The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Friday, December 17, 2004
No Such Thing as a Free Lunch iPod

Apologies for the lack of entry yesterday, work was a bit ca-razy yesterday. Anyways, I hope today's post will hopefully make up for it as it involved a little more effort than TUL usually brings forth to the blogging table.

A few weeks ago The Diamondback ran an article about Michael Sumner, a Maryland undergrad that set up a website whose purpose was to promise visitors that they would receive a free gift, such as an iPod or Xbox, in exchange for buying supposed items called "eBooks." It was a matrix program, similar to ones found on sites such as, where the more people one consumer referred to the website, the faster that user would receive their assumed free prize.

As the cofounder of, which promises consumers who sign up a free gift, like an iPod, in exchange for paying a small fee, Sumner is using the free gift incentive that has been passed around in e-mails and AIM profiles as a tactic to promote his future online electronics business and not as a tactic to scam consumers.

While Sumner guarantees everyone who signs up will receive their gift, he plans to eventually stop the promotion and use the lists of consumers to build up the website's clientele for when they turn it into an online electronic store. Sumner also said people on the list can expect to wait about a month for their gift to arrive.

After the publicity stunt is phased out, they plan to buy electronics in bulk and sell them at a cheaper rate than competing companies.

Apparently, no one knew that Sumner's diabolical scheme was about to serve nearly 100 unsuspecting suckas. The Upstate Life headed over to the website last night to see if the so-called free gift program was still live and functioning. What soon appeared on the screen was nearly jaw-dropping had it not been for Lindsay finding out she was an illegitimate love-child on The OC last night:

Thanks to everyone who participated? in my dissertation on internet fraud. After only one week, I fooled over 100 people into giving me almost $1,000. I tricked college students, businessmen, blue collar workers, and a Diamondback reporter :) I feel that I have enough information to write my paper, so I'm calling it quits. I'm going to be writing primarily about matrix schemes and their allure (the focus of my study), but I'll cover other types of internet fraud including but not limited to pyramid and Ponzi schemes. I hope everyone who participated learned a valuable lesson about getting something for nothing. Take care and best wishes.

-Michael Sumner

Holy shit. The only thing The Upstate Life can say is, way to go dude. The fact that he even deceived the reporter made this story even more amusing than your average Craigslist Missed Connection posting, sans the fact a ton of people just got Effed in the A of course.

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