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.