Update: Nobody who participated in the Billion Dollar Bracket challenge managed to get passed the first round of the NCAA tournament with a perfect bracket. It took only 25 games for everyone in the contest to be eliminated from the $1 billion prize
OK, I’m just going to come straight out and say it. If you play the Warren Buffet Quicken Loan / Yahoo Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge, you’re a sucker. Not a little one either. You’re one of those huge, multi-colored rainbow suckers that are so big that nobody can even eat all of it before getting sick.
It’s that time of year again. All my friends are talking about the NCAA college basketball March Madness tournament. This happens every year at this time, but this is the first time that they are all suckers. In past years, the entered various bracket challenges hoping to be the best of the best. This year they’re hoping to win $1 billion playing the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge. And it’s not even that they are talking about winning the $1 billion that makes them suckers. They know that the odds of them picking a perfect bracket are microscopic. They’re suckers because they believe that this contest is about their small chance of winning money. Suckers.
I’ve told them all that they are suckers. Each has reacted in almost the exact same way. I’m given a condescending look like I’m an idiot as they explain to me in the same tone they would to a two-year-old that it doesn’t cost a dime to play. It’s free. A chance to win $1 billion and it doesn’t cost anything to enter. Never has the adage, “If you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold” been more true than this contest. It’s advertising at it’s finest. My friends all think that they are getting this wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime chance to become a billionaire when the reality is all they’re doing is giving a company valuable information about themselves. It’s so valuable that the company would be willing to spend millions of dollars more than they are to obtain it, but they don’t have to. Instead, all the people playing the game are voluntarily giving them their personal information for free. Big suckers.
This isn’t a $1 billion bracket contest. Sure, it’s disguised and advertised as one, but it isn’t. Not even close. It’s nothing more than a stealth data mining operation. It’s a scam. It’s a way for them to get my friends and everyone else playing to give up what they want for free instead of having to pay others a lot of money to get that information. They are basically doing the same thing as holding up a shiny toy way out of reach, and while those playing stare at it and attempt to grab it, they take what they really want right out of their pockets. Big, fat, suckers.
Don’t believe me? Go to the contest page and see for yourself. If this were just a contest, why are you required to give so much personal information about yourself to sign-up that’s irrelevant to whether or not you win? Why do they need to know if you own a house, or if you have a mortgage? Because this has nothing to do with $1 billion that there is no chance that they will ever have to pay to anyone. It has everything to do with getting your personal information on the cheap. Tell your friend all you want. My guess is that they will be like mine. Big, fat, rainbow-colored, suckers.
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Paoli)