partial recall

a blog of ideas, links, and musings.

No Scam Here – I Got the iBook!


Apple iBook

The Hook

I was incredibly skeptical, but now I’m a believer! For months I’ve wanted to get a laptop. Sure, it was not needed for work, but I thought it would be beneficial for a variety of reasons. First, I am a technophile, but I felt I could really use the laptop for grad school and I argued that I could spend more time with my wife (instead of being locked away in the home office, I could still do computer work in the convenience of the family room while my wife watched television). Unfortunately, my wife was not too keen on us spending >$1000 for my dream of having an Apple Computer laptop. She insisted that we could just get an inexpensive pc laptop like a Dell. Noooooo!

Then I stumbled across an “internet marketing” promotion. You may be familiar with them – “get a free iPod by getting 6 of your friends to sign up and register for X.” This promotion, offered by the Internet Opinion Group, used a different business model that I agreed with. Instead of bugging friends and family to complete stupid tasks like signing up for a credit card, I took sole responsibility for being the sucker. Depending on the value of the desired gift, registrants are required to participate in purchasing up to 6 products and/or services in order to complete the business transaction. Think of it as an alternate method for consumer advertising.

I was skeptical about whether or not the iBook would be new or used, but they promoted a 14″ iBook (or similar product) with the following specifications: iBook G4, 1 GHz processor, 256 MB RAM, OSX. I started my adventure by signing up on March 6, 2005.

The Purchases

So, since I wanted this Apple iBook, I had to fulfill 6 purchases. It is important that you read the pop-up instructions for each product choice to determine what you must do in order to fulfill the purchase. There are a number of options available, but here are the products/services that I chose, including the estimated costs of each:

  1. USA Today – I purchased a 6 month subscription to the newspaper – cost: $62.40
  2. Printer Ink – I had to purchase at least $35 on ink – I plan to be a return cutomer to this site – ink is very affordable – cost: $41.91
  3. Trimlife – I purchased this diet pill product, although I never used it and only purchased it to fulfill the requirement (be sure to cancel yourself from receiving automatic monthly shipments) – cost: roughly $45
  4. My Daily Dose – This is a site offering vitamins and other nutritional products. I was only required to purchase a 7-day trial (be sure to cancel yourself from receiving automatic monthly shipments) – cost: $5.95
  5. Blockbuster – I had previously signed up with Blockbuster Online, but cancelled my service and registered again through the Internet Opinion Group’s click-through link. Blockbuster Online offers a few plans – cost: roughly $15 per month (and I could cancel my membership if I wanted to once they notified the Internet Opinion Group of my registration)
  6. Columbia House – For this standard promotion, I had to purchase 5 dvds at regular price – cost: estimated at $100 for product fulfillment

Getting His Apple iBook

The Good

Okay, so when all is said and done, I really only needed to spend between $250 and $300 to fulfill this promotion. Considering the diet pills and the vitamins (and to a lesser degree, the USA Today subscription) were of little to no value or use to me, I would consider $200 to be used for items I might have purchased for myself anyway.

Here’s the other kicker – I did not receive the advertised iBook. Instead, I received a newer model. I received a 12″ instead of the 14″ (I preferred the smaller laptop anyway) with a 1.2 GHz processor instead of the advertised 1 GHz. Also, since OS 10.4 (Tiger) was included, along with Quicken 2005 and iLife ’05, I figure I received a few hundred dollars of software that I wanted to get anyway.

The Bad

My only criticisms of this experience include the following:

  • The InternetOpinionGroup site is not particularly user-friendly. The help instructions appeared to have confusing instructions regarding the steps one must go through to receive the gift. Also, the site still shows a copyright of 2004! In addition the “Gift Status” screen was confusing, despite the listing of 5 status types:

    1. Pending – If your Offer Status shows “Pending,” it means that we are awaiting a response from our offer partners (i.e. the credit card companies). This also applies when your Gift Status shows pending too.
    2. In Progress – A response has been received from the offer partner. We are now awaiting an approval notice from them. Please allow 6-8 weeks for an “In Progress” offer to be reported as “Approved”.
    3. Approved – This means your free gift card is ready to be ordered! You can click on the “Approved” link and have an Approval Email sent to you! Please refer to our Help Section for more information.
    4. Confirmed – When you have entered your email address and generated a Free Gift Card Certificate, your Gift Status is flagged as “Confirmed.”
    5. Shipped – Your gift card [no card – the gift itself!] has been ordered and is on its way! Please allow 6-8 weeks to receive your gift card.
  • You must be patient. I started the process on March 6, 2005 and received my gift on July 21, 2005. That’s a long time!
  • Customer service sucks – the only way to contact this company is through their online contact form. I rarely received responses to my inquiries.
  • The site promises free FedEx shipping, yet my product came free via UPS – weird!
  • Register with an email address you do not mind getting spammed! I used a Yahoo account, so fortunately most of the spam email promotions now get automatically routed to my spam folder


So, overall I am very happy and really excited to get the laptop. It already has an 802.11G wi-fi card so I can connect to the Internet wirelessly! Now I simply must purchase a wi-fi router. Any suggestions?

Update July 27, 2005

Bummer! As a result of recent news on the iBook line, had I waited a month or two more to receive my iBook, I would have received much more, including:

  • 1.42 GHz processor base(1.2 now)
  • 512 RAM included standard (256 now)
  • Bluetooth standard (nope)
  • scrolling trackpad (nope)
  • Sudden motion sensor (nope)

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Nomad on July 22, 2005 AT 04 pm

Congratulations! If you are looking to upgrade the RAM, I would recommend checking out RamBus for cheap memory. They have the best deals on the Web, and upgrading an iBook’s memory is something easily done by most “technophiles.”

Nomad on July 22, 2005 AT 04 pm

Oh, and for the free router, do not skimp. Buy an Airport or Airport Express. The others end to fail within a year’s time.

Nomad on July 22, 2005 AT 09 pm

Rob Fay on July 22, 2005 AT 11 pm

Thanks for the advice, Nomad. I’ve been setting up the laptop all night and should get some sleep soon. I spent $100 tonight at Best Buy – $70 for a Linksys Wireless-G router ($30 mail in rebate makes it $40) and $30 for a firewire cable to quickly copy applications and files to the iBook.

I had a wired Linksys for a while now and have had no problems. Cost may win out here.

I like your idea about RAM, though. Apple charges $500 for 1GB, yet I’ve seen third party offerings for $200. I DEFINITELY need to get more RAM.

Are you feeling better?

Rob Fay on July 22, 2005 AT 11 pm

By the way, two other products I could use recommendations for:

Portable mouse – have a recommendation for a corded mouse (possibly retractable) for the laptop?
Wireless remote – I’m looking for a wireless remote that can control iTunes, Keynote, PowerPoint, etc. as well as include an integrated laser pointer


~Angel~ on July 23, 2005 AT 10 am

I always thoughts those promotions were scams. Good to see you got your iBook…not bad for a couple of hundred dollars.

Nomad on July 23, 2005 AT 10 am

The keyspan remove is the best way to go, if you want something that’ll work with all of your apps flawlessly. You can get the older model (identical to the new one, except for Airport Express compatibility) for about $30 on eBay.

For the mouse… well… what are you looking for exactly. Any USB mouse will work with an iBook. I prefer the cordless models and there are many great Bluetooth models – if you have BT included. I’d recommend just browsing thru Staples to find the one that fits you best.

And glad to hear the RamJet info helped. Another good cheap RAM-seller is

Rob Fay on July 23, 2005 AT 08 pm

I see two keyspans on Amazon. Can the older, more inexpensive model control Keynote (I know it already can control PowerPoint)?

Nomad on July 24, 2005 AT 12 pm

Yes, the Keyspan remotes handle Keynote just fine. Actually, they work just fine with ANY program. It is just not set up default on every program. You can always customize it for your needs.

Allen on October 16, 2005 AT 07 pm

How do I get a free Ibook just likeyou without the hassel of scams, using credtcards and personal information like your birthday.

Rob Fay on October 17, 2005 AT 09 am


I used the InternetOpinionGroup link and I was not scammed. The site simply gave me options to choose from and I had to select a certain amount of items/services to purchase. I purposefully chose not to enroll in a credit card, but for everything else, I only provided the personal information I’d normally provide when I make internet purchases.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Jason on October 20, 2005 AT 11 pm

Congrats! I have a quick query for you. how long after your status said “shipped” did it take for you to actually get the laptop? I too am using IOG. Just curious, can’t wait.

Jason on October 20, 2005 AT 11 pm

Portable mouse…i picked up a nice compusa brand wireless one with a usb receiver, is micro sized, and optical.

about $20, both pc and mac compatible.

Rob Fay on October 21, 2005 AT 07 am

Hey Jason. After the status was flagged as “shipped” it may have just been a few days – under a week.

What was weird, however, was I was notified by UPS that I was to receive a package, but even though they offered a tracking option, it was pretty worthless. The status went from “transmitted info” to quickly showing status updates the very day the package arrived.

Let me know if you have any other questions. What “gift” did you choose?

Jason on October 21, 2005 AT 11 am

I went for the PSP. it seemed like a good idea at the time, but now i’m wishing i went for an ibook. oh well. maybe next time. with the offers i chose, i dont think i put more than $50 into it, though…and NO credit cards, they’re evil. 🙂

Rob Fay on October 21, 2005 AT 12 pm

I agree – I avoided the credit card but had to suck it up for some products I didn’t like. I’m actually just about to cancel the Columbia House membership since I recently fulfilled my obligation.


Laurie on November 13, 2005 AT 07 pm

I used the Internet Opionion Group, too. Everything you said about it is true. The only thing I was able to do differently is that I found a phone number for them. They were pretty helpful over the phone–much easier to deal with than the email option. I realized they just didn’t have very many reps, which is probably why it took them forever to answer email, if they got answered at all. I didn’t mind the things I had to purchase. It’s not like I was getting nothing for the things on which I was spending a little money. (I’m one of those people who’s actually enjoying that BMG music membership!)

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised when my copy of WinXP Pro with Service Pack 2 arrived (literally just in time to install into the new PC I had just built.) Because it’s a less expensive gift than some of the others, I only had to do 4 pretty inexpensive offers instead of the 6.

Laurie on November 13, 2005 AT 07 pm

Oh, I almost forgot–if you use Internet Opionion Group and want to call them, the phone number is 801.316.0555, available 9-5 PST.

Rob Fay on November 14, 2005 AT 07 am


Thanks for the additional information! It’s good to know you too had a successful experience with the IOG.

Jon-Paul on December 6, 2005 AT 02 pm

Rob…congrats (albeit late) on the iBook.

I’m currently waiting for my Free Xbox 360 offers to go APPROVED. 2 of the 4 have. However, I still have not recieved a certificate email yet (which they claim will be sent within an hour). I’ve had to contact Customer Service (via phone – and on-line form). Phone service was great and very friendly. Form contact is slow.

Another annoyance about IOG is that once you create your account and start clicking offers…there’s no way to get back to the offers if you didn’t complete all of them in one sitting. I had to walk through the sing-up process (with my same account info) to get back to the offers. Yes the site is a bit wonkey.

Overall, I probably spent about $15 total (about $1 per trial offer) and I had one screw-up with the Trim-Life offer (didn’t know I had to cancel – so I got dinked shipping – although the refunded my subscription fee).

I started my Process around late Oct and I’m sure I’ll be waiting till Jan/Feb for my product. I’m patient though. I can wait.

I’ll have to post my experience when I’m done with mine.

Thanks for a great post.

Louis on December 9, 2005 AT 06 pm

Just went through the IOG survey wondering if I was opening myself to a big scam. This is why I am here now to allay my fears. I have emailed twice to confirm that I am on record after completing 6 purchases through their site. I find it strange that I signed up for all of these offers and the vendors have responded and charged me but I haven’t received a response from IOG to set up my account.
Your BLOG got me the info I needed (a phone number). I just finished talking with CS staff and they had my info on file and setup password/account for me. So now it is wait and see.
Thank you for posting this info.

nice ibook on December 22, 2005 AT 08 pm

This actually works. I received my Ibook today.

dianne on January 5, 2006 AT 01 pm

I have had the worst time on this thing. I answered the same questions several times! What is the deal. I even received a call from one of the vendors while still answering the same questions over and over. Anyone else have any suggestions?

Rob Fay on January 5, 2006 AT 02 pm

What questions did you need to answer? I’m confused…

ernie on March 6, 2006 AT 09 am

can i cancel when it says “in progress?” or do i have to wait until it says “approved”?

PAUL on March 22, 2006 AT 01 pm

Started my process March 12, 05 had many, many flaws generated from system, I didn’t attempt to get it resolved due to life/death happening, until June. I was advised to complete more offers. Finally got all of my certs January 12th. Received my iBook 12″ 1.33 gig yesterday. I does work, be patient.

Lee on April 20, 2006 AT 05 pm

I really wanted to get a 12′ powerbook and did a google search on free apple powerbook and found ‘’ …Do you know anything about this site? there another site that you know of where peple compare notes on these sites?..I’d thought of giving this a shot, but, like you, I dont want to involve anyone else i.e. getting others to sign up for credit cards, etc…and it seems doesnt lay it out it if you have to involve others until youre well into the process..thanks

robert on January 25, 2007 AT 07 pm

how can i get a free laptop with no scams
i need one for school but can’t afford one

Rob Fay on January 25, 2007 AT 07 pm


Nothing is ever free. You have to do your homework. The iBook experience worked for me because I determined that I would have to pay – but $250 or less (and waiting close to 6 months) is still better than paying $1000.

On the other hand, I saw another promotion recently that I looked into offering a MacBook Pro and a digital camera. However, when I looked at the products and services, it would have cost me as much as buying the stuff on my own.

Just do your homework. You can’t get anything for free, but this promotion did work for me.