Social Networking and Social Media Blog Launched

December 15, 2008

This blog for the free house giveaway is officially closed.

For those of you wishing to follow me, I’ve created another blog to discuss social networking and social membership websites at socialmarketingman.blogspot.com.  This blog is designed to de-mystify blogging, social media, social networking and how to use it to grow your business.

Sincerely
George

Donation to Citizens for Health

December 12, 2008

We’ve donated $150 to Citizens for Health as per Toni’s request.

picture-1

We are currently in discussion with Toni to rent the house to her on a rent to own basis.

We would like to thank everyone’s support in the event.  It’s been quite an adventure.

This will be our last post.

Sincerely
George

Prosperity

December 7, 2008

One of the things that came out of this event is the realization that many families are experiencing financial distress.  It has made me realized how blessed I am and grateful for what I have.

The stories have moved me deeply and I really want to do something to help these families.  Upon further pondering, I realize I can.  You see, I retired at the age of 32 and have learned a lot about prosperity, making money and marketing.  I am deeply concerned about the state of the economy and the direction this country is heading economically.  I recalled President Kennedy’s famous words “It’s not what your country can do for you, it’s what you can do for your country”.  What I can do is to share what I know to help people find prosperity.

The word prosperity comes from the word: “prosper”.  While many people associate prosperity to the word “wealthy”, this is not always true.  You see, prosperity is more a skill, than a statement of economic status.  A skill, like any skill, can be taught and mastered.  To prosper is to grow and thrive.  For example, if you plant a seed in the right condition, it will “prosper”.  Unfortunately, in our society, this is something that is not taught to our children.

I don’t profess to know it all, or even be an expert in this matter.  What I do know is that I’ve studied this subject more than most people on this planet through creating companies and value for humanity.  Being retired for the last 6 years has given me a lot of time to think, learn and grow.  I would like to share my knowledge on this matter with you as my contribution to helping turn our economy around.  It’s not much, but I am doing my part.  If enough people learn and use the skills I am sharing, perhaps we can create prosperity in our community and revitalize our community. It can’t hurt.

If you want to learn about prosperity, then all you have to do is email me at prosperity@i360connect.com.  I will be creating a blog to discuss this matter.  Given such short notice, I’ve not had a chance to put this site together (it takes a lot of work to do this).  If you are on the list, then I can notify you when the site is done.

Email me at prosperity@i360connect.com for more information.

Sincerely
George Tran

Ps. You can see an interivew about me at www.keanandgeorge.com which will tell you more about me and what I do.

Dept of Justice – Formal Notice

December 7, 2008

We were contacted by the Dept. of Justice informing us that our competition is not in compliance and they ordered us to shut the competition down or face a lawsuit.

We’ve been upfront, transparent and honest about this competition from the beginning, and I’ve done everything I can to keep the public informed of our progress every step of the way.  We meant no harm or dishonesty.  All we wanted to do was to offer a more creative way to sell our house while making it affordable to other families to possibly own the house free and clear.  We wanted to make someone’s wish come true and yet everyone come out with a win/win outcome.

As of Sat Dec 16th, 2008, we’ve closed this competition.  We’ve notified every contestant and refunded everyone’s money.  Our original intent was to donate the monies to charity but the State would not allow us to do this.

The property is still listed on the market for $230,000.  You can contact our agent Jody Draper at 541-729-5422 should you wish to purchase the house.

We are also making the house available on a rent to own basis for $1400/m with a $2000 deposit.  After 12 months, you will qualify for an owner financing purchase option.  We are also open for an owner financing sale with a $20,000 down payment.  This is a beautiful house in the country that you would be happy growing old with your loved ones in.

As off this writing, Toni Rakestraw has accumulated 90 votes, with Gina Osborne  coming second at 14 votes!  We would like to honor everyone who has shared their touching stories with us.  We honestly hoped we could have made some family very happy, but alas the State does not think we have the right to do this.  You may contact the Dept. of Justice via email at: Ebersole Eugene – eugene.ebersole@doj.state.or.us (Ph: (503) 934-4400) should you wish to voice your opinion.

Since Toni received the most votes, we contacted her and offered her the option to donate $50 to charity in her name.  She has graciously chosen Citizens for Health.  We will donate this to Citizens tomorrow.

We appreciate everyone’s support and interest in this property and welcome your feedback and comments.

Sincerely and humbly
George Tran

Problem with Digg

December 2, 2008

Well, we finally tracked down the problem with Digg.com.  It does not register vote count on comments.  We just could not figure it out and Digg support did not respond to our requests.

I spent the last few days reworking the instructions on how contestants should re-submit their stories.  I just posted these new instructions at freehouse2.wordpress.com.  I’ve included instructional videos on how to get it done.

I apologize for all the inconvenience caused and hope this time, we will have much more success.

Please put your comments to this post if you have any questions and I will respond as soon and as frequently as possible.

Sincerely
George

Got interviewed by CBS News/KVAL

November 21, 2008

Wow, got interviewed today by the lovely Laura Rillos from KVAL News.  I went out to the house, gave the news crew a tour of the house, and gave them the background story of the house.

My congratulations and thanks go out to Laura.  She did a fantastic job reporting the story accurately and fairly.

As a result of the airing, we’ve experienced another spike in our traffic.

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We’re unfortunately getting a number of reports that the public voting via Digg is not registering….this is horrible.  I have sent an email out to Digg support to ask them to see if they can fix the problem.   We might have to change to a more complex way of submitting the story so it will record diggs accurately.

Wed Nov 19th update

November 20, 2008

I received a request for interview with CBS today.  They will be visiting us on location to film a story tomorrow at 11am.  I am very excited.

I am so touched with so many stories that has come in.  One thing’s for sure, this event has really gotten a lot of people in the community (and abroad) inspired.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to unite so many people together.

I am particularly moved by this story:
http://digg.com/arts_culture/Can_t_Sell_house_I_m_giving_it_away_on_Digg?t=20885842#c20885842

Please lend your support and vote for Annette and Bonnie.

Sincerely
George

Our updated story thus far…

November 17, 2008

After consulting our real estate agent, Jody Draper from Keller Williams, he informed us that there is AT LEAST 11 months of inventory for properties in the area, and we have to prepared to wait till the market picks up like everyone else.

I recalled hearing something about a house giveaway and thought to myself, why not try something different…so, we brainstormed and figured out what could work, what could not work.  After coming up with a rough idea, we talked to our friends, and they love the idea.  Our original asking price was a $199 entry fee, and if we could not reach our $300,000 target, we would refund everyone’s money.  Then my friends said, that’s too much for them….so we asked them what would be a “no brainer” price, and they said $20….thus we set our price to $19.95.  We knew that we would need 15,000 entries to get this target but we were hopeful…we wanted to trust our faith on the will of God, and see what happens.

Our second objective is to help non-profits at the same time.  We know that this year will be a tough year for many people, and the donation pool would be less than better years.  We then thought, if we don’t meet our target, instead of refunding everyone’s money, why not donate it to charity.  People would not mind losing $20, if it would go to a good cause….so we picked three non-profits we liked: Habitat for Humanity, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and Citizens for health.

Thirdly, we know that this could generate a huge amount of response and didn’t want to have to deal with servers going down….so we though how can we use existing technologies without creating our own website….being an internet marketer and a technologist, I am familiar with Digg and WordPress.  We decided to use WordPress to host our site, and use Digg for voting.  We wanted to do something different than previous competitions where the judges made the decision….we wanted to let the Internet decide which story is the most worthy.   Digg has been around for years, and they are familiar with people trying to “game the system”.  So, we decided to use Digg as our voting mechanism.

Our other concern was legal.  So, we consulted our lawyer.  He said that according to our terms of service, this is a game of skill, which falls under a contest…which is not a lottery…which is purely a game of chance.  Only the State can operate a lottery.  So, with all these things figured out, we decided to launch the site with a press release on Oct 30, 2008.

We had to fine tune a bunch things to tweak the offering, and the site while things came in.  We sent emails to all our friends and asking them to tell their friends.  Then after we are satisfied with the site, and the process, we made a press release announcement to local TV/Radio/Newspapers in the Eugene area.

Within 24 hours, we received an interview request from KEZI TV station.  Paris from the station came and interviewed me on Saturday, and the first story aired on Sat evening at 11pm, 8th of Nov.

On Monday the 10th, there was a follow up story on KEZI featuring our story on 6 O’clock news!  It was a story announcing that this was a potential illegal lottery, with a very threatening tone from the Dept. of Justice.  The implication was very scary.  But this generated a tonne of interest.

The next morning, we received an interview request from the Register Guard.  They went to the property and interviewed me on Wednesday, and the story came out on Friday; on the front page of the City Region section.

This morning (Monday Nov 17), I received a phone call with a phone interview with the Seattle Post.  And a radio interview with “The Ron and Don Show”, News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM.

Over the weekend, we have received about 30 applicants.

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Viral Marketing

Some people have asked me, how can I possibly hope to get enough entrants to reach our $300,000 target.  Firstly, I think our story is quite novel, and should get sufficient media attention.  We added the $100,000 cash prize alternative for those who are not in Oregon and do not want to move here.

Secondly, unlike previous competitions, we are using the Internet as a voting body…not me.  By asking the contestants to drum up their own support….they will be highly incentivised to tell their friends to vote for them.  Once their friends read about the offer, they will either tell their friends or enter themselves….thus, it is my theory that by creating an environment that empowers the users to spread the news about the offer, that we will get a lot more attention than other offers of this type.

If each contestant tell 10 people, and each of those tell 10 people…the number of people who will know about our offer will escalate very quickly.

So, this is where we are as of now.  I will continue to blog our development and progress as more develops.

Monday Nov/17/08

November 17, 2008

As of today, we’ve received 30 paid entries.  Our bank account has $572.00 from dues – less Paypal’s fees.

We’ve spent $500 on a press release.

On average, we’ve received about 500 visitors a day, and sign-ups have been coming in steadily every day…this is very encouraging.

That’s the latest news and I will keep everyone posted.

Today, I will be making a video tutorial to show people how to vote on Digg for their favorite story.

Wow, Front Page News

November 14, 2008
Traffic stats for Nov 14

Traffic stats for Nov 14

We got front page news coverage on the Register Guard, Eugene’s largest newspaper for City/Local News!

Just wanted to share the latest traffic stats with everyone.  Today’s our highest traffic ever!


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