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The High Price of IQ Test Sponsors

01/18/08

  12:23:23 am, by Nimble   , 656 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Common Sense, Spamming

The High Price of IQ Test Sponsors

Online IQ tests are ever so much fun, especially when you do well in them, especially after someone issues a challenge. Such was the case with the popular IQ Test on Facebook.

Nevertheless, there was one question I didn't like - I've taken many such tests and I could swear that one of the questions in this one had multiple answers - and so I wanted to know which question it was that I got wrong and what the answer was.

Well, you have two options: you can either break out PayPal or you can kindly go through pages that are sponsored by companies.

What do you suppose is through door number two?

Contact information is required, for one. It was by and large innocuous-seeming. After all, if you don't explicitly allow them to contact you by phone, then they would not phone you, right?

In the interests of not being totally insane, however, I created an entirely new e-mail account just for this purpose, so if I got unsolicited e-mail, it would be plenty obvious where the information was gleaned.

You then get pages for newsletters and the like. This starts out looking innocent-enough. You know, some newsletters you know to avoid, other ones sound "okay", so you consider them. I checked just two boxes.

Now the pages just keep coming. They are not even pages of different newsletters, but pages of the same newsletters. If you want a free freaking answer key, you are going to have to run the gauntlet... multiple times.

Pretty soon, it feels just crappy... pages of slightly different format but the same damned boxes to untick, and it just starts feeling like a stupid con. So I uncheck things, go next, and cancel out of the process.

Well, in the next day or so, we got a phone call about having won a trip. They mentioned the e-mail address in particular, and it just sounded fishy. Real contests run for a while, have rules and fairly good odds. The one trip I have actually won in my life was handled in a somewhat different manner. This smacked of the timeshare/condo pressure-sales-to-come type of trip, somewhat like "winning" a meal from MasterGuard alarm folks.

I fended that one off, and there have been no more phone calls.

There has been a steady stream of spam, though, and it is from things that were either unticked or not even in their opt-in choices. Let's see the array of things in that pile of e-mail that has come in:

We have:

___@nimblebrain.net Your future revealed. An ad for astrology crap? Given that I think astrology is total crap in the first place, I would never sign up for this.

MacBook Confirmation for ___@nimblebrain.net. I never signed up for a MacBook contest. Such contests are comparatively rare, and a confirmation of any sort just smacks of a con.

4 Night Luxury Cancun Vacation for ___@nimblebrain.net. Likewise for vacations.

Get a complimentary personal forecast from Bethea Jenner. Biorhythms and tarot. Screw you.

$500 Tim Hortons™ Gift Card—get one now. No.

Need New Tires? Hmph - hosted on a telemarketer's web host.

Hey ___@nimblebrain.net, wanna see my pics? Say no more.

I did not complete the transaction, such as it was. I did not complete the pages and I did not, of course, get the damnable answers to the IQ test. That does not, of course, matter to the lords of the marketing underworld.

So far the spam is at a 5-7 e-mails per day rate. My morbid curiosity will keep the account going a little while longer to see whether this crew is in the habit of selling their e-mail lists to even shadier folks, but more to the point, how often they sell their e-mail lists in that case.

I'm giving even odds that I see the spam rate increase to above ten e-mails per day two months from now. Any other prognosticators?

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