Is there such a thing as a free iPod?
by Tara Renee Settembre
"You can't always get what you want," sing The
Rolling Stones. But
sometimes you can, and for free, even New York's most
popular toy for adults and teens--the Apple iPod. Although
via a marketing website you may not have to pay for the
hot gadget monetarily, but people are still paying for
them with their time and energy.
At freeipods.com, an online site, you can get the latest
iPod Photo, colorful iPod Minis and the new iPod Shuffle
without spending the $250 it normally costs.
According to the rules, you must complete an offer from
one of their sponsors and then refer three or five friends,
depending on which iPod you choose. The more expensive
models, like the iPod Photo and 40G require you to refer
five friends, but if it is the small $99 Shuffle that
you want, you only have to refer three friends. Once each
of your referrals completes an online subscription offer,
you will supposedly be mailed a free iPod.
Is this a gimmick? Not according to Manhattan resident
and Part-Time Media Assistant, Tony Yan, 21, who gave
the pink iPod Mini that he received through the program
to a friend as a gift, since he already had an iPod of
I learned about the program quite some time ago
but was one of the skeptics out there that didn't believe
it was true, says Yan. That is until one of
my friends received his iPod and I saw it with my own
two eyes and decided it was legit.
The offers that you are required to complete in order
to receive the mp3 player are fairly easy ones, like joining
Blockbusters DVD membership, newspaper subscriptions
and other online programs. You can cancel the program
within 30 days, but the Blockbuster membership requires
a credit card and could amount to a total of $10.49 for
a months service. Thus, for only 10.49 you are a
step closer to a free iPod.
Yan subscribed to ancenstry.com for his offer and declares
that it was easy for him to finish the program, With
only a bit of convincing, I was able to profit on a beautiful
piece of electronic.
However, for other participants, getting friends to sign
up can be difficult and take a little more finesse.
I think it's rewarding -- but you do have to jump
through a lot of hoops to get to the end, says 24-year-old,
Kate Sundy, the writer of the popular award winning blog,
Barefoot Principessa. Sundy joined freeipodshuffle.com
three weeks ago and is still two offers away from completion.
The mention of free iPods has been spreading among the
blogging world like wildfire, with sites begging readers
to join in lieu of regular news posts. Sundy, however,
is doing more than just encouraging her visitors to sign
up, she is bribing them. On the top left corner of her
blog she is offering to design three custom-made online
banners to anyone who completes an offer through her site
and she even says she will help pay for whichever subscription
they choose to sign up with.
Hypothetically, yes, it would it be easier to buy
an iPod, admits Sundy. But, if you're strapped
for cash, as I am now, then this can still be worth the
Bernie Wilt, from Oregon is also using his blog, Bernie
Online at ebernie.com to advertise his iPod referral link.
This technique is encouraged by Gratis Network on their
tips on referring page.
Wilt went an extra step though by writing an article on
his blog, critiquing the service, but he adds that the
program is, not too hard to do, but perhaps a little
more for me because I am not aggressive or pushy.
Wilt just finished the free iPod process and will be getting
his iPod soon so he can play his music while working out
at the gym. He says.
The freeipods.com service is organized by the Gratis Network,
an online marketing company, based in Washington DC, which
claims to ship on average about 500 free iPods each week.
Their site has sparked similar webpages designed around
the same premise, including freeflatscreens.com, freevideogames.com,
freedvds.com and even freecondoms.com. There are also
prizes geared to those less technology minded. Now you
can earn credits towards a real Prada purse and other
fashionable prizes at freegiftplanet.com and freehandbags.com
Gratiss founders, Peter Martin and Rob Jewell, both
28, of course did not come up with the idea of giving
away free gifts with purchase, but instead of a mousepad
or coffee mug they give out a product that is part of
a cultural phenomenon.
I think it's an ingenious marketing program,
says Yan. Now almost everyone in the city has one,
and many of which, got it for free through freeipods.com.
Gratis pays for the different items by charging advertisers
for banners and text links on their site. For each new
customer lead, Gratis is paid an average of $40-60 from
their sponsors. In 2004, Gratis was named the 95th fastest
growing company in America by Inc.Magazine with estimated
annual revenue of $4.9 million.
For Manhattan East Side resident and Graphic Designer,
Russ Yusupov, 20, it only took him four days to earn a
20G iPod. Yusupov says that the site may not be for everyone
and that it could take others more time to finish the
I would recommend this program to anyone who's willing
to spend a bit of time filling out web forms, dealing
with non-believers and suffering through the long response
time from the team who runs the program.
About the Author
Tara is currently going for her masters degree in journalism
at NYU and working in PR. She freelances articles for
tri-state publications and writes a daily blog, When Tara
Met Blog www.tarametblog.com