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Microsoft The Internet

Instant Messaging Giveaway 426

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft is planning on giving away $1000/hr randomly to users of the new MSN messenger. They are going to send instant messages to the winners. I can just see it now, 'You've won $1000 in the MSN Messenger giveaway, just go this website and enter your SS# and credit card info for verification.'" Where's Ed McMahon with the big check when you need him?
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Instant Messaging Giveaway

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  • by pissoncutler ( 66050 ) * on Friday July 18, 2003 @03:55PM (#6473592) Homepage
    Big deal, Bill Gates has been paying me $200 for every email I send for years...
  • by anewsome ( 58 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @03:56PM (#6473603)
    It says specifically only MSN client software. I guess I won't be winning.
  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @03:56PM (#6473604) Journal
    RMS is giving out handjobs to all GNU/linux users.
  • by koan ( 80826 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @03:56PM (#6473608)
    Till the Liberian banks pay off
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @03:57PM (#6473614)
    And who's going to believe it? With Vmyths gone, I can't check it out anymore.
  • I've been getting that e-mail for years now!

    Though, somewhat suspiciously, I haven't yet been paid that $5 for every person I forwarded it to...

  • Need MSN Service (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @03:57PM (#6473621) Homepage Journal
    Read subject

    Therefore 1% of slashdotters will care.
  • Pfft! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Pinguu ( 677142 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @03:57PM (#6473622)
    'You've won $1000 in the MSN Messenger giveaway, just go this website and enter your SS# and credit card info for verification.'
    Fusking spam again! *delete*
    • Re:Pfft! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mblase ( 200735 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @05:29PM (#6474475)
      I'm more worried about the opposite effect -- someone out there is going to start IMing random users, telling them to visit a Microsoft-looking web page and enter their login and passwords (along with some other identifying information) to receive their prize. Odds are they'll hit just enough suckers who've actually entered the contest (and a few who haven't) to get a $@!%load of stolen accounts.

      Of course, people have been doing this anyways without Microsoft's help -- or AOL's, or Yahoo's. So maybe I'm making something out of nothing here.
  • $1000? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @03:58PM (#6473628) Journal
    Do I have to use their client? Or will Trillian still suffice? ;)

    Seriously though, what the hell is with giving away money for using their network? I mean they already get to keep ANY and ALL IP that is transmitted over MSN Messenger, why would they need to get people to use their servers instead of .... Oh shit... now I get it... [ Frantically uninstalls MSN from system ]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    To qualify, people must fill out contest entries and upgrade to MSN Messenger 6.0. They also must be logged in to the service and agree to use only Microsoft's Quality products for the rest of their natural lifetime. Any use of non-autorized "Open Source Software" will result in an immediate fine of $100,000.
  • by Thoguth ( 203384 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @03:59PM (#6473648) Homepage
    Most giveaways are explicitly required to have rules that allow people to be eligible to win without purchasing a product. If such a rule applies to this contest, they'll have to have a way for people to enter without purchasing Windows, won't they?
    • Sure. Just pirate Windows. This is probably what they want, since they can sue you and get all their prize money back, and then some.
    • by DdJ ( 10790 )
      ...they'll have to have a way for people to enter without purchasing Windows, won't they?
      Will this [] do?
    • I think that particular phrase means you don't have to purchase a product in order to enter to win (because then it can be construed as gambling).

      However, I would compare this more to when Mastercard offers to pay the credit card bill of whoever's bill clocks in at 11:17am on 23 December, 2003.
    • Most giveaways are explicitly required to have rules that allow people to be eligible to win without purchasing a product. If such a rule applies to this contest, they'll have to have a way for people to enter without purchasing Windows, won't they?

      An informational column in a local newsweekly recently mentioned these laws. It stated that the purpose of these laws is to prevent illegal lotteries. Any contest in which you must buy a gamepiece to participate is considered a lottery. Thus the "no purchase
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:18PM (#6473872)
      Yes, the law requires a free entry, but this kind of giveaway makes it real easy to drown it out.

      We haven't seen the official rules yet, but what I expect the free entry method to be will be to send a 3x5 inch card with your name and mailing and indicating which hour's drawing you want to be entered for to an address in Redmond. There will likely be a limit one mail-in card per hourly drawing, which will equate to the one entry that online users will get for showing up on the service during that hour. Cards must be handwritten, no printed cards accepted.

      But, the catch is that if you want to enter all 24 drawings in a day, you'll need to seperately mail 24 envelopes with single cards in them. Afterall, 37 cent stamps are paid to the United States Postal Service and not Microsoft.

      Still, spending $62.16 to enter all of the drawings in a week seems a bit unwise, because you'll only be allowed to win one $1,000 if you win at all. Lottery tickets would be a better use of that money.
    • by Odin's Raven ( 145278 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:19PM (#6473878)
      Most giveaways are explicitly required to have rules that allow people to be eligible to win without purchasing a product. If such a rule applies to this contest, they'll have to have a way for people to enter without purchasing Windows, won't they?

      But doesn't everyone get a copy of Windows when they buy their computer? After all, only evil vendors catering to software pirates would sell computers without Windows.

      Or at least that's what I learned from Microsoft's OEM section a couple of years ago when they talked about the evils of "Naked PCs".

      (For those who don't remember the "Naked PC" campaign, you'll have to go to the Wayback Machine [] to find a copy of Microsoft's page -- Microsoft removed it from their OEM area after this PR campaign failed.)

    • By now, I'm betting everyone in the United States has purchased Windows two or three times, whether they've wanted to or not.

      Practically, though, the cost will be zero money, but mucho of your privacy. Love those radio boxes where I get to pick a gender, DOB, ZIP code and household income range.

  • by slide-rule ( 153968 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @03:59PM (#6473650)
    ... is better with the butterfly. Who knew? ;)
  • It's sad actually (Score:3, Insightful)

    by krray ( 605395 ) * on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:00PM (#6473659)
    It's sad actually -- that this is Microsoft's "biggest giveaway" to date. Why don't they at least do something SERIOUS like take a mere 1/2 billion and give away $1,000 to 1,000 people (a cool 1 million weekly)...and run THAT promotion for the next 9.61 years.

    Yeah -- they have THAT MUCH money and STILL Windows is what it is.
    • Actually thats not the biggest MS giveaway. I received a letter from Bill Gates himself that said:

      Subject: FW: Must Read!!!! Bill Gates (fwd)

      Hello everybody, My name is Bill Gates. I have just written up an e-mail tracing program that traces everyone to whom this message is forwarded to. I am experimenting with this and I need your help. Forward this to everyone you know and if it reaches 1000 people everyone on the list will receive $1000 at my expense. Enjoy.

      Your friend,
      Bill Gates

      I have already fo

  • Interesting how they all live at different addresses...

  • ..since most of the people that use MSN Messenger don't care a lot about security, generally speaking of course and exceptions etc., they will be all over the MS download page because of this.
    "OMFG; a thousand dollar for upgrading!!!"
  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:00PM (#6473667)
    I've always claimed that I wouldn't use Microsoft products if you paid me. This changes nothing.

    But seriously, wouldn't this normally set off red flags in the antitrust department (if it wasn't gutted)? Paying people to use your product as a method of moving into a new market sounds a little dicey coming from someone like Microsoft. Normally I'd have nothing against this kind of gimmick, but it seems rather sleazy compared to Microsoft's normal tactic of assaulting me with MSN ads and breaking competing products.
  • It's true! (Score:2, Funny)

    by dmccarty ( 152630 )
    I swear it's true! Microsoft (Bill Gates, actually) has already paid me just to send email! And last year I won a free trip to Disney just by looking at their website!
  • ROFL!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by cavemanf16 ( 303184 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:01PM (#6473677) Homepage Journal
    This story should have been submitted with the 'foot' icon! I would have to have gone crazy to do all of the following:

    1) Use Microsoft Messenger
    2) Trust an anonymous source IM'ing me with a "You just won $1000! Please go to to claim it! (We must have all your info to claim the prize, btw)"
    3) Actually follow said spam message to the site (We all know that just clicking on a malicious website and letting ActiveX controls and other such nonsense run in the background in IE is BEGGING for a complete computer hijacking)

    Oh wait, Microsoft must be testing out a new business plan:

    10 Spam
    20 Collect more email addresses
    30 Spam some more!
    40 ?
    50 GOTO 40
    60 Profit!

    • Actually, the real contest won't need to do this. The winners will all already be paying customers of MSN's paid service, so MSN will already have a valid address to send physical paperwork to. However, this contest seems very ill-advised because a scam that follows the method in the parent post will just be too easy to pull..
    • Oh wait, Microsoft must be testing out a new business plan:

      10 Spam
      20 Collect more email addresses
      30 Spam some more!
      40 ?
      50 GOTO 40
      60 Profit!

      No, it can't be, it's flawed... 60 Profit! can never be reached! ;)
  • Antitrust (Score:2, Insightful)

    by phritz ( 623753 )
    OK, this is getting ridiculous ...

    If you're worried about your monopoly, just pay people to use your service. I mean, COME ON!

    Also, it is my understanding that random contests such as this must be open to EVERYONE (i.e. the 'no purcase necessary' that you always hear). Does this qualify as being open to everyone? Not everyone owns a computer ...

    • Certainly it qualifies. MSN Messenger 6 is available for anyone to use, without requiring you to purchase a copy of MSN Messenger at any version. MSN Messenger itself is free, so there is no purchase required.

      Granted you have to have an operating system that MSN Messenger will run on to actually win, which I believe restricts you to Windows and possibly OS X, but that is no fault of the promotions people.

    • Re:Antitrust (Score:3, Insightful)

      "If you're worried about your monopoly, just pay people to use your service. I mean, COME ON! "

      Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly on Instant Messaging.
  • I guess Billy's got so much money he really doesn't know what to do with it, so he's going to give it away. How nice of him.
  • by Petronius ( 515525 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:03PM (#6473708)
    Drug dealer gives away free samples at street corner. News at 11.
  • To qualify, people must fill out contest entries and upgrade to MSN Messenger 6.0

    And of course, agree to a new draconian EULA.

    I've not installed MS latest service pack quite simply because of it's EULA (copied from Media Player 9.0 EULA).

  • by sin(theta) ( 609000 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:06PM (#6473744) Homepage any indication it will more likely say:

    "U have just won! 2 claim your prize forward this message 2 *everyone* in your contact list!

    This is 4 real, no joke. If u don't do this MSN will stop being free!!"
  • just go this website and enter your SS# and credit card info for verification.

    So basically, all loyal Microsoft users who happen to not be American citizens or residents are told that they just don't matter ...
  • The site is here ault.aspx
  • If you sign up now, you might win $1,000. Not only that, but you might win part of the class action law suit filed by some hot shot lawyer on behalf of the participants because of some technicality. It could pan out.
  • How can they tell if you are using MSN 6.0, unless you are using MSN 5.0? What I mean is, if I make my own client, I can have it appear to be 6.0, like browsers like Opera do.
  • 9am to 7pm PST? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anicklin ( 244316 ) <slashdot AT nicklin DOT info> on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:12PM (#6473806) Homepage
    That makes sense. Run a contest during business hours to encourage people to chat with each other instead of... getting work done. The majority of the winners will be housewives, stay-at-home-for-the-summer kids, and whoever else can run the software through their firewalls...
  • So did they fix the bug where it insists on popping up an alert when you get hotmail even if you have that turned off? I can't stand it when I'm playing Battlefield 1942 and it sends my fps to 10 by doing so.

    It's also very bloated compared to Windows Messenger, about 4x memory consumption and 6x loading time.
  • by ( 682311 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:14PM (#6473826)
    So all I have to do to win the Microsoft Lottery is sell my soul? Sign me up!! "There's no such thing as a soul. It's just something they made up to scare kids, like the boogieman or Michael Jackson"
  • by the_germ ( 146623 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:15PM (#6473835) Homepage
    In Germany a company cannot hold up a lottery where only users of it's product can participate.

    So if for example Coca-Cola puts some random numbers on the inside of their bottles and makes some kind of lottery of it, it must provide the same winnning chance to people who just call in though they haven't bougth the product (and not obtained a number).

    So Microsoft would need to provide the same chance for getting the bucks to everyone who's using another IM as well.

    Don't know how it's handled in other countries, but I think it's like that in many European countries.

    • Like the US? (Score:3, Informative)

      by siskbc ( 598067 )
      That's true here too. You have to mail it in, though.

      The MS deal has to be possible, because Visa did a promo where random cardusers would win, and every transaction counted as an entry. I'm guessing if you read the fine print there's a mail-in entry address. Of course, those probably go to /dev/null, but have fun proving it.

    • by satterth ( 464480 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:48PM (#6474174) Homepage Journal
      Ripped from []

      ELIGIBILITY: This sweepstakes is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, 18 years of age or older at the time of entry who have access to a personal computer running Microsoft Windows 98 (or later version) operating system and Internet Access as of July 15, 2003. Void where prohibited by law. Employees of Microsoft Corporation and anyone working directly on Microsoft programs and their respective affiliates, parent companies, subsidiaries, promotion, advertising and promotional agencies and the immediate family members and persons living in the households of each are not eligible to enter.

  • And yet.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by MImeKillEr ( 445828 )
    ..No mention of it ANYWHERE on their site [].

    I smell a hoax - and CNN fell for it.

    Also, no where does the article say anything about having to give your SSN and CC#, nor do they provide a link to any such site. Anyone duped into providing this information is a fool.

    Everyone needs to RTFA before commenting, really.
    • by pherris ( 314792 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:39PM (#6474083) Homepage Journal
      I saw this banner ad [] on this page. [].

      If you go to, click on "MSN Messenger - New!" on the left column, click on one of the download links and you'll see the ad. BTW, here's the rules []. .

      The SSN and CC# number comment was meant as a joke. You know, Joe Luser enters the contest (or is told he was automaticly entered), gets an IM from a scammer telling him "just this information please and we'll send you the money". Later he realizes all he got was the wrong end of a plunger.

  • Microsoft Strategy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Poltras ( 680608 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:15PM (#6473845) Homepage
    Well... This is all in MS strategy: why spam when someone else can spam for you instead?
  • Ouch... (Score:3, Funny)

    by reynaert ( 264437 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:16PM (#6473849)
    If Microsoft will actually do this, I predict there'll be tons of "forward to ten people and get a reward" spam... Who would risk it /not/ being a hoax?
  • by D0wnsp0ut ( 321316 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:16PM (#6473851) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like a trial run of a marketing/publicity stunt. Next thing you know, they're selling IM "pop-up ads" to companies in blocks. It'll be the next "feature" of IM. When rolled out, everyone's permission setting, buried somewhere deep in the settings, will be "I want IM ads." Then, when enough people get completely annoyed by it and complain, Microsoft will "apologize" but only after seeing how long they can stretch it out...all the while raking in cash.

    IM "spam" is going to be the next big headache...and of course, the knee-jerk reaction will be to pass more laws.
  • by aardwolf204 ( 630780 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:17PM (#6473857)
    I've always said it, Microsoft would have to pay me before I used their crap. Now it looks like they've finally caved.

  • I think that a move of giving users money in a random lottery fashion for using a free service is... well... making Standard Oil look competitor friendly. If anybody wants to make a good case against M$ for continuing monopolistic practices after the judgement, this would be a great corner stone. They're losing money for something that can't really generate a profit for them except by holding people who want to communicate with each other to Windows by means of market share and software control.
  • Hmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:20PM (#6473886) Homepage
    After the best buy MSN computer giveaways, and the whole thing with the pricing on the x-box, i was cynically oberving that it wasn't enough to just develop the product for free like with MSIE, Microsoft had to actually essentially pay people to continue using their product.

    Now Microsoft is literally paying people to continue using their product.

    Well.. it's a good solution to the chicken and egg problem, and I guess that's been MS's mindset all along. Users are something you can buy; you spend money to get users, and then once you have them locked in, you can charge whatever you like from them.
  • by morcheeba ( 260908 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:23PM (#6473915) Journal
    Let's see... 8% interest on Microsoft's $49 billion in cash [] works out to be $430,000 per hour. And that's just interest on savings. Take into account $2 billion/quarter profits, and that's another $913,000/hour. They could afford to give away $1000 every 3 seconds and still be profitable!

    Why run a contest at all? Just buy every non-MSN instant messager user (78 million people []) for $11 cash/month... and still be profitable!
  • by D4C5CE ( 578304 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:27PM (#6473963)
    ... could be e.g. 419 Nigerians [] getting out of the advance-fee fraud schemes start sending instant messages to strangers:
    "You have won the Grand Bill Gates $1000 prize".
    No more forged documents required, all they need now is a web form for people to enter their Credit Card and Social Security numbers, then bill them.
    Blindly running for the dollars, how many victims will check first whether this is hosted at the genuine Microsoft cash-claiming site (if any)?
    Apparently similar schemes do work for some phony mortgage counsellers, so I'm afraid they are likely to spread even worse if any such lottery really ever comes into existence.
    BTW, the software requirements could mean the DoJ (or at least the Massachussetts Attorney General) might be interested anyway...
  • by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:33PM (#6474006)
    A purchase is necessary to win.. you need a copy of MS Windows. Wouldn't this constitute an illegal lottery.
  • by LinuxTek ( 36519 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @04:46PM (#6474147) Homepage
    Because anyone else using MSN outside of the U.S. must be a terrorist, and MS does not support terrorists...

    Probably too dificult (legally speaking) to do a contest truly for the internet (i.e., globally), but it sucks nevertheless.

    Probably redundant, but this is another scheme at getting U.S. addresses for junk mailing and many other evil marketing stuff.
  • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @05:11PM (#6474341) Homepage
    In other news, the RIAA has said it plans on randomly sueing a user every hour that's logged into the Kazaa network for $1,000. To enter the contest, just be sure your not using Kazaa and you can increase your odds of keeping your $1,000.
  • screenname (Score:3, Funny)

    by hpavc ( 129350 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @05:15PM (#6474379)
    i wonder what sort of screen names are going to skipped ... '' doesnt sound like a valid winner to me.
  • Hrm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MORTAR_COMBAT! ( 589963 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @05:23PM (#6474441)
    Looks like yet another case of Microsoft abusing their monopoly position to dump money into a new market.

    MSN Messenger.

    All these products, Microsoft offers below marginal cost (or in this case, gives away money for a free product) by subsidizing the new product with money gained from a monopoly.

    Open and shut case, slam dunk, etc, etc.
  • Sad... (Score:4, Funny)

    by di0s ( 582680 ) <cabbot917@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday July 18, 2003 @05:25PM (#6474450) Homepage Journal
    They actually resort to *paying* people to use thier IM client?? Maybe they're testing out that new exploit []...
  • by HopeUnknown ( 668633 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @05:33PM (#6474499) Homepage Journal
    This should make great business for scammers taking advantage of the promotion...

    Rod981973: OMFG r u serious??? this a trick?
    Rod981973: WOW kewl!! Deposit it in my checking, it's #...

  • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @05:52PM (#6474638) Homepage Journal
    But I bet that 99% of the 'you're a winner' IMs will not be from microsoft, but rather spammers. I remember after setup there 'win every time you search' thing just about half the popups out there said 'you're a winner! click here to claim your prize'

    I think a good number of pople will get these things and just assume they are some kind of spam...
    • I've already uninstalled Messenger 6 after getting a popup on the very first time using it.
      I have no use for adware, even if it offers to pay me a thousand dollars - as if I haven't been fraudulently offered thousands by other advertisers in little javascript ads before.
  • by the_pooh_experience ( 596177 ) on Friday July 18, 2003 @06:01PM (#6474712)
    It also lets users personalize their messages and their screen backgrounds more by adding animated emoticons or "smileys," creating their own images and sending photos to friends.

    I knew there was a reason to upgrade!

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.