(3/6/2002) Ahhh, the lure of free stuff! To many of us, the 'net is a free community full of treasures and opportunities. Everyone seems eager to give us free stuff or offer free services. But few things are actually free.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
hey, go here and we both get a free tshirt
pretty pretty please :)
Subject: my friend?
Will you be my friend? :)
Come play with me and I'll give you a FREE T-Shirt!
END CHAIN LETTER TEXT
I contacted Mr. Smiley (Steve) to ask several burning questions about the site. he told me that he "a college student who enjoys finding deals on the internet." MrSmiley.com grew from his mailings of free offers to friends. When you submit you e-mail address and those of your friends, you are subscribing to his newsletter.
However, Steve avoided some very important questions that you should consider before submitting personal information online:
Where are the shirts coming from? We're told we can buy the shirt for $19.95, but it's free if we get 5 friends to "join." So, who's footing the bill for all those 20-dollar shirts they're giving away for free?
Why is there no privacy statement or explanation of how the e-mail addresses will be used beside the mailing list?
Why does he choose to keep himself anonymous? Even when I contacted him, he failed to identify himself beyond his first name.
How are the shirts distributed?
While his intentions may be good, his offer just raises too many questions. If you're really hungry for that free shirt, the choice is yours, but remember all the risks involved with sharing personal information with a total stranger over the web. Break this chain.