It's been over a week since my last blog, so let's begin. Many of you apprehend the delay with Brandarama, but for those who don't I'll explain the inaction in the prize fulfillment department as well as discuss Adteractive sites, and my disdain for ripoffreport.com.
Okay, Brandarama offers the best payout ratio, which is why I like them. However, since December their shipping schedule has went downhill. People used to receive their prizes in the mail 4-5 months max, now it's risen to 8 to 10+ months per gift. Merchant gift cards ship faster, within 8 or 9 months, but it's the Visas that defer shipping. Right now they're substituting American Express gift cards on an unperceived number of Visas to hasten the process; I encourage more of this! I'm a patient person, but I feel that if they can find a way to accelerate shipment, then other gifts will dispatch faster. There's been much debate about the AmEx gcs, and how well they function; you cannot use them at an ATM, and of course, some merchants only accept Visa or Mastercard. Most people are exhalting this change whereas others are not because it isn't what they "signed up for", which I understand, but if I'm fortunate to receive that lucky e-mail asking if I want the Visa after waiting 10 months or the AmEx, which is quicker, I choose the latter. I am just thrilled to get something, I don't care what it is, lol. Paying $18.00 for 4 offers, and reaping 1K profit is not too shabby. Granted there are taxes on gifts $600.00+, even all I-Deal gifts require taxes, but they fall within the 25-30% range. Gambling aside, what other hobby can one partake in and earn this kind of money? And you can't really complain either because it's free, right? Sure, you pay for sponsor offers, but you get to test cool products meanwhile waiting to be rewarded. To expect to grow flowers without sowing any seeds is folly.
So this is where we are at, "All VISAs are being processed right now, but our vendors only allow us to take out so many at a time, so it could be a few more weeks to a month." That's straight from CS. They have been stuck on the July list for months on end. I think what slowed them down was during the 4 offer/Visa deal last summer everyone lunged at it now there's an influx of orders to fulfill. Even though the sponsors pay them for listing their offers on their site(s), if you're offering a 4 offer/$1,000.00 payout with myriads of people doing that same low-offer site, you aren't making out very well. Less offers members do, the more profitability dwindles, and paying each member 1K in return. The only positive I see is when more people complete the site, they gain more business. Enticement is a good venture, I guess, lol. But does that outweigh offering such a high payout/less offers to members? Which bears more fruit? Allurement, or thriving off the actual offers themselves? It's hard to say since not many offers were done, yet they're paying so much, and herds of people were charmed by 4 offers.
I am not saying Brandarama cannot provide payment because I don't know their financial status. In April I received a $500.00 Sears gc from them, and they have been meting out other gifts, some $1000.00 gcs even. I feel if the company ever plummeted, they would be unresponsive, and of course nobody would be receiving gcs in the mail. Being CTS (Confirmed to Ship) since August, I'm hopeful mine will arrive in 1-2 months. When it does I'll give updates in this blog. For those reading, if you feel I'm in error with my prolix topic on Brandarama, chime in, I want your feedback! Or if you agree with me, that's fine, too, lol. I know it's a lot to digest, believe me it was tedious on my fingertips, but if you don't weather the storm you'll never see the sunshine. ;)
How many of you discover a DIY that you just don't recognize? You say to yourself, "Gee, this looks fantastic! But I don't know this company at all. How do I find factual information before I seek out them out?" Well if you are uncertain, or it doesn't feel secure, follow your first instinct. The smartest way to go is by researching and read, read, read all the details! You may stumble across a goldmine, which often leads to a "diamond in the rough" so to speak. Arm every bit of information, you will need this later. Excess every single search engine page, collecting as much as you can, and paste the links into Notepad or simply bookmark the pages; I paste my findings in Notepad instead of sifting through layers of pages to relocate links, it's a real time saver. Here is what to look for (on the site): a way to check status, contact info, the layout, etc. If there is no way to check status or contact them chances are it's a knock off of another network, and is not legit. Leave it be. Next, observe the layout well. Do you notice anything? Does it have characteristics of a well known company that has actually shipped gifts? If not, stop at mid-point, and move to the bottom of both their T&C (terms and conditions), and/or policy; the answer can usually be found in the T&C. There will be an address associated with the company. Highlight it. Open www.google.com, and search that address. See if there are any places where users have shared their personal experiences with this company, or their sites. Forums are the best for this sort of thing since people are discussing these companies collectively. You shouldn't believe everything you hear on forums, but you can gather information on how a specific company is doing presently. One site I cannot stand is ripoffreport.com. I have gotten a flood of PMs from people linking me to ripoffreport.com, asking why these companies have complaints. ALL networks are going to have at least one complaint against them if not hundreds more. The reason for this is many people weren't successful with their site(s), they got DQed/put on hold, then, surprise! Complaints. So it's not that these networks are unlawful, it's the people who are at fault. Not to say I-Deal hasn't ever swindled people out of $$$, or to claim all freebie companies are infallible... I'm saying that you shouldn't let one person's misfortune override your decisions when choosing a site, notably ripoffreport.com.
Okay, let's jump into Adteractive... Visit each link below first.
I know these aren't good deals, but it's important to familiarize yourself with these companies so you are able to separate the good from the bad. Knowing a company's timeline from past to present is conducive to making wise choices. Just remember, DIY networks are as capricious as they come; one day they're lowballing members, the next they're offering you a rainbow with a pot of gold, lol. Any chance a network gets to DQ someone they will, but if you play by the rules that should not be a problem. This is an instrumental paragraph, so please keep it in mind with any network you consider as it may be helpful to recall later on. :)
Adteractive is an internet advertising company, and they maintain a host of sites offering physical gifts such as televisions and laptops. Proceed with caution as reported that some members had to take legal action. One individual, after turning in his paperwork, did not receive his plasma until 6 months later. During this time he resorted to scathing letters, phone calls, e-mails and faxes. Adteractive also was in turmoil regarding a settlement with the FTC for the reason below.
"The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with Adteractive Inc., an online advertising company, for its alleged use of "deceptive" spam e-mails and online advertising to draw people to its Web sites.
The settlement, filed on behalf of the FTC by the Department of Justice, requires that the San Francisco-based company pay $650,000 in civil penalties.
While doing business as FreeGiftWorld.com and SamplePromotionsGroup.com, Adteractive allegedly sent e-mail spam to consumers advertising free gifts such as flat-screen televisions and laptops.
For example, one e-mail subject line used by the company stated, "Congratulations! Claim Your Choice of Sony, HP or Gateway Laptop," according to the FTC.
However, when consumers went to Adteractive's promotional Web sites, they discovered that these items weren't free, said Stephen Cohen, senior attorney for the FTC.
"Some of the offers that they presented to consumers required consumers to spend money," he said. Others asked visitors to apply for credit cards, qualify for those cards, and use them, he added.
According to the settlement, Adteractive will need to disclose all costs and obligations for any free gifts it may advertise. The company is also barred from sending any e-mail that violates the CAN-SPAM Act.
When reached by phone, Greg Wharton, the general counsel for Adteractive, said the company was "happy" with the settlement. "We've been working co-operatively with [the FTC] since early 2006," he said, adding that Adteractive has already changed its practices.
Wharton said that the decision better clarifies what companies need to do when they use the word "free" in advertising, which is beneficial to Adteractive and to the industry as a whole. Now there is a universal standard for the rest of the industry, he continued.
The FTC started investigating Adteractive Inc. in April 2006, after receiving complaints from consumers, Cohen said. FTC staff had also come across some of the company's advertising. Adteractive agreed to the settlement and a judge signed the order on November 27.
"There is a very large industry that does promotions this way," Cohen said, adding that it is a common practice, and that it would be interesting to see how the settlement will shape future promotions targeted at consumers.
From the December 03, 2007 Issue of DMNews"
"Some of the offers that they presented to consumers required consumers to spend money"
^-- The settlement isn't anything too worrisome as paying for offers is to be expected, lol. But if someone who has never done a freebie, I can see them thinking "Scam." And yeah, if they didn't disclose the costs and obligations up front, that's not so good either. They had to pay $650,000 in penalties, so I'm not sure how much of a dent that made, and if that signaled postponement. If I find out current information on them I will post it here. I haven't been looking as of late.
I'll admit it though. I used to HATE researching when I started because the more I digged the more there was, which meant constant reading and searching for links, details, making comparisions, etc. What kept me going was knowing there had to be some weight to the freebie industry, that it wasn't fake, and people were actually earning awesome prizes for testing out neat products. The first freebie I had ever earned was back in 2002. I collected $200.00 in amazon certificates on a DIY; at this time I didn't know about freebies, but I had unveiled the site while on the hunt for surveys. It wasn't until 4 years later when searching for unique points incentive sites like Memolink and Greenpoints that a freebie forum appeared. Curious, I clicked on it. It harked back the sites I did, so that is when my journey began. I ran into tons of GPT and DIY sites, and that led to much bewilderment. Brandarama were my first back then, and I-Deal and Nuitech followed suit. My first Nuitech experience was muddled, but CS worked with me, haha. Then I got into trading with users on A4F and FiPG. I must say, I love doing this! lol. I am now officially a freebie junkie.
I am willing to bet all my freebie earnings this is my longest blog. Ever. It's hard to keep it succinct when you've got a lot to say, lol. Hey, I haven't blogged in nearly 2 weeks! *making up an excuse* j.k I hope this information finds all of you well, and helps answer some of your questions involving Brandarama. In the next entry we shall discuss consumergain, and perhaps referral-based sites this time! Yay! And as always, if you have any inquiries about the contents of this blog, or just a general question shoot me a PM!
Okay, well this is wozniack reporting from channel 5, and I'm out. j.k lol. See ya next week-- maybe in a few days! :P