A Free Offer Site with A Surprise Ending
IGGs “Mini Me” Site
We investigated the Free Wal-Mart Gift Card offer by our friends at Internet Giveaway Group (IGG) out of Canada. We found it to be one of the shortest FO sites we’ve come across in a while and, at the end, we'll tell you why we think this is so.
Here's what we found in our research:
After registering, we noted there were about a dozen pages of optional surveys before we reached the first of the “money pages.” We found that participation requirements to qualify for the Wal-Mart Gift Card were the usual 2-2-9 over the Silver/Gold/Platinum pages. But, guess what, the platinum page only had 13 offer banners from which to choose. In fact, there were only 46 banners on all three pages! Quite unusual, but, as we said, we’ll talk about that when we get down to the end.
Starting Silver Cheaply
We started off looking for the cheapest way to complete two offers on the Silver page, but found only one free offer —-the free 25-download trial at the eMusic ad banner. After eMusic, our second selection would have to be made from the three next-cheapest offers, $2.87 S&H for either the Government Grant CDs from Grant Funding Source or the Seller’s Lounge eBay system, or the Slim Splash weight loss program. As with all risk free trial (RFT) offers, each of these carried an associated monthly membership fee. Looking ahead, we decided to take one of the latter two offers, since the Grant Funding Source again shows up on the Gold page and we'll need to select it there.
Simply Second Gold
So, $2.87 S&H got us to the Gold page where we needed to complete two more offers. We saw a $1 intro price on Deal Max $25 gift card and another $2.87 for the Grant CD kit as we mentioned earlier. Always remember to read the Terms and Conditions on every FO site you visit, because some will disqualify you if you cancel the vendor’s agreement within a certain amount of time...even if you wait until after the trial period ends.
Platinum: Squeezing Down To Third Base
OK. So, let’s TIVO our actions so far. We’ve had to spend just under $7 for shipping and handling in order to get us to the Platinum page, the last of the three ad/offer pages. Again, we need to complete nine of the thirteen offers we see here. But, when we got to this page, we found an interesting wrinkle that’s not usually part of the typical FO site. Out of the 13 Platinum ad/offer banners, only three of them were RFT offers.
In other words, 10 of the offers were straight subscriptions (such as a Lifelock enrollment) or an outright sale, such as a one-time charge for a work-at-home system, etc. This means over three-quarters of the ad/offers on this page are Non-RFTs. Generally, Non-RFT offers make up less than a third of a typical FO page.
Tough To Keep It Cheap
So, even if we took the 3 available risk free trial offers (Video Professor, Seattle Coffee, and Ivory White teeth brightener) we’d still need to take six of the remaining 10 straight subscription/sale offers. That will really balloon our costs to get qualified for our Wal-Mart Gift Card. We found that the three RFTs will cost us $37.90 in shipping and handling charges. Then, there was a free application for a Discover Card but, in order to complete it to gain the requirement toward our gift card, our credit app must be approved, we'll need to activate the card after receiving it, then we'll have to make some kind of a purchase on it. That would certainly eat up a chunk of time, and, of course, the amount we charged would be open ended--presumably small, but an unknown amount at this point. So, in effect, we only had 12 offers from which we really wanted to choose.
Proverbial bottom line: the cheapest six offers turned out to be four monthly subscriptions totaling $58.85 and and two outright sales totaling $69.95.
This means we got completely through all three FO pages for about $136 total immediate outlay in order to get us eligible for our $1000 Wal-Mart Gift Card. Plus, there were, again, monthly memberships that came along with some of the accepted offers, so be aware of those if you decide to work this offer.
A Fourteenth Choice To Lower The Average?
Alright now, do you feel $136+ is just a little too steep for a gift card that was described as "free"? Well, hang on a second. Our friends at IGG may have thought the same thing, and, to sweeten the pot, they have included another “bonus page” of a dozen more ad/offers. Wait, before you run screaming into the night from registration fatigue, understand that if you select just ONE of these bonus offers, you can get another incentive item.
And, looking at the FO site we reviewed, these bonus incentives included laptops, a large screen plasma TV, or another high-value gift card. Just for completing ONE more offer from selections comparable to those we had seen earlier on our main offer pages. A couple were the same, but there were plenty of new and different ones to choose from. The only thing we had to decide was if it was worth incurring another S&H charge to get a second incentive gift. There didn't seem to be any downside to making a 14th selection.
Mini-Me Bonus Surprise
Remember, we're calling this review “IGGs Mini Me” since we found an un-typically small number of ad/offers. But, this may have been because following their extra bonus page, we found an entire “second tier” of offer pages by other FO companies. In the site we reviewed, there were another half dozen or so full fledged Free-Offer sites, each presenting upwards of 120 ad/offer banners from which to select. It appeared as if they were piggy-backing off IGGs original site-—likely for a fee—-but certainly to share overhead costs among various participating marketers. We're not sure, but this may be why the IGG offer pages were so short. If this is what they're doing, in fact, (i.e., sharing costs or charging piggy-backing fees) it makes for an interesting concept from a strictly business point of view.
Is This Any Way To Run A Free Offer?
What do you think? If you choose to visit this IGG site, by clicking here, we’d like to get your insights about what you find. We’d welcome your blog inputs on what you thought about those “back end” bonus offers. Or, if you'd rather email us, please do so here. Let us hear from you.
Here’s wishing you the Best of Bargains,
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