If you read any business news online then you may have noticed this press release popping up on several sites last week: Google Search Partner GNET.COM Announces $100 Million Online Contest. That sounds pretty exciting, “Google Search Partner” sounds legitimate, and that’s an excellent domain name. I read the article and checked out the site. That’s when things first started to look a little fishy, surely a site planning on giving away $100,000,000 would have to have more of a game plan than this? A simple page that’s meant to look like Google if Google was more of a portal site than just search, and there are NO ADS! How do you give away that much cash and not have any way to bring in income? And when is this drawing anyway?
A little poking around gave up a few clues as to how GNET.COM was going to make money, the Amazon link has an associates ID and the Google powered search is your basic Google Adsense search that any site running Google ads has. I can attest that those two tools are NOT going to raise $100 million no matter how long you wait to have a drawing, so there’s got to be something else right? I signed up to dig a little deeper.
Signing up is nothing more than entering your e-mail address and the sign up page answers a lot of questions and includes this warm and fuzzy disclaimer:
Your email address is strictly confidential and will never
be disclosed, sold, rented, or passed on to anyone!
You will NOT receive ANY junk email.
So it doesn’t look like they are harvesting e-mail for sale, the date of the drawing is listed as 10/10/10 – 3 years away!, and you need “points” to win. This page also gives us a nice link to the official rules. This was the real gold mine, here we find out that every point you earn is an entry into the drawing and that the prize money is going to be divvied out Publishers Clearinghouse style:
The potential Grand Prize winner will be determined by a random drawing from all eligible entries received to be held at GNET.COM Corporation on October 10, 2010. The winner will be notified by mail, e-mail, or telephone. Then the contestant’s full birthday (month, day, and year) must match the pre-selected birthday which will be sealed in tamper proof envelope(s) ahead of time. If a complete birthday match (month, day, and year) occurs then the contestant will be able to select one of the following payout options without interest:
A) $100,000,000.00 at $100,000.00 for 50 years and a final payment of $95,000,000.00.
B) $40,000,000.00 at $300,000.00 for 40 years and a final payment of $28,000,000.00.
C) $25,000,000.00 at $500,000.00 for 50 years.
D) $15,000,000.00 at $750,000.00 for 20 years.
E) $10,000,000.00 as a lump sum cash payment.
That seemed to solve some of the problem, it looks like they just have to raise just 10% of the money by 10/10/10, but that’s still a HUGE sum to earn from a pretty basic website. Something about what I had just read was bothering me… checking the birthday seemed like a weird way to verify a person’s identity… Wait, I didn’t enter my birthday, just my e-mail.. and does that say “potential Grand Prize winner”?!? AH-HA! Ladies and Gentlemen we have found the catch!
It turns out that if by some chance, you are the lucky winner and your name is selected out of all the other entires then you DO NOT WIN $100,000,000 – you only get the chance to win! To win your birth date must match the exact day, month, and year of a “Pre-Selected” date from a totally undisclosed date range! Good Luck with that one!
WOW! This is a gigantic publicity stunt! Waving $100 Million in prize money around to get people to use a giant Adsense and Amazon Affiliate enabled site, I don’t know if I’m affronted or awestruck by this. It’s very gutsy and very creative and I do have two pieces of advice for the GNET crew:
- Now that this is out, please be more open with your visitors about their chances of winning
- Buy.com has an affiliate program run by Commission Junction, you should look into it for your buy.com link off the home page
P.S. I checked and GKnet.com was taken, oh well… Until next time: This is Google Search Partner KnightKnetwork.com, reminding you to make this your home page and do all your searches from here. You won’t win $100,000,000 for doing it, but you won’t anywhere else either.