Sunday, January 31, 2010

MyPoints Surveys Taking 10 minutes & 10 Questions To "Disqualify" You

I've been a member of the "member rewards" club called MyPoints for a long time now - pretty much since they started.

Barring this other problem, I rarely have a beef with them and have enjoyed participating in the program.

Since joining, I've cashed out nearly $13,000 in gift cards.


One of the many ways to earn free points to "buy" gift cards is to view emails and answer online surveys that usually take 10 to 20 minutes time.

These surveys award you 10 to 25 MyPoints points if you don't qualify.

They will typically reward you 50 to 500 points if you do qualify and complete the survey.

I rarely qualify for surveys (mostly on purpose) because I answer the first question that pops up:

Do you or anyone in your immediate family work for:

• Work for the government or a government agency
• In the publishing industry

My wife works for the government and I legitimately consider myself (with this website that you're reading) and especially with my local website - to be a publisher. I know that checking these two things will typically "disqualify" me from the survey - I'll get my 10 points and move on.

Lately, these surveys are asking multiple questions about age, gender, race - sometimes two or three times repetitively. They are are also asking detailed questions about preferences and sometimes getting 5 minutes into the survey then BANG you're disqualified. I consider most of the questions beyond age, gender, race, and location to be "useable" information when it comes to surveys.

I took one this morning that asked me 18 questions, took 8 minutes, and spanned over 11 different pages.

Message to MyPoints ... start compensating 25 points for these surveys after being disqualified.

I have another suggestion for MyPoints ... tell what the survey is about. I might be more interested in taking it if I knew what it was about.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

How Did These Guys Get My Cellphone Number?

I've had a few people communicate to me that they've been getting calls on their cellphones from strange phone numbers:

The number:


Here's a forum discussing this number which seems to originate from an Indian Reservation in Oregon:

The second comes from a Caller ID in Washington D.C. - offering a free cruise if you answer a few survey questions:


If you see one of these numbers on your cellphone - don't answer it!

Calls like this are increasing as telemarketers have seen their databases dry up as more and more people switch to cell phones as their only phone.

This is what is known as a "line test call". The call is meant solely to find out if you have a valid cellphone number. This confirmation (if you answer) then allows a few things to happen.

First, you are added to a marketing database either on an Indian Reservation or an international telemarketer database. These entities do NOT have to follow Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or Federal Communications Commission (FCC) polices - since they aren't governed by Federal law.

Most likely, this exact number isn't going to call you back, but it's a good idea to call AT&T to get the number blocked anyway. If enough people complain about the number - AT&T will block the call from calling any AT&T wireless or landline number.

Just know that with modern (an commonly available) technology like an iPhone - I can "spoof" a call and make it seem like it's from any number. I even did this as a joke a few weeks back to my wife - calling as our daughter. The Caller ID literally shows up with my daughter's name, number, and picture right on my wife's iPhone.

My rule of thumb is that I don't answer ANY phone number that I don't recognize as a local number or a valid connection. People that I know - know how to get in contact with me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Classic ...

I was going through some old articles on FIXYOURTHINKING and I came across this photo ... I had forgotten that I made this picture back in 2005:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

iPhone Snaps

Here's a picture of a beautiful (and patient) golden retriever that was in a steak house restaurant's parking lot. He patiently waited in the back of this truck the entire time I was inside (which was about 45 minutes). Can you imagine being a dog and waiting patiently in the back of an open aired truck smelling steaks cooking? Man ... if I only I had that kind of patience.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Apple Gets GreenLove

Apple now ranks first in Greenpeace's annual "Green Tech Companies Analysis":

I do see an omission though - HP DOES make cellphones!