Well if you look around their site you see that basically you don't get a free site. You end up paying at least $50/month AND the prize is only for up to $400 of services. So what if what you want goes over $400? They let it slide? Nope, you pay for it.
$50 a month is only if you want a permanent webmaster. Yes, the website design is up to a $400 value, which can get you a pretty decent site and/or programming (whatever type of work you need done) but of course I'm a pretty small business myself and can't give out a huge, elaborate site with full custom programming that takes 6 months to build from a contest. I'd go out of business. Basically, this is a promotion for my company.
Sorry, I meant to answer that before and ended up getting wrapped up in the 2nd post. :-/
Don't worry, I won't do anything "evil" with the entries. I even state that in the contest Rules and Conditions where it says:
"The information provided for this contest will remain confidential with MercuryD Web Solutions and will not be transferred or sold to additional entities."
The only other thing that I could think of doing with the information on a personal note would be to maybe talk with an interested party about the type of work they want done, etc. because, after all, this is here to promote my company and what I do. Will I call you every hour rambling about "great deals" or start spamming you every day with porn sites? I don't think so. You have to remember I'm a small business here with me as the owner and some highly qualified subcontractors for when I get too much to handle (which won't be used for the contest winner btw because I'm obviously not going to be making any money from the winner to pay the subcontractors! :-)
But any way you look at it. If you're in the market for a website design and you win, you're getting a pretty good deal. Even if you're looking for a $1500 website, you still get $400 off what you would normally be charged, bringing the total design work down to $1100. Since I would personally snatch up on a deal like that myself, I figured it might be a good marketing idea and I fully intend to deliver the prize that I promise. I will also e-mail all the participants at the end and let them know who the winner was after 12/02/2002 so this won't just fall in to a "black hole".
Anyone can feel free to e-mail me with questions also. I'll probably respond a little quicker that way.
One more question: could you describe what $400 worth of web design actually means? It could be different things depending on whether your rate is $5/hr or $250/hr and how proficient you are with that hour.
Hmm. Well, I normally quote per job on a case by case basis depending on how complex a job is, how time-consuming it would be, etc. I don't charge by the hour in any case and the quote that I issue at the beginning is what I charge regardless of snags I run in to or in the event that I would need to re-design the look over and over (this has actually never happened but if I needed to re-design a site over and over to make a customer happy, I would do it).
In a normal circumstance, I have a $200 minimum for design (but this could also be bent if say someone just wanted me to fix a Perl script for $50) and a $200 site would be the most basic of sites. You'd have just a basic homepage with a contact form and maybe an about page. That type of thing. Currently, I am working with a $450 site which will include all your basic contact, about pages, etc. and a small catalog with a sort of "fake" e-commerce where if someone wants to buy a product it e-mails him what they want and he contacts them from there. He wasn't ready for full e-commerce yet. Another one I just recently finished I totally designed and wrote a full e-commerce store for in PHP and Perl complete with a back office for him to change the products in the store (yes, I did that all by hand) and his charges came to $1500.
Hopefully that will give you a little bit better of an idea of how I charge but if you want a rough quote on something you'd like done, feel free to e-mail me and I'd be happy to help you.