Wednesday, April 01, 2009

An atomic April with freebies in the news, Brandarama creating a DIY madhouse, new links, and more!

Happy Easter everyone!

We have much to talk about... Brandarama audits and new terms, freebie companies in the news, and new links! I am outraged by Brandarama, and will give a summary on the current events. Grab a drink, recline, and read on!

Grab these Easter basket promos on A4F! :bunny:

*Hot New Networks*

CashYowza-- Get ready for excitement! This new network is brimming with goodies this month; free greens, 10% increased payouts, $100.00 raffle, and more! How can you refuse?

Friends & Freebies-- 10% bonuses on every cash out and free greens. Get 'em while you can!

Freebies4me-- Special Payouts on ALL sites, including Offers4me which is $160 for 3 referrals! No limitations, but they expire on 4/30/2009.

Online we read complaints from members on freebie sites. However, what are our reactions when we hear freebies criticized on television? That "shock" and "awe" feeling stems from freebies visiting a visual world, our t.v.s, when it's always been in the virtual world. We tune in to the visual world to understand the subject matter of the episode. Weeks ago I saw a video kinneylamb posted in A4F's news section. A man wasn't paid by Brandarama, which incited him to go on the news. Considering the waiting period of 1-2 years, I get his boldness, especially if he's never followed forums to gather current info, and only reads complaints. I'll assume he never has, but I noticed some forum users go so far as to execute lawsuits. This may bring discreditability to them being on public display. Anyone can dig up grievances on these networks via the web, but it must be sought. With television, it comes to us.

Link to the Brandarama video and news report:

Check out this Freepay video. DIY networks aren't the only one's exposed!

Even the local news:

Gratis Internet wasn't vilified in these videos, but those videos exist! It's important to not believe everything you hear or read. Some things are true. But for the X amount of negative reportings, there are just as many positive ones.

Take this forum for example:

It's sources like these that deter people from legitimate networks. The first poster says, "EX, this is a huge scam! It has even been on the news. If you see this, you should not even open it." See the point I made earlier about television? We don't search for it, it comes to us. I am not saying it can't easily be found on the internet because it can. The majority of people who discovered freebies on the news aren't internet savvy, or never stumbled upon it. They were misinformed, and ruined it for others via word-of-mouth. Aside from networks losing business, it sullies their reputation. What about networks that aren't proven legit? They are rarely talked about, if at all. One of the companies I mentioned is the famed Brandarama knock-off. I need to remember their name instead of calling them that, lol. Their sites now have contact boxes and a telephone number! They were advertised on the radio, too. Someone claimed they never got paid after doing everything by the book... Unless they further prove themselves, I'm still staying away. If there's anything I hate more it's telling someone they've been had. I will watch this company for any changes.
Let's discuss how to conduct healthy search results, shall we? It can make all the difference. If you want to investigate a "scam site", as some of you put it, open Google ( In the search bar type in "producttestpanel", not "producttestpanel scam." If you type in the name of a network complaint sites/forums will still appear, just not as many. All the words you put in the query will be used. Keep it as simple as possible; "producttestpanel free laptop", "producttestpanel laptop", "free 500 gift card", etc. Ignore negative sources by seeking the positive one's that are revealed. Gather as much information to see if the questionable network has shipped before, learning their past and present history. Knowing their timeline is beneficial so you learn if they are good in the moment, and note the events that led to their current status. If your search is empty, leave it alone. Chances are if the network isn't talked about nobody's doing them, and there is a reason for that. That's sufficient. If anything else comes to mind this will be updated.

It will be interesting to see the sum of news reports-- I'll be watching them all! I'm really excited about freebies in general this year. Not because of my $4,500.00 Brandarama check, but that's a start. It feels like new happenings are taking place. Trainn sites and other referral-based networks, and DIYs on the rise! If we all work together in unison much can be accomplished. The world of freebies is ever-changing; if I can offer insight on the highs and lows of the freebie industry, notably DIY networks, that's grand! It's hard to be optimistic though. Read on.

Marching back into the Brandarama/Mpell parade... The blogging on them is constant, but we must trudge through it. I wouldn't be writing about it unless it wasn't important. I want to address the new terms. Yes, that's right, "new terms." I hate this because I must commit the new terms to memory as well remember the old terms, and how they effected them before. It's a new chapter. *turning the DIY textbook page* lol. It's like Nuitech, but not as bad. You must keep all, but a select number of offers for 30 days. Meaning you must remain a member with those sponsors for 30 days with the exception of cancelling a specific total as shown in the chart below.

If I did a 0-3 offer site I can't cancel offers. If I did a site 4-5 offer site I may cancel 1 offer and so on so forth. Keeping the offer 30 days beats 60 days any day of the week, which is what Nuitech required. All offers must be completed within 90 days, not 180 like before; 3 months in lieu of 6. All requirements must be satisfied, including mailing in your documentation within 90 days of the sign-up date. This new procedure is intact to extinguish countless offer cancellations. It may prove fruitful for the future of Brandarama. We don't like it, but it's tolerable.

Read their T&C for further info:

Mpell. People received checks, but they came from Brandarama. The rest of us to get our payments early to mid April, the scheduled date, will receive them from Mpell. All certificates will be paid on one check, and the checks are shipping regular mail. Proceed with caution as you do NOT want to discard your check by mistake! Now for the discouraging news... Unbeknownst to Mpell, Brandarama shipped audit letters to members for various reasons.

The letter:

"To you

Re : Suspension of Gift Programs

Dear you,

In order to provide exceptional service to our customers, we periodically audit compliance with the terms and conditions of the various gift programs we administer. Please be advised that we have conducted an audit of your participation with Brandarama, YourTopBrands, or other of our Gift Programs. ("Programs"). The results of such audit suggest that your actions may have violated the terms of the Programs and constitute an attempt to defraud or otherwise mislead us so that you may receive, or have received, monetary compensation or gifts to which you would not otherwise be entitled to under the terms of the Programs.

Our investigation had revealed that the terms of the Program have been violated, in that you completed the same sponsor offer multiple times under different email accounts. Please see the attached account summary as evidence of your violation(s).

If you beleive that the result of our audit is in error, please provide a written response to within 10 days of the date of this notice explaining in detail why you beleive that the results summarized above are inaccurate, so that we can make a final determination as to whether the terms of the Programs have, in fact, been violated. Please note that your participation in the Programs, to include all accounts referenced in the attached account summary, has been temporarily suspended.

Please be advised that if you fail to respond within the time period set forth above, all of your accounts in all Programs shall be terminated, not subject to reinstatement under any circumstances, and that you are not eligible for any future rewards that you may otherwise be entitled to under the Programs. In addition, your violation MAY result in the forfeiture of any monetary compensation or gifts you may have already received. In such event, we reserve the right to take such necessary legal action againest you in order to reclaim any compensation and/or gifts you obtained in violation of the Programs.


Active Response Group, Inc
Legal Department"

I have a problem with that. If they want to crack down on frauders, fine. But don't make EVERYONE spend money on expensive gifts they don't need, and will probably return later. Here is an example of where my mind is.

At the inpour of documention to their office it went like this:

Guy #1, "Hey! There's more than we expected... Mpell received tons of certificates. *scratches head* Let's think up new ways to disqualify people!"

Guy #2, "*masticating doughnut; unintelligible* Disqual...ify? *munch munch*"

Guy #1, "Yes, and for theatrical effect we'll throw in new rules, even though they weren't in the old terms. I'm thinking multiple e-mail addresses. How are you doing over there? Got anything?"

Guy #3, "I'm workin' on it, eh. Why not send them audit letters, even those who've been loyal?"

Guy #1, "Great thinking, Guy #3! I love it when a plan comes together. *imitating Hannibal from the A-Team*"

I want to point out this isn't directed at the customer service team at Brandarama, there are other people there as well. They don't like it anymore than we do. Back on track... So the reasons for these audits are for those who duplicated offers, same household, and mulitple e-mails. Repeating offers is wrong, so I understand that. Moving forward, it was confirmed by CS when someone asked, "What is your policy on multiple residents from the same household doing your sites? Can someone else that lives here do the same gifts that I did?" Their response, "Any member of you household can sign up for the same gifts as you have, they just need to use a different email address to sign up." E-mails seem to be the main concern. Many members, myself included, used a different e-mail per domain. Avoiding a steady flow of spam hitting my main e-mail address, I used several. I also read the old T&C thoroughly, and found nothing about multiple e-mails. I can see it if someone used multiple e-mails on the same domain, but yeah. Not everyone who had multiple domains received the letter, I guess there's more to it. I don't know. Thankfully, I haven't received the LOD (Letter of Doom) yet; if I do, all untrue claims in it will be repudiated. I followed the rules. It's one thing to DQ somebody for breaking them, but if they haven't where is the justice? All DIY networks are merciless, let this be proof of that. At the sight of valid paperwork hitting their desks they went bananas. More DQing, less checks in the mail.

Brandarama's former T&C:

Their merge with Transtech also fell apart, and that didn't help. Which brings me to Mpell. They weren't privy on this knowledge. Since they approved people could they be in hot water as well if anyone took legal action? If so, I feel for them. Nothing about this is fair. Although I did not receive a letter, I'm bothered by the fact they approved us then took these measures. I considered doing Brandarama again despite the 30-day change in their new T&C, but if they're struggling like this with finances I'd rather not. It would only mean more waiting, stricter rules, and a higher DQ rate before a possible demise. Sure, their T&C is tighter, but who knows what else will happen? I don't care to find out, personally. I will report it here, but I'm taking a vacation from Brandarama-- possibly for good. It's bittersweet. While it's sad to leave them behind, I have good memories. The first gift they shipped me 4 years ago was a $100.00 Walgreens gift card. *sniff sniff!!* Pulling out the tissue for this one. j.k I exclaimed, "So cool!! I'm using it today." I returned that Saturday night with enough toothpaste and tissue to fill a wagon. It was the end of September, too, so I bought Halloween candy and decorated my house, haha. Ah well. You have to work a little harder sometimes to get what you want, that's fine by me. The ride was wobbly, but still a joy. It's easy to forget the good moments when you're dealing with these matters.

I hope those who respond to the audits get some relief. I guess I'm OK. I remain letterless, and my domains are working fine. Some had problems logging in to their accounts, and received responses stating they were ineligible for their gift(s). By Friday if I'm still without a letter I should be good to go. :sweatdrop:

An Easter egg hunt filled with treats awaits! Each egg holds a new link!

*links 'n such*




















I-Deal-- - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 Visa - 8 offers, no refs/XBox elite + Rock Band 2 bundle - 12 offers, 2 refs/$1,500.00 Visa - 8 offers, no refs/Wii + Wii fit bundle - 10 offers, 1 ref/designer purse and wallet - 6 offers, no refs/T-Mobile G1 - 6 offers, no refs/$250.00 Visa - 6 offers, no refs/16 gb ipod nano - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 Chili's or Applebees gc - 12 offers, 2 refs/$1,000.00 JcPenney gc - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 Hard Rock Cafe gc - 8 offers, no refs/#500.00 Visa - 8 offers, no refs/Wii bundle - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 Visa - 8 offers, noi refs/$500.00 Subway or Quiznos gc - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 McDonald's gc - 8 offers, no refs/iPhone 3G - 12 offers, 2 refs/plasma t.v - 8 offers, no refs/glasses + $150.00 Visa - 6 offers, no refs/$250.00 Visa - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 Visa + t-shirt - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 Visa + t-shirt - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 gc of your choice - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 drugstore gc of your choice - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 gc of your choice - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 gc of your choice - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 drugstore gc of your choice - 12 offers, 2 refs/Macbook Air + iPhone 3G - 6 offers, no refs/Nintendo DSi

[url=""][/url] - 10 offers, 1 ref/sneakers + gift (laptop, game console, mp3 players, cell phones)

[url=""][/url] - 12 offers, 2 refs/exercise equipment

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 Toys R Us or KB Toys gc

[url=""][/url] - 12 offers, 2 refs/$1,200.00 check

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/coloured iPhone 3G

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/$250.00 FootAction or Finish Line + sneakers

[url=""][/url] - 12 offers, 2 refs/$1,000.00 Visa

[url=""][/url] - 10 offers, 2 referrals/golf clubs

[url=""][/url] - 12 offers, 2 referrals/camera

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 Best Buy or Radio Shack gc

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00/$500.00 JcPenney gc

[url=""][/url] - 6 offers, 1 ref/$500 Airfare voucher

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 Visa

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/cell phone

[url=""][/url] - 12 offers, 2 refs/laptop

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/gas card of your choice

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/iPhone 3G

[url=""][/url] - 6 offers, no refs/$250.00 Dunkin Donuts gc

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 gc of your choice

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 gc of your choice

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 gc of your choice

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/$500.00 gc of your choice

[url=""][/url] - 12 offers, 2 refs/Whirlpool washer and dryer

[url=""][/url] - 6 offers, no refs/Special K products

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/green iPhone 3G

[url=""][/url] - 12 offers, 2 refs/$500.00 Visa + designer purse

[url=""][/url] - 10 offers, 1 ref/gym set

[url=""][/url] - 10 offers, 1 ref/$750.00 check

[url=""][/url] - 12 offers, 2 refs/laptop

[url=""][/url] - 8 offers, no refs/$700.00 Visa

Unfortunately, April is off to a tumultuous start. *sigh* kinneylamb, we could really use that Brandarama song right now! If you don't grasp that, kinneylamb and I have a tune for Brandarama. It's been onerous, but we can use all the song we get! ;)

"The Official Brandarama Song"

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don't let show

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'd understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Lean on me...

On that note (pun intended), I'm closing this entry. I hope this finds you well, and I will return with more! Maybe we can absolve ourselves and be rewarded. 2 years is long enough...


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