Friday, January 12, 2007

How Bill Gates Went Broke

I have to share this email from a very dear friend of mine who I can only hope sent it to me as a joke; the name is being withheld to protect the (hopefully) innocent. According to Snopes, variations of this particular gag have been bouncing from mailbox to mailbox since 1997. This is the “Bill Gates wants to go broke” incarnation. We’ll go through it bit-by-bit to look at all the tell-tale signs of an email hoax.


Lots of capitalized text is a good indicator of nonsense, since apparently ANYTHING IS MORE BELIEVABLE IF YOU TYPE IT IN ALL CAPS.

To all of my friends, I do not usually forward messages,

Of course, that line was presumably written by the instigator of the chain, so they’re technically not forwarding the message. They just expect millions of other gullible people to do it for them.

But this is from my friend Pearlas Sandborn and she really is an attorney. If she says that this will work - It will work. After all,What have you got to lose?

The old “what have you got to lose?” line is a favorite in chain letters. After all, what’s the risk of losing the good will of all the friends in your email address book compared to the negligible possibility that Bill Gates is giving away billions of dollars for no good reason.

SORRY EVERYBODY.. JUST HAD TO TAKE THE CHANCE!!! I'm an attorney, And I know the law. This thing is for real. Rest assured AOL and Intel will follow through with their promises for fear of facing a multimillion-dollar class action suit similar to the one filed by PepsiCo against General Electric not too long ago.

I don’t remember any such lawsuit; do you? It must have happened, though. Even though I should remember a multi-million dollar lawsuit fought between two of the world’s largest corporations, surely a LAWYER wouldn’t be making this up! I mean, her friend used her name in the letter and everything!

Dear Friends: Please do not take this for a junk letter

Perish the thought! I’m really starting to believe this, people. The author of this letter is INCREDIBLY PERSUASIVE.

Bill Gates sharing his fortune. If you ignore this, You will repent later.

Important messages like this always make major grammar errors, like leaving the verbs out of sentences. These messages are so important, you just HAVE to send them right away, without running a spelling/grammar check or anything.

I also like the quasi-Biblical threat (since no one uses "repent" in normal communications).

Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet companies and in an effort to make sure that Internet Explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.

Obviously, the best way to insure the continued success of a WEB BROWSER is to run a massive EMAIL beta test that throws away money.

When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it (If you are a Microsoft Windows user) For a two weeks time period. For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $245.00 For every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243.00 and for every third person that receives it, You will be paid $241.00. Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact you for your address and then send you a check.

Absolutely TRUE! And Microsoft also uses this technology to track down terrorists and turn them in to the government. That’s how we caught Osama Bin Laden and utterly destroyed Al-Qaeda! Oh, wait…

Regards. Charles S Bailey General Manager Field Operations
1-800-842-2332 Ext. 1085 or 904-1085 or RNX 292-1085

This is unquestionably a real person with a real title, and I have no doubt those numbers are legit.

Thought this was a scam myself, But two weeks after receiving this e-mail and forwarding it on. Microsoft contacted me for my address and within days, I received a check for $24, 800.00. You need to respond before the beta testing is over. If anyone can affoard this, Bill gates is the man. It's all marketing expense to him. Please forward this to as many people as possible. You are bound to get at least $10, 000.00

Let me try doing a little math, here. The version of this that I got was apparently forwarded four times. The number of “To” addresses in the forwards varied from twelve to thirty-five. If we’re conservative and guess that the average victim forwards this to ten acquaintances, that’s over 2.6 million dollars in advertising expenses in just four chain links. If this conservative chain continued one link per day for the two weeks this promotion is supposedly running, Bill and company would need to pay out over 2.3 QUINTILLION dollars (2.3 million billion or $2,320,000,000,000,000)! That’s over 46 thousand times what Microsoft earns in a year (before expenses). It’s also about 900 times the 2006 budget of the United States.

Are we seeing the nonsense, yet?

We're not going to help them out with their e-mail beta test without getting a little something for our time. My brother's girlfriend got in on this a few months ago. When I went to visit him for the Baylor/UT game, she showed me her check. It was for the sum of $4,324.44 and was stamped "Paid In Full".

And just for some added internal inconsistency, we have this conundrum (which actually reiterates a problem I skipped over earlier in the letter). What good is it for us to forward this email – which is part of a TWO WEEK beta test – if some guy's girlfriend got into it and got paid MONTHS ago? Supposedly you get paid a couple of weeks after you forward the letter, meaning THE PROMOTION IS OVER BEFORE ANYONE GETS PAID. If people have already gotten paid, there is absolutely NO CHANCE that you will get any renumeration for forwarding this email, even if it weren't a hoax from the start.

Can we stop forwarding nonsense like this now?


Todd Sayre said...

It's like Pascal's Wager. Forwarding the e-mail doesn't really cost them anything and the pay off, if it is true, is quite large.

Is it any wonder that both Pascal's Wager and these sorts of e-mail chains and scams are so popular?

Chris said...

For someone who attempted to collect awhile back, I laughed when I got this email again. No payoff.... boo hoo. Ha!

Amy said...

I'm one of the internet VICTIMS,where i paid my MBA tuition fees OOOH GOD,I'm still depressed but what i did is that i copied this page and i sent it to 100 of ma friends and i wish the 100 will send it to another 100 and then we won't have internet victims...I wish the silly one who's sending the emails to GO TO HELL :(

mikki said...

I honestly can not believe I received this email today, December 7, 2007. The first time I saw it was in the late 90's. I can't understand why people still believe this crap.

Dana said...

I received this from my cousin today, April 2, 2008. It is sad to think that anyone is still that gullable.

Jennifer said...

I received it today, 02/18/2009, from a friend who recently ran for city council in a pretty sizable town. Thank god she lost!!!

Anonymous said...

I just received it 1/27/2010, when will it end!!!!

pooter9909 said...

yep 2010 and i got it in a pogo message not even a email..lmfao. seen this long long time ago and im shocked its still going around.

David Michael said...

"My brother's girlfriend got in on this a few months ago. When I went to visit him for the Baylor/UT game, she showed me her check. It was for the sum of $4, 324.44 and was stamped 'Paid In Full'.:My brother's girlfriend got in on this a few months ago. When I went to visit him for the Baylor/UT game, she showed me her check. It was for the sum of $4, 324.44 and was stamped 'Paid In Full'."

Banks don't stamp "Paid In Full" on their checks.


Anonymous said...

I work in IT and someone in my company just sent it to me today (Feb 2, 2011) to ask if I "knew anything about" it.
I really think this one will never die.

Anonymous said...

furthermore, if microsoft really IS giving out money like what the writer said, aren't we suppose to forward an email WRITTEN by microsoft and not him (the writer) ?