A domain registered two days ago as groupon500.com, which claims to offer a $500 voucher toward Groupon or its primary competitor, LivingSocial, is actually registering users for ‘free’ trial offers that aren’t free at all. The best part, however, is that everything about this scam is perfectly legal according to Zscaler’s Julien Sobrier.
The groupon500 domain was registered by retailbrandprize.com, which purports to be a member incentive program. Sobrier notes that a simple Google search reveals a number of complaints about the website.
To receive the $500 voucher from Groupon500.com, Sobrier was required to fill out a form requesting some personal information (name, address, phone number etc.). Once that form was completed, a new page pops up asking him to “complete one of the offers below,” which apparently meant ‘buy something.’ Sobrier lists Disney books or a tooth whitening session as examples of the offers (full list here). If he completed both offers, the site claims, the user would win an iPod Touch!
Sobrier also notes that by accepting the terms and conditions, users are giving retailbrandprize.com permission to share their contact and other information with third parties.
Sobrier’s description is slightly different than retailbrandprize.com’s official eligibility requirements, which are buried in a long and convoluted terms and conditions page that no one is likely to read in the first place. Retailbrandprize.com, however, was kind enough to post a summary of the program requirements all over their website:
(1) Register with a valid and deliverable email address; (2) Submit accurate contact and demographic information; (3) Complete two advertiser offers from the Silver Offers Group, two from the Gold Offers Group, and nine from the Platinum Offers Group for a total of thirteen advertiser offers. (4) Refer 3 friends to do the same (i.e. register and complete the required number of sponsor offers).