FREE iPod "Scam" Investigated
"FREE IPOD", let alone "free anything", is an overly used online marketing ad that im sure we've all come across on several occasions. Heck, for many of us it is synonymous with the word 'scam'. Hence while the "Free iPod" deal is something I've heard of many years ago, it wasn't until recently that I decided to investigate what its all about.
A little about me first -- I am far from a gullible person. I've been in the computer industry for 10 years, and typically I can smell a scam from a mile away.
My previous run-in with the Fake Sandisk Ultra II SD card has taught myself a valuable lesson in dealing with online merchants and offers. So before I dove into this freebie deal, I made sure I did my research first... *Lots of it*. To my surprise, here's what I found:
To my surprise, here's what I found:
- It is indeed 100% legitimate.
Hard to believe at first, but once I found out how it worked and how many people out there have received their free iPod, it became very clear. Google "free ipod scam", and you'll find tons of supporting articles from reputable sources (e.g. wired.com, Engadget, CNN, etc).
- Nothing is ever free, so wheres the catch?
The catch is, you need to sign up for an online service (e.g. DVD rentals, etc). Many of these services have a free trial period and can be cancelled without incurring any charges. Furthermore, you need 5 friends to the same for you as well. The company giving away free ipods is a marketing company - their sponsors (online services) pay them for each new legitimate referral they get. The reality is, only the minority ever follow thru in getting enough referrals to be eligible for their free iPod. This allows the marketing company to remain profitable (i.e., obtain more incomplete than completed referrals).
- Sounds easy, but it is harder than it sounds. Why?
The #1 major deterrent for many is to sign up for an online service, you need to use your credit card. Now if you're a seasoned online-shopper then this is not a big deal, as long as you know you're dealing with a secure and reputable site. But if you've never shopped online before, then this is an obvious setback and its something you'll likely think twice about, even if it doesn't cost a penny.
To play it safe, my recommendation is to stick with large and well known sponsors (e.g. Columbia House, Ebay, etc.). Such retailers are not new to online shopping, and you can likely feel comfortable in dealing with them.
- If you've managed to get past #3, good luck in finding 5 friends that will do the same as your referral.
Likely they will fall into one or more of the following categories:
a) They're a skeptic. That, and they want to see YOU get it first before they will sign up.
An obvious chicken & egg problem - you can't "get it first" without their support!
b) They're hesitant to use their credit card online.
c) It's too much of a hassle for them.
d) They know that a 30GB iPod Video retails for $250USD, and they can't wait to sign up for you!
Don't we wish we had more of these friends? ;-)
If you can manage all of that and successfully find your 5 referrals, then you're well on your way to getting your free iPod. The bottom line? Yes it can be a little troublesome at times, but yes it really is legitimate, it is free, and it flat-out works -- IF you have the time, the patience, and energy. But enough -- as of October 20th my free 30GB iPod has finally arrived! Below are some photos!
|I had initially feared they might send out a refurbished unit, but that was not the case. To my delight, a brand new, shrink-wrapped, straight out of the factory model arrived!. The firmware version on the unit is confirmed to be 1.2, which is less than a month old of writing this (further indicating that this was out of the factory not long ago)|
|Inside the box alongside the 30GB iPod Video was a standard set of earphones, USB Sync/Charge cable, dock-adaptor, pouch, and instruction manual. No CD was included (it seems that iTunes must be downloaded from apple's website)|
The sleek, slender, and sexy iPod Video in my hands. This beauty retails for nearly $300 . But why pay a dime when it can be had for FREE?
I've placed an order on an Agent 18 clear case + screen protectors. Until then, this baby is staying in its original sticky wrap.
|The slick aluminum reflective back-side of the iPod. I had read that some free iPods that were won by others (via other sites) had a custom-engraving with the marketing company's name on the back. This one was pleasantly not engraved.|
If you're itching to get your very own free iPod, here are several tips that will help smoothen the ride:
- Set your expectations properly. It can be difficult getting your completed referals, and sometimes it feels impossible! I know, I've been there. 9 out of 10 my friends were just pure skeptics. (Of course, now that I finally received my iPod, they are coming to me to sign up... :rolleyes:.)
- Remember, if your friends are not interested, don't harass them. Its damn annoying and its not worth the trouble. (yes i've been guilty :))
- Use the same email address you sign up under the free ipod site for the online services to ensure you are credited properly.
- Acquire legit & real referals only. Don't bother thinking about making fake accounts, etc. They're not that dumb. Obviously it costs them something to give an iPod away, so they will scrutinize every single thing possible.
- Use registered mail to send in your approval form as recommended. (The form is something you sign and mail to them once you've acquired all of your completed referals). Yes, it can cost around $10, but it'll avoid the hassle of having it lost (which happened to me the first time!)
How to get started
Below is a list of recommended free iPod sites: