Some Free Laptop Sites Are Apparently Not Total Scams

Most of those “fill out these forms and get a free laptop” sites are scams. For one thing, there’s never any “free.” Assuming you wade through all the pages of buttons and entry fields, you’ll invariably find that you have to sign up for some credit cards and charge a certain balance and have the card active for a few months before you get your free stuff. They may also make you sign up other people do the same thing. This guy got a new MacBook pro and it cost him $400. Josh Clark routinely sets up “conga lines” of people working together to get their swag.

Personally, we have better things to do with our lives then try to keep track of reams of asterisks and fine print and set up spreadsheets to make sure we’re navigating everything properly, but others may have a different definitions of “cost effective” and “fun.” We also have a hole in our brain that makes it impossible for us to pay $400 for something that’s “free.”

A Real Life Story About Earning A MacBook Pro For $400 Bucks [MoneyCrashers]
The Free Mac is Back [JoshClark]

Comments

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  1. backbroken says:

    $400? That’s an awful lot of ‘free’.

  2. Geekybiker says:

    Googling for independent verification of this offer gets me nothing. Either this company and offer is incredibly hard to find, or this is a scam.

  3. headon says:

    Free MacbookPro for $400.00 That bears repeating. Free MacbookPro for $400.00 What part of free do you not understand. Here let me help. $400.00 is not free Knucklehead. I hope this helps

  4. Buran says:

    I used to get my FRIENDS begging me to sign up for these things. Repeatedly. After a while I finally told them to shove it or we wouldn’t be friends anymore. I’m your friend, not a shill target for that free ipod you’re too cheap to buy for yourself.

    I hate these sites for things like that. They turn your friends into yet another vector for advertising, where you even get marketed at by people you’ve known for years.

    For this, and many other reasons, I refuse to go for any of these “offers”.

  5. demonradio says:

    The company I used to work for had their websites on these sites. (A diet that originated on a BEACH in the SOUTH..) The ones they used actually worked if you did everything right, but they do depend on people to either get confused or get too frustrated to continue and just want out. With most of the sites I worked on, you were automatically out $20 if you chose one of our websites. It would show up in the systems if you signed up under a rewards program so we could try to get more money out of you and get you to stay.
    A guy in the office got really good at fulfilling all of the criteria to get a free TV or laptop or what have you, and people in the office would give him their credit cards and all sorts of personal info to get the merch for them. Needless to say, he was harboring a nasty crack addiction and stole some people’s info. :) And it was people I don’t like so I kind of chuckled.

  6. Dan-Gilbert says:

    I got my MacBook Pro through one of these sites. It was the Free4Me network. The overall cost was about $300 after completing a few cash sites as well as part of the whole experiment. It took roughly 3 months, lots of phone calls, and lots of canceling offers. Nothing in life is free, but in the end I got a nice laptop for 300 bucks and lots of off-hours work. Not something I would do now, but I was a student at the time and didn’t have the money to buy it outright. The most important step is to cancel your debit/credit card once you’re done so a less-than-scrupulous advertiser can never charge you for that diet pill subscription you “canceled.” In the end, these sites make money of people who never complete them (which is the majority) so they’re able to be legit. Do your homework first, and trade referrals with people online through swap sites, DO NOT bug your friends to sign up.

  7. BethanyW says:

    Just to throw my 2 cents out there in case you’re offering a penny for them- I am signed up on the conga for the Macbook pro on JoshClark.com right now, and I have completed all of the offers that I need for the laptop. We just started last Thursday, and right now I am basically waiting for them to give me the “OK”- I have spent $12, and one of those offers sent me a $20 Exxon gas card. While you may be skeptical as I haven’t actually received the Mac yet, let me also throw out that I am currently awaiting shipment for a 42″ Samsung Plasma TV that cost me $60 in offers. Though I haven’t actually received either of these items, there are people who have (so far two people have received the TV from the conga that I am in- we just started a month ago). Typically these sites take 2 months from when you sign up to when you receive your item. The only “catch” is that for items over $600 you legally have to report the item as a gift/extra income, so my tax return wont be as big as it normally is this year, but that is a small price to pay for all the cool stuff I’m getting.

    Paying $400 (plus tax at the end of the year) for an item that is “free” is not terrible, but it’s certainly not great. Paying $12 (+ tax) and getting $20 in free gas and a $2,000 laptop? You can sign me up any day, as long as Josh gives it the OK.

    “Free” stuff I have got/am waiting on:
    3 Xbox 360 video games (Oblivion, BioShock, & a Guitar Hero 3 bundle)
    16 GB Ipod Touch
    $1,000 Visa Gift Card
    42″ Samsung Plasma TV
    Macbook Pro

    Spent: $120 +/-

  8. VaMPKiSS1 says:

    I actually got a bunch of “free” stuff over the last few years doing the whole affiliate marketing/referral website stuff. Which isn’t to say I didn’t get screwed once or twice, but the final pile of loot I ended up with was pretty cool:

    20GB iPod (back in Dec 2004 when they still had the non-color kind)
    27″ Sony Wega TV
    1GB iPod Shuffle
    Olympus SD350 8MP camera
    Sony PSP
    Cyberpower PC
    $300 gift certificate

    And the absolute best was one that almost did scam me. Their rules were insane and impossible and the customer service was abysmal even though they had a phone number to call (rather unusual). But after something like 8 months from the day I mailed in all the crazy paperwork they wanted for the free laptop I was trying to get, I got a letter in the mail with an apology that they’d run out of stock – and a $1050 check to make it up to me!

    All in all though I did have to spend a total of $342.84 for all of that, between signing up for trial offers and what not. But I think I came out ahead. :) What sucks is that the company I got most of my stuff through has since changed the TOS they run the site by, which makes it essentially impossible to get your prize, so I dropped out of the get stuff free game.

  9. VaMPKiSS1 says:

    I never had to cancel my credit card, but I did keep paperwork proving cancellation and had to be very diligent about that. Also, these kind of things are not for people who hate spam or junk mail, at ALL.

  10. BigNutty says:

    Free no longer means Free in the Internet advertising world on most sites. Why don’t people think?

    Why would a company give you a Free laptop? Because they have a good heart? Why would they want to help you for no reason? How do consumers keep getting scammed with all the information that is available to inform and warn you of these scams?

  11. farsa624 says:

    Hey guys, Josh Clark here.

    I appreciate Timmy’s blog and mention of me, but even $400 is way too much for a MacBook Pro. I got mine a year ago for $98.69, and my girlfriend has one on the way that cost her about 18 bucks.

    I’ve also gotten an iPhone for $5.45 and just two weeks ago, a new 42″ Samsung HDTV for $53.63.

    No, it’s not actually “free,” but it is way way way cheaper than normal.

    Check out my site. I offer lots of advice and tips. It’s not as big of a headache as it sounds.

  12. efolgate says:

    I think the point is that no one ever believes their going to get one of these gifts for “free”. The point is that he paid $400 for a $2000 laptop. It took a little legwork, but if you really want something that bad and don’t have the cash to shell out, it’s a viable option. It’s just good to know that these companies actually follow through with their claim that they’ll send you the gift if you complete the specified amount of offers.

  13. saltmine says:

    @Geekybiker: I couldn’t find it either. Anyone know who this Josh Clark guy is? He keeps referring to the website but doesn’t link to it, and there’s nothing on Google about it.

  14. dasunst3r says:

    I remember the flood of posts on the forums I make my rounds advertising these pyramid schemes. I tell them that the ability for me to keep my personal data private is worth significantly more than even a $ 2,000 laptop and report them to the moderators as spam regardless of their post count.

  15. niteflytes says:

    I did this for a iBook G4 12″ about a year ago. I spent under $100 and by the time I’d jumped through all the hoops the iBook G4 was obsolete so I got a check for $900. It does take a lot of persistance and good record keeping. Instead of using a credit or debit card to sign up for offers I bought VISA gift cards and used them so they couldn’t keep charging me for stuff after I’d cancelled. And yes, there were some that tried to keep charging the cards. It was amusing to log in to my gift card balance and watch as some of theses places sent the same charge daily or more often and get denied over and over again.

  16. Nextlevel says:

    Check out referralswapper.com, anything4free.com, freeipodguide.com, all good sites to talk to others, trade referrals, read reviews on other sites, learn about the companies that run each site(ideal, and others own numerous sites) join conga lines, get paid to do sites, pay others, etc…

    I have finished many freesites, and have made alot of money and “free” stuff (3 42″ plasma tvs, ipods, psp, 360’s, wii, ps3 ibook, macmini, etc,etc.etc.), check out the success forum at referralswapper and search for posts I have made.
    (Pics too)

  17. beccamanns_theotherwhitemeat says:

    jesus….$400!!! if the clown knew what he was doing, he could have got it for less than $100.

    nextlevel is right, check the sites he mentioned (i’m a member of a
    couple of those). TONS of posts from people who have received
    high-dollar items for a fraction of the cost.

  18. Bearxor says:

    I used Josh’s site earlier this year JUST before the old MBP company changed their TOS. I started doing my offers on Feb 20th and received my MBP at the beginning of July.

    A long wait? Certainly. But worth saving $1900.

    Since then I have used Josh’s site to get a XBox 360 HD-DVD Player and the 360 version of Guitar Hero 2. These cost me about $20 for both and I got them fairly quickly.

    I have submitted my offers for the new MBP and the LCD TV and am in the middle of doing a MacBook through another site.

    Josh’s site is the real deal people.

  19. daniinpa says:

    Wow, thanks to the commenters here for the info. It might have been worth it for $400, although that can be a little hefty to come up with up front, and then still have to do all the wrangling and waiting. But it looks like it can really be done for a lot less than that. I’m definitely looking into it, I am very, very skeptical about this sort of thing, but it makes sense.