Look at this site. They make you think they are actually looking for mystery shoppers to anonymously rate stores by spending a $1000 bucks in one, and you get to keep what you bought. Finally, a way to get what has to be a retail-junkie's coolest job -- and my flist shows me a lot of people engage in retail therapy.
Well, knowing from page one this had to be a scam, I read the terms. You have to disclose personal info, which actually has to be validated. It is validated by signing up for four offers available on the page, and from the terms I could see they are things like credit cards and subscriptions, and you can't immediatly cancel. If you do that you will get a gift-certificate for the amount between $25,- to $1K. And oh yeah, did you enter your zip-code on that first page and found out you were in high demand? So did people who entered 00000. I tried.
So, will many sign up? I found this ad on MySpace.com, a blog/personals site seemingly populated by young singles too hip and happening to hack it on LJ, with many, many, many women who look like they frequent malls, so my guess is "hell yeah!" Will they not read the terms? You betcha. Will they disclose the demographics? What, and lose out on being a msytery shopper? Will they take part in the four promotions... well, iffy. Will the site have to spend on every person who gives them their info? See the last question. Will the site be sending out many $1K gift cards, or even many of the $25,- ones? See the last question and use common sense what amounts you would spend on gift cards if you were in the CEO's shoes. Will the company have a fabulously sellable list of personal data? Woo-fucking-hoo! In days! Before people can warn each-other what kind of a spam-creator it is!
It is brilliant. It's the whole "free iPods/ mini Macs / other schwag" ponzi scheme thing, but getting people to buy in into 4 of your marketing partners (ka-ching) getting their data (ka-ching!) and barely needing to reward the schmoes (ka-ka-ka-ching!).