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“Hypothetically, yes, it would it be easier to buy an iPod,” admits Sundy. “But, if you're strapped for cash, as I am now, then this can still be worth effort.”
Bernie Wilt, from Oregon is also using his blog, Bernie Online at ebernie.com to advertise his iPod referral link. This technique is encouraged by Gratis Network on their “tips on referring” page.
Wilt went an extra step though by writing an article on his blog, critiquing service, but he adds that program is, “not too hard to do, but perhaps a little more for me because I am not aggressive or pushy.”
Wilt just finished free iPod process and will be getting his iPod soon so he can play his music while working out at gym. He says.
The freeipods.com service is organized by Gratis Network, an online marketing company, based in Washington DC, which claims to ship on average about 500 free iPods each week.
Their site has sparked similar webpages designed around same premise, including freeflatscreens.com, freevideogames.com, freedvds.com and even freecondoms.com. There are also prizes geared to those less technology minded. Now you can earn credits towards a real Prada purse and other fashionable prizes at freegiftplanet.com and freehandbags.com
Gratis’s founders, Peter Martin and Rob Jewell, both 28, of course did not come up with idea of giving away free gifts with purchase, but instead of a mousepad or coffee mug they give out a product that is part of a cultural phenomenon.
“I think it's an ingenious marketing program,” says Yan. “Now almost everyone in city has one, and many of which, got it for free through freeipods.com.”
Gratis pays for different items by charging advertisers for banners and text links on their site. For each new customer lead, Gratis is paid an average of $40-60 from their sponsors. In 2004, Gratis was named 95th fastest growing company in America by Inc.Magazine with estimated annual revenue of $4.9 million.
For Manhattan East Side resident and Graphic Designer, Russ Yusupov, 20, it only took him four days to earn a 20G iPod. Yusupov says that site may not be for everyone and that it could take others more time to finish process.
“I would recommend this program to anyone who's willing to spend a bit of time filling out web forms, dealing with non-believers and suffering through long response time from team who runs program.”
Tara is currently going for her masters degree in journalism at NYU and working in PR. She freelances articles for tri-state publications and writes a daily blog, When Tara Met Blog www.tarametblog.com