Sunday, 06 March 2005

People reading this weblog in HTML format can see the banner ad above for a Mac Mini, which is linked to my affiliate registration page on Gratis Network's web site. There they present an offer to sign up for a referral account, the end result of which is to get a free Mac Mini. In other words, spread the word and get some people to sign up and you get a free machine. Each participant has to complete a marketing offer of their choice.

I know this is such a shameful, terrible thing for me to do, placing an ad on my web site and hoping people will actually click on it, that some of those will sign up for the program and choose one marketing offer from the several presented, and that ten people will actually complete one of the offers (and then do the same thing if they choose, so they can get a free Mac mini, too).

But hey, it's as much an experiment as it is a desire to get the computer. And besides, a few of the offers interested me even without the carrot of a free computer.

And I am doing this passively - I blogged about it when I first set it up, and since then it's just been an ad up there on the web page. Anyhow, being a bit of a sceptic, I thought it would be interesting to watch, and I figured I'd catalog some of my experience thus far here.

First of all, my weblog is definitely not geared toward Macs or Apple. I just don't write much about them. Not that I have anything against the Apple products - quite the contrary, in fact. I have been considering a Powerbook or Mac purchase for some time now. I won't ever switch from the PC, but adding it to my lineup of computers would not be a bad thing. At any rate, the people who visit this site are not coming here looking for Mac info or computers, for the most part.

That said, a number of people have signed up for the offer, many have not completed the whole marketing thing, and six of you out there are logged as having signed up, completed an offer, and it's showing credit for doing so. I know of at least one person who has done all that and does not show up as receiving credit for his activity, which is too bad. It's been a few weeks, too. It should work better than that, but glitches do happen - and there is a way to let the service kbow if you don't get your credit.

So, with six people having completed the process in the past month or so, that means four more will need to complete one of the marketing offers before I will receive the computer.

I have some thoughts about the whole process, and the offers presented. Here they are in no particular order:

  • People tend to be leery of "free" offers and marketing madness (myself included), but since I actually know a couple people who received free iPods and flat-screen computer monitors by participating in Gratis' programs, I have some confidence. Plus, TechTV lends some credibility (wow that's oxymoronic, but you get the point) in this video segment.
  • The survey thing when you first sign up is a little annoying because they don't make it clear it's not part of the core offer (they ask you a bunch of questions marked "optional" and you can skip them if you want, or just wait for the email to show up that gives you a confirmation link that bypasses the survey stuff - it only takes a minute or so). I get the reasons for it (this is, after all 100% marketing), and it looks like they have made some improvements, but still... You can skip it and click your email link to continue.
  • There are some cool offers on there, but the ones that enticed me the most were available earlier on in the campaign. I signed up for Blockbuster Online, and I am really enjoying that, but I don't see it available there anymore. I think eFax is a great service for people who need to send and receive FAXes and don't have or don't want to deal with the paper machine - it's all electronic and portable. There's a 30-day free trial of on there now, and I am tempted to sign up for that one myself, it's a cool service that I could actually use.
  • I have not actually heard of anyone receiving a free Mac Mini yet - anyone gotten that far along yet?

So, if you're interested in doing the same thing, or if you're in the market for an eFax or account and want to use their trial offers, or if you're just curious, click the banner and help a guy out.

I'll post more if/when I actually get the computer.

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Sunday, 06 March 2005 11:49:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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