AOL/Intel Merger

Summary

You can get free money from Microsoft on behalf of AOL/Intel by forwarding the email.

Circulation: 1999

Status: Hoax

The Debunking

There is no merger between AOL & Intel. This scam came out on the internet in 1999 after being retooled from an earlier Microsoft/AOL merger. Boy, AOL is sure busy merging!

I’ve dissected this one just so you can see how dumb this email really is…

To all of my friends, I do not usually forward messages, but this is from my good friend Pearlas Sanborn and she really is an attorney. If she says that this will work – it WILL work. After all, what have you got to lose?

Who is this Pearlas Sanborn? Where does s/he practice? Who authorized Pearlas Sanborn to start this letter? It is neither sanctioned by or sent by either AOL or Intel and there are no links back to an official website that tells the details of this program. I looked. Do an internet search of “AOL/Intel merger” and see the results for yourself.

I did a search of the internet and the only other reference to a Pearlas Sanborn is a Pilates instructor with a couple of impressive letters after her name (see this page for details). The American Bar Association has listings of 25 lawyers named Sanborn, but not one named Pearlas. I even looked (in case s/he married) for anyone with the first name of Pearlas and, no surprise… zippo!

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.

Take the chance on what? That it might not be true? If you are an attorney and you know this is real, why say that you had to take the chance?

What would AOL gain in a merger with Intel? AOL is already the largest internet communications provider and Intel makes computer chips. A merger between AOL & Intel would gain exactly ZERO internet users from Intel, a company that doesn’t deal with internet customers. Besides, AOL merged with Time/Warner, the parent company of CNN News, Time Magazine & Warner Bros. Intel was talking about merging with Compaq in 1998, but that fell through.

Dealing with the supposed lawsuit Pepsico v G.E. – Pepsico makes soft drinks and G.E. makes electrical products. The two are in no way connected in a way that one would sue the other. Besides, a class action suit is one where a company is sued by a class of people (such as smokers suing a tobacco company) not one company suing another. Any first year law student knows the difference. Bottom line: There never was such a lawsuit.

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”. Like I said before, I know the law, and this is for real.

There it is, folks – get something for nothing! That’s the hook.

I don’t know about any of you, but when I get a check and take it to my bank, they don’t stamp it “Paid In Full” and hand it back to me so I can go showing it around to all my friends.
Skipping the fact that there is no e-mail beta test and no such thing as beta tracking, the original version of the letter said: “If you don’t believe me you can email her at jpiltman@baylor.edu .” Needless to say, Baylor never issued an e-mail address to a jpiltman and this version is stripped of that little fact.

Intel and AOL are now discussing a merger which would make them the largest Internet company and in an effort make sure that AOL remains the most widely used program, Intel and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.

Again, no merger is scheduled. Check out either of their websites and see for yourself. Intel has no internet yearnings and there is no such thing as an e-mail beta test.

When you forward this e-mail to friends, Intel can and will track it (if you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two week time period.

Exactly how do they track it? Think of it in snail-mail terms: I send a letter to my friend Bob, who forwards it to his friend Sam. I can send the letter “return receipt requested” and when Bob gets it, I will be notified. When he sends it to Sam, no one notifies me that Sam received it. “Ah,” you say “This involves internet technology! It can be done.” How, I ask? In order for this to be done, there has to be some way that Intel gets word that you have forwarded the message to X number of people, such as a program that tracks messages that you forward. It can be done in one of three ways:

  1. The program has to be attached to the message AND forwarded each and every time to everyone.
  2. It can be installed on every ISP mail server so that when you forward the message, it gets read by your provider’s server and sends a copy to Intel.
  3. You have to forward a copy to some address at Intel (since they are supposedly tracking this) so that they can tell how much you earned

The problems with this are:

  • Where is the program? No such program is included in Windows. There was no program attached to my message, nor any evidence that it was ever attached to any version upstream of my copy. So, someone up there screwed all of us out of our money by not forwarding the program as well as the message.
  • AOL and Intel have to have the permission of each and every ISP to put a program on their servers, and THAT would’ve made big headlines. Check your ISP to see if they have such a program.
  • Since none of the messages were forwarded to Intel, they have no way of knowing who you sent the message to or who sent it to you.
  • Oh, and by the way, if someone wants to claim that this involves some new technology, there is no such program in existence. It, too, would have made big headlines. And, where does that leave Macintosh and Linux users? Don’t they get a share in the booty?

For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $203.15.
For every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $156.29.
And for every third person that receives it, you will be paid $17.65.
Within two weeks, Intel will contact you for your address and then send you a check.

Let me get this straight… AOL and Intel are merging, yet Microsoft is paying you for forwarding? I thought Microsoft and AOL were competing for the internet users. Oh, wait – they must mean Intel is paying… Methinks that the person that wrote this forgot to change the Microsoft part when they adapted it from the Microsoft/AOL merger hoax, which never happened.
Now, on to more economic matters: I forward this message to 10 people, who forward it to 10 people, who forward it to 10 people. I would get $3,770.90 for just 10 people. Multiply that times the number of people that I forwarded this message to (40) and, assuming that each forwarded it to 10 more people, who forwarded it to 10 more and yet another 10 more – Microsoft would be paying $150,836 for just the first level. Assuming that the figure below ($4,543.23) is what one person received and there are 10,000 people that participate (it’s not that difficult), that would be more than $45,432,300. For what? Forwarding a message that didn’t even originate from either AOL, Intel or Microsoft. Let me tell you something, no company has THAT much money to blow for frivolous marketing of some scheme that can blow up in their faces when more than a million people get wind of it.

I thought this was a scam myself, but a friend of my good friend’s Aunt Patricia, who works at Intel, actually got a check of $4,543.23 by forwarding this e-mail.

Not likely. If you read the terms of any promotional, you will most likely find a disclaimer something like this: “Contest is void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years or more to enter. Employees and family not eligible.” So, this friend of Aunt Patricia’s couldn’t have entered, unless Intel is willing to shell out possible millions to employees, who would get first-hand knowledge of this and get in on the action before any of us ever heard of a deal. I checked the AOL website as well as the Intel and there is nothing on either site.

Try it, what have you got to lose????

How about your reputation when you realize that you passed a hoax on to all your friends? How about the feeling of gullibility when you realize that Intel has never contacted you? The fact is, someone designed these hoaxes to see how gullible you really are. The only thing these hoaxes do is clog up mail servers and waste everyone’s time.

Conclusion

There are no mergers that are going to pay you money for forwarding messages and companies are not going to pay millions upon millions of dollars in merchandise (Gap, Miller, Columbia House, Cracker Barrel, etc) just for forwarding these scams. Don’t buy into the something-for-nothing or get-rich-quick schemes. You are more intelligent than that, right?

Links

Wired Magazine article from 2007

Snopes.com addresses these hoaxes

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