I can say is: I got mine. I have no idea about everyone else who participated, but mine came to my door. So for me, it worked.

    Just my $0.02
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 26, 2004 @11:39PM (#11188829)
    There seem to be lot of suspiciously satisfied customers just jumping out of the woodwork about how happy they are they got their iPod. Funny, how I didn't see any postings from unhappy folks.

    Back in the day, before I went on to better, more mature things, I ran some porn sites. To get traffic, I sent about 100 spams every day by hand to usenet groups using AOL. The spams said they were giving a pirated login/password to a porn site link that was included.

    Of course, the web-form that opened was bogus, people could have typed in anything and gotten to the porn. But, thinking it was a stolen password, people jumped on it. I was making 3000 or so a month at the peak, all from the same 100 or so daily usenet spams. For some reason, (maybe guilt?) people who used the "free" password were much much more likely to click on the legit banners in my site.

    Eventuanlly, after the the banner affiliate programs got complaints from the usenet police (a singularly dedicated band of activists that have way too much time on their hands) about me, I stopped getting paid. Sluggish AOL even noticed their complaints, and my accounts kept getting turned off. By then I was making much more money at a real job, but the experience a very valuable look at the dark side of net and human psychology.

    It would be really interesting to look at how many of these slashdotters posting about how they got a "free iPod" somehow all set-up their accounts in the last couple of hours or so ... Also, those folks with sigs linking to the iPod offer will also have realized the potential this story offers.

  • by MadAnthony02 ( 626886 ) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @11:45PM (#11188855) Homepage []

    I created this site to put in my sig on various sites after getting annoyed by all the freeipod referal links)

  • No freebie for you (Score:3, Interesting)

    by no-freebie-for-u ( 834344 ) on Monday December 27, 2004 @12:16AM (#11188978) Journal
    Simply put: there are no free lunches. IMO people that push this pseudo-free crap in their .sigs are leeches. That's why I created this account, to add those leeches to my enemies list and ask people with mod points to mod them down when justified.

    There's even one "thing" that is trading gmail accounts for signing up under his referral id. Sad.

    Please, everyone, stop pushing pseudo-free crap. And telling people to sign up and cancel right away to avoid credit card charges is fraud.

  • by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Monday December 27, 2004 @01:39AM (#11189398) Homepage
    As many of you know, this system has been used with everything from free ipods, to free laptops, to free plasma tvs.

    Since there is a mathematical formula for how long it takes for the pyramid to collapse, this cycle would then begin anew for each new item offered correct? So if people keep getting in at the top of each new item offered, they'll still be good right?

    Also, can anybody vouch for the legitimacy of those other things, particularly the plasma and laptop offers?

  • by Mulletproof ( 513805 ) on Monday December 27, 2004 @11:35AM (#11191455) Homepage Journal

    Yes, of course they're making money off of this. It doesn't take a slashnot story to figure that one out. We're not exactly talking about breaking news here. And even so, do you really have a problem with that? I don't. And yes, they ask for personal information, but do you actually give it to them? I gave them an email address I can shut down at a moments notice. I gave them a creditcard that can't be used again. I don't mind giving out a physical address simply becasue these guys aren't interested in sending out real mail-- That costs money. It's not the MO of a spammer anyway.

    Honestly, this story is a little lopsided in nature. Call me biased (see sig for details), but you don't have to play by their rules. I mean, God forbid you use that concept in say, a free email account? Not that they don't attempt to make cash off you either. Or how about slashdot adverts and the story self promotions you see occationally?*

    Seriously, you play this game every day on the internet. Nothing changed just because it's a free ipod or because Slashdot all of a sudden became aware of it.

    * No, I honestly don't care. Unlike some people I've accepted it as something that goes with the territory.

  • by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <(ten.pbp) (ta) (maps)> on Monday December 27, 2004 @11:40AM (#11191488)
    I used to work for the company that owns,, & - the premise was simple. Sign up, refer 5 friends, and get free movie tickets.
    All of the information was happily sold off to "3rd party marketing partners" and the list (over 7 million people when I left) was also used for the company's spamming arm, Moxio (or Bonus Bonez, whatever they're calling it now) - you and your referrals all got the spam. Lots of it. If you cancelled your account, your referrals (and usually you) still got tons of spam. Your address (email, phone number, AND mailing address) was sold off already.

    Yes, people eventually did get some free tickets after jumping through "partner" hoops..some requiring you to keep the "trial" for 2 weeks or more, or to give up MORE personal info & credit card numbers.

    It's worse than the "" scam that requires you to sign up for Equifax's "Credit Monitoring Service" and more spam.

    Is there any way that Slashdot can simply dump any post that has that ponzi scheme as a sig?

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!