Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Spam Report: $25 Million for nothing

This spam yells at you "We're giving away up to $25,000,000!*" and the 'fine' print says:
*No purchase necessary. See www.iwon.com for official rules, odds and prize information. Promotion ends 3/31/04. Open to US and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) age 13 and over. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Annual Grand Prize winner's odds of winning $25 million are 1:250. Annual Grand Prize paid in equal annual installments over 40 years without interest.

Come on people. Use your heads.

If your math skills aren't very strong, let me help. $25 Million for ONE person over 40 years would be over $600,000 a year. This is a 'no purchase necessary' contest. For the odds to be 1:250 that would mean that

  1. there are a maximum of 250 players in the contest and one prize of $25,000,000 (over 40 years)
  2. there are less than 250 players in the contest and multiple multi-million-dollar prizes
  3. They intentionally misrepresenting your chances of winning anything as the chances of winning the big prize
  4. There isn't really a contest at all and they just want your email/contact information

Think it through.

Remember, this is an unsolicited email received from a company that only asks for your email address. It has likely been sent to 25 million email boxes. On with the test:

Which is the most likely? What product do you think they are selling? How many units would they have to sell in order to be able to pay out $25,000,000 over 40 years? All contests are intended to increase sales. Businesses are willing to take a 10% hit for 'advertising'. $250,000,000 in sales??? Must be a huge company. In business for 40 years? Must be a well known company.

But wait,...

...there isn't any logos! What are they hiding? No identity. No known products.

No Thanks!