GNet.com’s $100,000,000 Publicity Stunt: Why No One Will Win

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:

  1. Now that this is out, please be more open with your visitors about their chances of winning
  2. 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.

Dash unveils new Dash Express GPS unit

Dash, a GPS company with an eye on connectivity has updated their hardware and software for the beta testers. The product should be ready for shipping some time early 2008. The updated model includes a bigger screen, better speaker, and increased battery life. Here’s the new design, pretty slick…

Dash Express Angle

What sets the dash apart from the other GPS units on the market is connectivity, it has a built in Wi-Fi and cellular for two way connectivity. Dash automatically updates software and will let you know if there are traffic jams or just slow downs by tracking other Dash users locations and speeds. All this data from all Dash users is stored, minus any identifying characteristics, and is used to help you find the fastest way to where you are going based on both current and historical traffic patterns, you’re not going to get that with any other GPS unit on the market. Add integration with Yahoo! search and the ability for you or anyone else to instantly send directions to your car over the net and you have an amazing little unit, a little slice of Web 2.0 to carry around with you wherever you go! The estimated price for the Dash Express is going to be around $650 give or take $100. Subscription for the connectivity will be around $15, maybe worth it in a major city but they’ll need to lower prices to get acceptance in large and medium sized cities.

Perfspot.com – Something Old, Nothing New, Very Borrowed, Left me Blue

At first glance, Perfspot.com looks like a souped-up ad for the Iphone. The welcome page has a prominent spot in the center of the viewing area for their “Featured Business,” and as a result, the Iphone is right in your face (as though it wasn’t already). Other than that, you are presented with a list of “Channels,” as well as a selection of featured music, videos, news, and blogs that relate to the current page. The channels are just another excuse for more ads and don’t really present anything different from the main page to grab your attention. Just a lot of nothing as far as I was concerned.

After clicking through the channels for a while, I finally noticed the link for “myPerfLife” and clicked on it. Now I was finally able to understand where the hits were coming from. my PerfLife is an almost picture perfect mySpace clone. As a matter of fact, the individual profile pages were almost cookie cutter copies of a mySpace page (the biggest difference I could notice was the presence of photo albums directly on the profile page rather than on a separate link).

Like mySpace, Perfspot has made sure to market itself as a launching pad for musical acts (are there any bands out there nowadays that don’t have a mySpace presence?). As far as I could tell there’s no option to download mp3s if the artist allows it, but there is an advantage in that bands aren’t limited to only posting four songs (though why would you post the entire album for free if you want people to actually buy it?). The problem was that I couldn’t find any bands of note. Perhaps this was due to the relative infancy of the site, but I can’t believe that’s the real reason.

In all honesty, I can’t see how this site can realistically hope to compete with mySpace as a networking hub. Sure, someone will eventually be able to do that (see Facebook), but they’ll have something original to offer, some new wrinkle that mySpace never considered, and they’ll do it in a way that’s so unique that people will rush to take advantage (and effectively join the bandwagon). Perfspot is just a weak copy of an already established formula, not the next big thing. The only thing it has over mySpace is three friends (Ashley, Rob, and Carmen) for your new account instead of just Tom on mySpace, and that just doesn’t cut it. Given that the majority of the hits come from South America, perhaps Perfspot is being more agressively marketed there, and perhaps it will become a viable product for that region of the world, but in my opinion it’s much ado about nothing. If you’re on mySpace already, don’t waste your time, and if you aren’t already on mySpace- you probably don’t care about a site like this anyway.

7 Simple Steps to Lower Taxes

I’ve been thinking more and more about running the Knetwork as a business. There should be some pretty large advantages especially right now where I’m not making a profit and keep buying more and more domain names (I bought another one last week so watch out). I see two main ways to run the sites, the first is as a “hobby” which has it’s own set of tax rules, the second is a business of some sort. I’ll write more on this later.

To get a better grasp on taxes and tax savings in general I borrowed a book written by Stephen Fishman titled “Lower Taxes in 7 Easy Steps” and it’s something that I would suggest to anyone not just someone wanting to start a business. I’m sure that, like me, you’re already following some of these steps but there may be some things that you can do better or start doing that will really help out your bottom line and inflate that rebate check. Here are Fishman’s 7 Steps:

  1. Maximize Tax-Free Income – This includes home sales, retirement and college savings accounts, and health savings accounts.
  2. Take Advantage of Tax Credits
  3. Defer Taxes
  4. Maximize Your Tax Deductions
  5. Reduce your tax rate
  6. Shift Income to Others
  7. Take Advantage of Your Filing Status and Tax Exemptions

Some of the information is redundant and some only helpful in certain situations but it’s a good read, an amazing read for a book about taxes, so check it out.

I got my Paranoia a toy!

With recent world events and the general paranoia that comes with being a new parents, we were worried about how we might escape from our cars if we were to ever get trapped in them. A little searching revealed that makers of the first Life Hammer are now making a key chain version called the ResQMe.  I ordered a two pack and they have just arrived.  If you click that link you can see that it’s a small, tubular plastic device with a blade for slicing through seat belts and an enclosed spring mounted steel spike for breaking windows.  The blade is semi-exposed and THERE’S A SPRING MOUNTED STEEL SPIKE so there’s no way I’m putting this thing on my keys and then putting them in my pocket, but it’ll be good to have in the car.  The blade looks fine for cutting seat belts but I had my doubts about the spike so I decided to to a test… (more…)