Do the Free iPods, PSPs, LCDs, HDTVs, Computers, etc Really Work?Submit to del.icio.us | digg it! | Submit to Slashdot
You’ve just been eligible for a free ipod (or some other popular consumer electronic)! Ever hear this and wonder is it true? I mean there is no free lunch right? Correct! There is no free lunch and there is no free iPod. These eye catchers have a price. Most of the time, the price isn’t money. It is just a time, people, and credit cards. I heard this on The Screen Savers. Last time i checked, this is how the offers work. For timesaving purposes, i’m going to use the iPod as an example.
You go to the site and sign up. Provide your email and mailing address. They show you a list of offers. Some of them are credit card deals, product trials, magazine subscriptions, weight-loss trials, etc. Most are pretty much free in the end. You just have to remind yourself to cancel them in before the trial period is finished. Additionally, every offer requires a credit card. Select an offer that interests you. After you have signed up for an offer, you will need to get five people to do what you just did. Once all five complete their offer, you get your iPod. Your five friends then need to get five of their friends in order to get an iPod too.
Sounds easy right? Why doesn’t everybody have an iPod? How do the companies make money? First of all, it is not easy. It’s hard to find five people with credit cards to sign up. Most people are skeptical. Those who are not skeptics most likely do not have a credit card. Although it may seem like the companies are loosing money and doing you a favor, they are actually in a very lucrative business. First off all, they make money through the offers to what you sign up. The commissions are about $25-$100 per offer. They get this commission even though you cancel immediately! So, pretend they make an average of $50/person. In the case of the iPod, they make $300! That is the retail price. Undoubtedly, they buy it on wholesale, which is probably $250-$275. They’ve made at least $25! Not only that, the companies are banking on the unlikelihood of this ideal situation. They hope that their customers forget to have five friends to sign up. They hope that you will not find five people to believe you. That way, the iPod order will never be filled! If they are not obligated to give an iPod because of the five-referral requirement has not been met, the companies get to keep whatever commissions the subscriptions and trials brought them! If you had only two friends sign up, they just made about $150!
What about the “free” items that are higher in value like HDTVs, computers, laptops, camcorders, and game consoles? The companies just raise the referral requirement. For example, for the Mac Mini requires 10 referrals. These bigger-ticket items earn the companies more money. If you want a Mac Mini and you only refer 7 people, the companies make 400!
The Solution - Conga Lines
So, what is the solution if you don’t know people who would do this with you? I’ve wanted to do one of these “free” things but I just don’t know that many people with credit card that would believe me. Luckily, I came across conga lines. Conga lines are sites that systematically fulfill everybody’s requirements for their free gift. This is how it works: I want a free iPod, so I go to the conga line and sign up for the iPod and place my subscription or trial. I do this using the referral link they provide. As I am doing that, I am filling some stranger’s 5 referral requirements. The conga line adds me after they have confirmed that I helped the line move. Eventually, after the referral requirements of the people in front of me have been filled, I’m at the top of the list. Everybody who signs up through the conga line will fulfil my 5 requirements. I will get the iPod and the person before me goes to the top of the list. It is pretty straightforward and systematic. So, in theory, if one person join the conga line everyday, you will be at the top of the list.
Launch.net Congas - According to the counter, they are the ones with the most traffic and they say they are the fastest to fulfill. I would like to join this line but they are long. Plus, every page says they have been updated May 2005. Does that mean the conga members are that old and they haven’t been filled?
CongaLines.info - This is the only advertised conga line on google. Plus, it is also the first one that appears, so there is more exposure. The lines are also short. Good exposure and short lines are a plus.
Anything4Free.com - I thought this was a really confusing conga line site. I only use it to rate the companies that give these things away (its on the left side of their homepage). From what I see, Freepay (gratis), is the best company. I guess they give the best service.
Freebieauthority.com - I thought this site was …. Well I don’t know. I just didn’t like it. It was low on the traffic list. But I use it to see what options I have in the subscription/trials/offers.
This is what I have done: I’ve been meaning to get a laptop, so why not participate in the free laptop promotion. There are two offers for laptops. One is from OfferCentric, Notebooks4Free.com, and the other is for the FreePay/Gratis, FreeDesktopPC.com (I guess they like to merge their laptop and desktop offerings in one promotion). Since they are from two different companies, they cannot disqualify me. I like FreePay/Gratis most because it is rated “A” on Anything4Free.com. Plus it requires only 10 referrals. On the contrary, OfferCentric, a “B” site requires 18 referrals! I will try both on two different conga lines, Launch.net (OfferCentric) and Congalines.info (FreePay/Gratis). They seem to have good traffic. Join either conga line! You can also directly help me by using my referral links:
These companies will try to milk everything they can get out of you. Be prepared for spam in your email inbox and junk mail in your mailbox. I suggest getting an email address specifically for this. I hear that hotmail accounts cannot be used for this service. So, I suggest a Yahoo account or a gmail account.
To speed up your referral requirements, you may consider advertising on google. The cost of doing this will definately be offset by what you will get in the end. I think I will try this with conga lines!
You may just want to get these “free” items to resell them for cold hard cash. Skip eBay and select the option for cash! They send you a check or deposit into a PayPal account!
Posted on Thursday, October 20th, 2005