Monday, October 13, 2008

I am a typical teenager boy, 18 years old and a senior in high school up in old Michigan at the International Academy. Just like most teenagers I have my experiences with Myspace, Facebook and whatnot other teenager phases I have been through. I started my online-free time wasting with Myspace in 9th grade. At the beginning I was very satisfied with the possibilities it gave me, however after a while advertisement flooded the place. Most of this advertisement was clearly focused for teenagers, as I myself saw myself interested in many of the things advertised. However, as we are always told not to trust anything that we see online, a friend and me decided to put the biggest thing we saw online to the test. We all have seen the adds about "FREE RING TONES". However, the problem is whether these sides are trustworthy or not and with over 1.4 million websites out there advertising free ring tones, how do we know whom to trust.
We started our investigation by buying a phone with a phone card having only 20$ on it, so no matter what happens, our loss was limited. Then we went on Google and simply typed in "free ring tones". With 14,000,000 results and only a limited amount of free time in our schedule we had some sorting out to do. We decided to use the highest rated sites by Google and check how reliable they are. Because this is a project purely done for fun we do not want to mention any specific site names in order to stay out of trouble. Overall we tested 52 sites and not surprisingly most of these sides did not uphold what they promised.
The most important aspect to us was the information that we had to give out. While it was a given that we had to give out the phone number in order to receive the ring tones, some sites requested some other information, however to me giving out my phone number did not feel right and made me more uncomfortable than the other information that most sites asked for. The number 2 thing that was asked for was our E-mail address. This did not come as a big surprise and did not give me many problems since I have an E-mail address just for Spam therefore even if they did turn out to Spam, it would not have bothered me. After this is when it started to become more uncomfortable to give out information. About a third of the sites asked for contact information, name and address. We did provide this information truthfully in order to test this properly and be able to give proper feedback. I provided my information since when I did this, I was just about to move, therefore I provided my old address, which would forward my mail to my new address but only for 6 months, therefore not being able to annoy me with advertisement for too long. While I did receive tons of advertisement, it was not as bad as I thought (taking into consideration that I gave my address to 19 sites). Most of the advertisements received were for cell phones, signing up for horoscopes (paid horoscopes) and online surveys for money. While this did make getting and sorting the mail very annoying (besides the fact that it made my parents mad since we always had a full mailbox), it was not a big deal for me. The big thing that was a real pain in the butt where the text messages received by the sites. While we did receive the ring tone at every site we tried shortly after ordered, we also received many more text messages throughout the next weeks. These text messages were usually so called "weekly updates" on things we could get for out cell phones such the infamous people tracker, horoscopes, and the usual compatibility program for you and your significant other. While some sites sent no text messages at all, others sent only one a month, some even got all the way up to 2-3 a week. For people that have unlimited text messages this should not be a big deal, however if you do not this will cost you dearly.
After 2 months and going through 3 phone cards of 20$ each we came to the conclusion we thought we would come to. As with almost everything on the web, there are many good things out there, however many fake sites that are purely looking to rip you off outnumber them. Therefore be careful about what site you use, and no matter what you do, use your good friend Google and look for reviews before you sign up for anything. However, as we have seen, you also have to be careful with reviews since many are fake reviews made by the company itself. If you are interested in free ring tones, there are links on this site, however as I said, do not just trust me, check the site out, do your research and then make a decision.

As seen on tv abs
As seen on tv abs