Why The “Free Snuggie” Offer Is A Scam

I come across dozens of fake freebies every day. 99.99% of them quickly die, but like a crazy ex, some hang around and simply refuse to go away. Case in point, the “free Snuggie” offer that popped up in October. I still get an e-mail or two each day suggesting I post it, and while I hate to be the bearer of bad news, there's no way it's coming.

However, I thought I could use it to show how I vet freebies when I'm unable to contact the freebie company directly. So if you're interested in learning more about the process as well as following along while I hunt down who exactly is behind this spreebie (I just made that word up), then please read along. Warning, it's fairly lengthy.

First, what's up with their domain? Suzzly.com? Why isn't this on GetSnuggie.com, which is the Snuggie's official site? Furthermore, Suzzly's WhoIs info is hidden, which is the #1 sign of a freebie spam site. WhoIs is publicly available info on who owns a domain, kind of like a phone book for websites. For a fee, the info can be privatized, but I can't think of any company that does so. Instead, they put their office mailing address and a public 800 number so that their customers can reach them. A spammer, however, is most likely operating out of his/her/its home and doesn't want their info available, for obvious reasons.

As seen on TV? No, I've never seen Suzzly.com on TV.
As seen on TV? No, I have never seen Suzzly.com on TV.

Second, the signup page is an iframe, which is pulling from a second domain, SuzzlyPromo.com. An iframe is an old-school technique that in a sense is like a window on a website. It allows a webmaster to load part of a page from Site A and another part from Site B – usually this indicates they only own one of the sites. HIF's Coupons.com page is an example. The banner should look familiar – it's part of HIF! However, the coupons load in an iframe below. I don't manually own or update that section, Coupons Inc. does. It's a handy technique for many websites, however a legit company has little use for it. If they were offering a freebie of their own product, they could simply host the signup form on their own site.

Now let's get back to Whois info again. SuzzlyPromo not only has private info, but it was registered on Oct. 19, 2009. If hidden info is the #1 sign of freebie spam, a site registered hours before the freebie offer became available is #2. Spammers work in bulk and domains cost $10 a year ($20 if they privatize their info). Typically, a freebie spammer will set up a very basic site with a signup form and collect as many submissions as possible. However, before the year is up, folks like myself ID the site as spam and thus people stop signing up. The spammer will then simply delete the domain after a year and start the process all over again with a new domain and spreebie. If I see a site that was registered in late 2009 (or whatever the current date is), it's cause for further examination.

By now, I would have moved on to the next freebie since it's clear to me that this isn't legit, but let's keep digging. We submit our info, reach the confirmation page, and…Google Ads? Quick, name a large company that both (A) Gives away freebies and (B) Has Google Ads on their site. BZZZZZ, time's up. I notice that collectively we came up with zero examples. Now, Google Ads aren't evil or spamish at all, but they're used by smaller sites like HIF, not companies giving away freebies. Furthermore, check out the footer links on the confirmation page. They all go to a third domain, Spooluff.com. That domain doesn't even have a main site and two of the four links (Shipping & Contact) go to dead pages! The owner of Spooluff isn't a company, but some some random guy named Joshua Comeau, who lists his address as 96 St. Patrick, Toronto Canada, his e-mail as [email protected], and his phone number as 647-833-9673. Oh, and the domain was registered on October 9, 2009. How lovely.

Gaweb.com is a spamish directory (surprise!), the phone number plays a recorded “this number is not assigned to anybody” message when you call, and Google says the address is home to the Toronto Standard Condo Corporation, which certainly (although not definitively) looks like a residential complex. Furthermore, a Google search of “Joshua Comeau Toronto” pulls up this discussion from almost four years ago where a person by the same name in Canada was running freebie spam sites. I know, I'm shocked!*

Finally, if you call the phone number (206-337-7752) that's on Suzzly's site (and in the confirmation e-mail), you'll get a recorded message and then be given a prompt to hit # for more options. This is followed by “to enter your K7 security code, press 4” which means they're using K7.net, a free voicemail and fax system. Now come on. This supposedly legitimate company has the financial resources to give away tens of thousands of Snuggies (which retail for what, $10-$15 each?) but they can't afford anything more than a free telephone service for their clients? (edit: The number now plays a recorded message saying Suzzly.com is a spam site and that their snuggie offer is not legit! It looks like K7 received a few complains πŸ™‚ )

Now if you signed up for this, don't fret. No creeper will show up at your doorstep. You'll most likely start receiving more spam e-mail soon (which is why we suggest using a separate e-mail account for freebies instead of your personal or work e-mail!) and at the very worst, a few extra telemarketers will start calling. It doesn't ask for credit card or banking info, so you won't be out any money.

But this is what I get paid to do (apologies to my college History degree!) and perhaps this post has not only helped show how I judge freebies, but will maybe nudge this damned snuggie offer closer to the grave. The fewer sites harvesting our info, the better!

*I decided to keep following the Joshua Comeau trial, for my own personal enjoyment. The same Google search above brought up a message board profile for a JoshuaV, which lists his job as “affiliate marketer” and his location as Toronto. It also lists [email protected] as his e-mail, which when searched on social media sites, brings up Josh Volsh (Facebook), Josh (Myspace), and Joshua C (MSN Live). If I search for his new Josh Volsh name, more results pop up of him linking and advertising even more spam sites that I recognize from the past.

I contacted him via e-mail, asking if he would like to comment on this post, but so far I've yet to receive a response. I can't prove anything definitively that he's behind some of these spam offers, but there's enough circumstantial evidence here for me to never post anything he's associated with. If you happen to have any contact info for Josh, please join us on the forums and chime in. I really would love to talk to him…

66 comments on “Why The “Free Snuggie” Offer Is A Scam”

  1. Wow, two thumbs up for your hard work!! Thank you so much for sharing this info..I still see this spam banner all over, and never trusted it.

    Reply
  2. I just discovered your website after following a link from an All You online article, and I’m glad I did. This was a great story, and I bookmarked the site. My father and mother fell for a monthly fee survey, and the video professor. They are not allowed to sign up for anything unless they ask me first! Your website will be a great tool in helping them figure out what is a real offer, and what is Internet crap.

    Reply
  3. I did this back in October and am still awaiting my free snugglie. What I am getting now is a horrendous amount of spam. Good thing I provided my “junk mail” email….I’m getting at least 40 spam emails a day. Looks like I’ll be signing up for another email account. Thanks for the info., should of looked here first. If it’s too good to be true…then it is!

    Reply
  4. these crooks got a lot of contact info/email addresses from the off-topic section of BF.C and we shall exact our revenge!!!!!

    there are all kinds of legit freebies out there- it sucks that it is so difficult for your average idiot such as myself to determine between them.

    Reply
  5. Thanks, Goob, for letting us all know about these scammers. Your hard work and impressive vetting process are truly appreciated! I read through your article and the forum post; I didn’t know that Video Professor was a dud! I’ve been seeing the company’s ad on TV for some time and always wondered what the catch was… I’ve also been sucked into signing up for a Dengaku freebie or two πŸ™ Thanks again and happy holidays!

    Reply
  6. The problem is many of them operate outside of the United States, which create a million and one hurdles to clear in order to punish them. With limited resources, authorities tend to pass over spam harvesters unless they are directly draining funds from people’s bank accounts (which these guys aren’t).

    Reply
  7. Goob, thanks for all of the effort you put into posting legitimate freebies and offers for us – we love going to the mailbox now ’cause the mail isn’t all bills now!

    Also, thanks for this great article re: spammers and how this particular one turned out. Appreciate all of your research and all you do before you post. Just now had a chance to read what you had discovered.

    Take care and have a great week!

    Reply
  8. Goob, It is nice to know that there are still down to earth people out there that just want to help others out. I watched your youtube and I think it is safe to say that we Thank you just as much as you thank us. Thanks a bunch and have a great Holiday!!!

    Reply
  9. Wow, Thanks! I’ve never seen Suzzly on T.V before. That sounds like a scam anyway because snuggies are basically new things, and they are still hitting stores nationally, so why would they give somebody a free snuggie? BTW I have a pink Snuggie and I love it! A dog of my family members’ has the dog snuggie, it is so cute! Thank you for making sure that freebies are not scam spreebies(Love the word!)

    Reply
  10. After reading this post I am glad that I always give a fake # when signing up for freebies. Also, alot of freebies wants your birthday to verify that you are 18 years old. I always put down a fake birthday too! There is no telling what they are doing with all your personal info. Only give what is required to get the freebie, & always protect personal info!

    Reply
  11. Also, why would someone in Toronto have an American phone with an area code for Seattle? 206 is Seattle metro area, including Bainbridge, Mercer and Vashon Islands.

    Reply
  12. Thank you soooo much for that very interesting and informative dialogue on spammers, I had absolutely no idea what was involved!! I think I love your mind!!!!

    Reply
  13. Thanks for tracking all that down…very interesting. I did not sign up for the blanket/slanket…whatever…I thought it looked fishy.

    Reply
  14. See? This is why, whenever I have a freebie that I’m not sure to post because it looks a little “iffy”, I field it through these guys first! They know what they are doing =).

    Reply
  15. I started out as a History major and switched to Anthropology! Now I know what history majors do. They use their research talents to do things like this to benefit mankind! Amazing how much work goes into vetting freebies for us freebee junkies. Your knowledge is awesome. Thank you for sharing your knowledge andThank you thank you thank you for this site.

    Reply
  16. i saw the whois stuff when i googled it way back..and yes, i must confess i did that AFTER signing up…..but like u said only junk email addy used..thats why its very important to really really trust these freebie offers that require a credit card even with 0 balance…and yes, old prepaid giftcards r best for those too….so my question is this……….Do “Spammers” really make enough cash to hassle with all the spamminess? and risk trials and such?…i mean do all the super wealthy browse freebie offers? (i thought i was the only one?!)..hey i thought that guy looked like Nicholas Cage!…..

    Reply
  17. Thanks for all your hard work! You do an awesome job and it’s appreciated, and just so you know I plan on using the word “spreebie” as often as I can work it into conversation just to show you how much you’re appreciated!!!

    Reply
  18. Very interesting, and nice detective work. I signed up for that freebie, but even as I was doing it I knew, no way was it coming, in fact I even stated that on the site that offered it. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  19. I love you, man!

    Thanks for your hard work and efforts to save us from ourselves when it comes to spam. You’re the only one for me.

    Reply
  20. omg!! you get paid to do this? thats crazy and awesome!!

    aww and thanks. no snuggie for me πŸ™ what will i do when i want to walk around in a comfortable fleece that wont fall off?

    Reply
  21. Yeah, I’ve used InterNIC for years to look up sites that look like they have potential of being scam sites.

    A lot of the time, if you call the number in the info, it’s another company’s ( well, a real company’s ) phone number, or non-existant.

    Reply
  22. Awesome work! I appreciate all the freebies you post. Speaking of offers, the McDonalds I work at is offering a free coca-cola glass with the purchase of a large extra value meal. You can also purchase them separatly. We’re offering a different color each week for 4 weeks. Pretty good deal with Christmas coming. Everyone needs to check their local McDonalds to see if theirs is offering this deal. Thanks for all your hard work!

    Reply
  23. Thanks for the info Goob! I’m one of the one’s that signed up for the snugglie, oh well, I should have known it was too good to be true! It’s really weird but for the past month I’ve been getting some extra telemarketing calls. I wonder if it was from that site, ughh!

    Reply
  24. You are awesome Goob. Glad you do this for us. I usually check it off and on several times thru out the day. I really appreciate the time and effort you put forth in compiling these lists and all of these fabulous freebies.The way I found your website is our local TV station did a feature about websites that can get you free stuff. I have been following your site ever since. You are the best.

    Reply
  25. Goob-
    Are you 100% positive about the info from WhoIs? I have never heard of the site before and thought it would be fun to check my own website, cherokeegreenhouses.com, It showed that I own 447 domains. I own 2 the before mentioned and this one Northeastoklahomagreenhouses.com. It shows my address as being from Sunnydale CA. I am Located in Locust Grove, OK. I know that I do not know much about reading the info from WhoIs but it seems weird to me. Just saying.

    Reply
  26. Great article! I never knew about the Whois website, and that is definately something I just added to my favorites. Great way to check into businesses. Even the SeeHere website, there is no phone number and I’ve used their “contact” button and sent them emails, but haven’t gotten a response. So, I put their name in the Whois site and got a phone number. They are in NY, so I’ll have to call them tomorrow on the problem with my order. So, very valuable info in your article indeed. Thanks for everything and keep up the good work!

    Reply

Leave a Comment