Search with Blingo and possibly win a prize.

I’m a skeptic and it’s served me pretty well so when I first heard about Blingo I was incredulous, but they’ve been in operation for over a year or so and I’ve not seen any big news articles about it being a scam. If anything I’ve just seen more and more bloggers talking about it the most current of which was this entry by Etan over at his blog. So I did some digging to see if I could come up with anyone saying anything bad about them or revealing that they’re secretly replacing your coffee with Folger’s crystals or something, but came up empty handed.

So what is Blingo? According to this Wikipedia entry:

Blingo is an online search engine with a twist: at randomly chosen times, certain searchers win prizes. Blingo makes its money from Google ads displayed with each search, but clicking on ads is not necessary to win; Blingo gives users prizes simply for using the site to search.

Blingo routes all its search queries through Google search, so, except for the possibility of winning a prize, searching with Blingo isn’t any different from searching with Google. Your first ten Blingo searches a day qualify for a free prize. Search from any website.

Blingo chooses about 50 random times during each day. If someone performs a search at one of those times, Blingo awards them with a prize. Only the first 10 searches of the day per user count towards winning a prize.

There is also a networking aspect built in to the service. If you recruit a friend, and they win, you receive the same prize. Daily prizes include items such as Sony Playstations, DVD players, iPods, iPod shuffles, and a choice of movie passes or iTunes gift certificates, and are always exchangeable for a VISA gift card of equivalent value.

Though according to a December 2004 article in PC Magazine Blingo search results were once supplied by Gigablast, currently Blingo draws upon Google for its results.

Though basic information is required to sign up for the service, no personal information is collected except that required to deliver prizes.

Sounds too good to be true, right? It’s the same thing as searching Google except you might get a free iPod or a Visa card with $100 in cash or some other not insignificant prize for using it. This month they’re giving away Sony PlayStation Portables, Apple iPod Video and Nanos, Visa Gift Cards, iTunes Gift Certificates, and Movie Tickets. You don’t have to click on any of the ads if you don’t want to, though of course they’d love it if you do, and you don’t have to sign up with them, but you can if you feel like it and then invite others to join and if they win then you win too. That’s what Etan’s doing.

Sets off all sorts of red flags in my head similar to those get-a-free-iPod sites that require you to sign up for a bunch of different crap that’s a real pain the ass to get out of once you’ve signed up, but Blingo doesn’t require anything like that at all. Just search like you would normally and maybe you’ll win a prize. Maybe I’ll play around with it and see what happens. Follow ups to… uh… follow.

13 thoughts on “Search with Blingo and possibly win a prize.

  1. I’m with you on this one, Les.  When I was about ten years old, my dad told me one the lessons in life is:  There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
    There had to be a catch somewhere.

  2. Well in reference to “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” from what I remember this is more an economical reference, not to having to read the “fine print”.  It was more to the effect of you might get a free lunch, but someone somewhere is paying for it.

  3. No, it’s from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein, at leas that’s where I first saw it.

    It was in reference to the cafes on the Moon that advertised a free lunch, but then they charged you double or triple for the drinks, so the lunch was free, but you paid for it with the inflated cost of beverages. 

    Of course he might’ve stolen it from somewhere else.

  4. Whatever.  The point is there has to be some fine print with this Blingo deal. Nobody gives things away without some kind of condition.

  5. Nobody gives things away without some kind of condition.

    The True Conspiracy Nut will assume that it’s a government sting, designed to capture search strings.

  6. Well, looks like I’m wrong, it’s been about 4-5 years since I took that economics class in high school so that would explain it.  My bad folks.

  7. The True Conspiracy Nut will assume that it’s a government sting, designed to capture search strings.

    The True Conspiracy Nut would in all probability be wrong since most every search engine aside from Google has already agreed to turn over their Search Queries/Results to the Department of Homeland Security. 

    …you have nothing to worry about unless you’re doing something wrong…


  8. From what I’ve read about Blingo they’re making money off of the ads on the site and the prizes are just a way to get people to use their engine. It’s not the first time a search engine has used this approach, but in the past the prizes promised were much larger (and sometimes bogus) whereas these guys seem to actually be handing out what they’re promising.

  9. Sounds like they’re doing a loss leader to drum up business.  They may have a line on selling the marketing profiles they build up, too.  They can link your searches with you, since you HAVE to give them something that connects to you, so you can receive the prize.

  10. Only if you receive a prize, though. They claim in their privacy policy that they are not selling your personal info to marketers, but I suppose it all comes down to how much you trust that claim.

  11. I have won once (movie ticket), I gave them my address, it arrive (and is usable at almost any theater.)

    The “catch” is it’s only in the U.S. and ONLY your first 10 searches each day qualify you to win.

    Other than that they are trying to make money, if they get a ton of click-through revenue, it will be worth giving aways a $200 psp or $300 ipod 6 times a day.

    I haven’t been barraged by any more spam email or snail mail than I have ever been, hope this helps.

  12. Welp, I won $25 last night. The winner page came up, they didn’t ask me to sign up for anything or click on anything other than submit my home address. Said they’d deliver the $25 within 8 weeks. Yay!

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