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Today, we’re going to look at the legitimacy of Gokano, another active site competing for your attention whilst offering free prizes for allegedly small effort. With any site that offers free prizes, we always want to look at the legitimacy of it over time.
Previously, Frugal for Less has looked at Gokano, so I’m here to offer my own review of how I think the site is currently functioning. We’ll find out if it’s a scam or legit, how it works, what it is and if it’s worth it or not.
What is Gokano: A Refresher
Gokano is a free, virtual point-based service that operates around its user answering small daily questions, inviting friends, and completing offers.
Depending on the task, you’ll either earn GN (colored in gold) or VP (colored in green). VP tasks usually require you fulfilling an online offer or downloading an app in such a way that Gokano.com will earn revenue.
For prize redemption, GN goes towards items that are available by an in-stock basis whereas VP can be applied to some stock-based items but primarily towards items that are available always.
In short, assume VP as the prime currency that you’re required to work for. It’s required for many of the prizes as well as GN. To speed this along, you can also convert also convert GN to VP.
With this very broad overview accomplished, let’s begin looking at Gokano from the outside and then how it looks as a new user.
Front Page Void: First Impressions
Whenever I’m greeted with a new website whose whole goal is to get me to sign-up for a service, I want it to look good like suitable effort was put in.
Gokano does a rather lackluster job of making their site seem inviting. There’s a large Google AdSense advertisement at both the top and bottom as the first and last items you see (or a blob of nothing if you have an adblocker on), and the actual login bar has the registration and password reset text tightly hugging the password field to the point it almost encroaches into the text box.
Right below this, however, the site shows some more understanding of spacing with its three-step process outline of how to use Gokano.
It’s an inconsistency matter that might appear insignificant to other users, but if you’re going to invest your time in their service then I feel a company should be doing the same.
This might appear like complaining off-hand, but as we dig deeper into Gokano, you’re going to see there are a lot of short cuts that they take in terms of effort.
The video at this same tier doesn’t say much about the process besides that it’s simple, and you’ll earn prizes. Conspicuously, there’s no peer user vetted reviews anywhere on the front page.
Some more popular survey sites take this approach, and it always made me feel a lot better when signing up.
The small images of the t-shirt, tablet, laptop, and cell phone suggest a lot of loftier prizes; we’ll see how truthful that is when we get to our discussion of the store and prizes sections of the user panel later.
As a closing graphic, Gokano just chooses to focus on that its prizes can be shipped anywhere in the world. As a final message, I didn’t get much all in all from the front page besides Gokano wanted you to know there are free prizes involved.
Still, I wanted to give Gokano the benefit of the doubt, so I figured it best to at least look at the supplemental information pages. It could easily have been I just wasn’t resonating with their front-page sales strategy.
Suffice it to say, the low-effort approach wasn’t only on the first page.
Not Much Here: Information Pages
So, ultimately, the about us page of Gokano is the same video located on the front page.
But this description solely recounts the buzzwords from the front page while basically stating the same information as the video.
One might argue there isn’t a lot to say about the prize site that relies on user traffic, but it’s a really empty page for anyone wanting to feel or learn anything about the company. Of course, Gokano.com had a separate FAQ section, and these sometimes rectify the mistakes.
The FAQ section also happens to be incredibly short. It roughly addresses basic questions such as how to earn GN points, but it also can cause more confusion with some of the half-effort replies included.
For those interested, the breakdown as provided by the FAQ is such:
How Many Points Will I Receive For Each Task?
- for inviting a member – 1GN
- for daily log-ins and clicking GET DAILY GN – 1GN
- for daily missions – 1GN or more
- for social and extra missions – Differently”
The term “differently” doesn’t really properly address the earnings. You can infer that there’s a bit of a language barrier at different stages with the website with some of the English in-use. Still, I feel this is where screening would have been a lot more important for their company.
Also, it does address that you might not be able to get the prize that you’re wanting with your GN points. However, Gokano.com only partially answers the question: “Prizes are available during restocks (big, mini or fast). Big Restocks are usually once in about 40 days. The dates of restocks will be announced on our official fanpage as well as in the news on Gokano.com.”
While it does address what big restocks are, I have no idea what mini or fast restocks are. This information isn’t available elsewhere on their site even after becoming a user.
Similarly, it mentions the three types of missions: daily, social, and extra; it doesn’t make any effort to answer what they roughly entail. Instead, the user is left without any option but to sign-up for it and simply explore as a member.
The FAQ and About Us section usually serves to invite users in while addressing concerns. Frankly, Gokano just comes off as more cryptic and confusing while leaning towards that scam territory feeling.
Still with this much time invested, I wondered if maybe there was more information to dig through.
Glancing at the terms page confirms that Gokano is located out of Poland. Also, it does make nod to the fact that “Operator has 36 working days to send the Prizes and Objects bought in the Service store.”
This detail will become important later when looking at some outside critiques on Gokano.com.
Nothing outright here confirmed that the site was a scam; it did seem like some shadier business practices were coming up. Still, all of this just made me want to experience Gokano.com for myself.
Registering for the Elite Club
So, as Gokano.com self-adorned itself as an elite club, I wanted to see what it was like joining this now questionable clubhouse.
I entered a fake set of information at first, but there’s a required email confirmation, so if you want to warily join, I would suggest doing so via a very purpose specific email. A phone number is required for contact purposes, so one can only assume it’s for mailing off your prizes.
However, it doesn’t require you to enter your full address but rather just your zip code. This seemed strange in prioritization for me, but it mentions on the privacy page that it would ask for your address later.
Still, if you’re someone wary of sharing your phone number, there’s some vague language as to the actual use of your private information: “To personalize user’s experience and to allow us to deliver the type of content and product offerings in which you are most interested.”
You could maybe try contacting the operator via the email buried in the terms page to confirm how your phone number is used, but it was another tiny red flag popping up amongst a small number already.
After clicking register, you have to confirm it via email. It’s pretty instant, and I didn’t find it buried in my spam folder. Afterwards, you’re going to be hit by a message saying to turn off your ad blocker, or you can’t continue.
While I understand it can sometimes get in the way of how a site works, it’s annoying when actually accessing features that don’t rely on it.
Combined with the early phone number grab, it screams questionable usage to me, but I continued onwards just to see the result. Still, the mounting decision-making shouldn’t be screaming this loudly that it’s not in your best interest.
Nothing on the user portal looked like it utilized ads, so I wondered if there was some questionable data gathering that an ad blocker might interfere with.
With this, I was at my portal and ready to preview the rest.
Looking at the Dashboard
Upon first glance, it looked like all of the design effort went into the dashboard section. There were clickable links, and I was able to answer the daily mission rather easily. All it asked was whether or not I had any VP points in a simple yes or no format.
The points updated quickly on the account, and it was easy enough to click the missions or friend referral links afterwards to get to the next stage. It didn’t seem too bad at this stage, and the referral method could be done via URL or form.
So with a cautious note of optimism, I decided to scroll on down.
Before moving on though, my eyes caught that were some updates at the bottom. The first posted news bit stated: “Next Big Restock will take place between 24th and 26th July!
There will be no restock alert, everyone has equal chances :) Restock can taken on either 24th, 25th or 26th July 2018. It will be a surprise, restock can happen any time, so keep your eyes open.”
None of this seemed professional with the emojis, and the guise of fairness just made it so there was no definite time or way to prove if an item was ever in stock for the average user.
It sounded really sketchy while trying to sell itself as an equal opportunity for everyone. Still, I wanted to see what the rest of the functioning portions of the site were like.
Let’s Do It Daily
Looking at the history of daily missions suggests a lot of what Gokano presents itself as. You complete a simple question task like picking between two items, or you answer a question that requires a simple one-word answer.
There wasn’t anything that I could find fault with since it was an easy tie-in to the point system.
If Gokano.com were exclusively this kind of data gathering site, it’d be a nice add-on for a list of survey sites. However, it’s obviously not as simple at the site goes on to suggest.
Let’s Try Social
I’m not a big fan of sites that require obligatory reposting, and the social missions avoided any of those kinds of grinding (and possibly annoying to your friends/peers) quests.
It had the typical visit, subscribe, or follow options where you can get the point and then opt out of any further communication.
Glancing at Facebook and Instagram for Gokano showcased very non-interactive posts, but they at least had some social presence and likes accompanied. Still, there were some large time gaps on Instagram that seemed telling of effort again.
I didn’t mind this approach and Gokano.com seemed fine with this kind of one-off mission.
Let’s Go Beyond: Extra and Fast
This is really the only mission that was a bit of a head-scratcher. They’re basically an extension of Gokano’s offers since it requires you to download and app and submit evidence of your use of said app to get points.
All the links were dead; and the apps were removed from the Google Play Store.
It seemed rather shady here since there’s pretty clear monetization off the shortened URLs here. It didn’t suggest any credibility in terms of companies partnered with or care for what Gokano was exposing its users to.
These apps had to be removed for some kind of store violation, so it came off as just a cash grab for potentially non-legal or damaging applications.
The fast missions had not appeared within 336 hours as of my writing of this article, so there was nothing to comment on them besides they looked like easy bonuses where you’d answer a question regarding one of their affiliates for another click-based cash grab for Gokano.
People would provide the answers to these on Facebook sometimes.
Basically, these missions were the start of Gokano’s pledge of easy interaction of coming across shadier relative to the prize-earning scheme. And this continued well into offers where it became even more risking of its users for money.
Let’s Tempt With Offers
As we established earlier, VP is your premium currency since it is used on both stock-based items and on readily always available prizes.
As such, the offer wall is the biggest baiting section of the user portal. It became pretty clear why ad blockers had to be disabled when looking here.
Every offer was what any ad and spam blockers would prevent you from seeing during normal Internet browsing.
I had one entire offer site blocked due to it being hazardous and threatening to install unsafe software onto my machine, one that didn’t load, and an array of ones that it didn’t take too long to dismiss as they wanted you to start payment or sign-up to undesirable services.
For the wary user, these are the kind of content that scream scam once again.
It’s an undeniable money grab at user expense for anyone not knowledgeable about that kind of content to click on and sign-up in order to earn VP for ‘free.’
Although pretty disgusting at this stage, it seemed like it would be appropriate to look at the prizes and store still since that’s what the user would most like to know about.
What’s There to Shop For
The first thing to note here is literally that all the image files were broken for every single item in the prize and store section, so you had no idea what you were looking at. I did this on every single browser that I had access to (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari).
They were all updated to the newest version; I saw nothing in any of the informational pages at the start to suggest there was a specific browser or version that was required.
Gokano.com had basically assured itself as a shady site at this point with the countless cases of the site lacking any credible care for what it was posting. On top of this was the fact that there were cases of further deliberate clarity ambiguity.
I noticed this at first with the Razer Deathadder since I had a background in gaming. It doesn’t at all state what version of the mouse is available in description form, so you could easily end up with one of the oldest and out-of-date versions despite the point gap.
It felt like a very deliberate bait in which Gokano.com used a brand name without proper understanding of what they were offering that made me wonder if the item was even ever in stock.
This occurs with other items such as just a generically labeled mouse (random mouse with random color) or Steam keys (random game code with no guarantee that it isn’t expired).
Furthermore, a lot of the cheaper items such as a PayPal cash out or headphones now require a mix of VP to prevent the prizes being as easy an addition as suggested.
Adding a gambling element to the site didn’t feel like an appropriate measure given what was already required for the user to be able to purchase said items.
I shouldn’t have been surprised by this additional poor form that could exploit a select, possibly addicted, user base given the broken images and how the offers worked, but it felt like an added slap to the face. Accountability seemed to be as evasive as ever by the site.
All items are also always out of stock except at the time of restock. I’ve seen this practice done on free sample sites, but they aren’t aiming to have a large user base but rather a select one to review a few products as part of the agreement in which they are reviewed.
So there are layers upon layers of effort of pushing people towards the VP store. None of the practices scream ethical, and they suggest scam while trying to maintain the illusion of a gray area.
Still, the best thing to review is really the public’s reception when making your final judgment.
Unboxing Gokano and User Reviews
One of the annoying nuggets when talking about legitimacy or it being a scam comes down to the fact that there’s a decent-number of unboxing videos for Gokano products.
When looking at them, however, they are almost always the cheapest item available, which are the headphones.
Other videos showcasing other items usually really on showcasing the Gokano.com inserts; they could have been placed easily since they don’t show the actual unwrapping but usually slide shows of the images with the Gokano literature inserts.
It’s also further unsettling when Gokano’s Instagram’s most recent unboxing post as evidence for legitimacy leads to a dead video that’s already.
Maybe the user was unhappy with the company afterwards, but the post was only from last December unlike the other headphone videos popping up on Youtube to showcase legitimacy.
So it appears there is an effort to keep Gokano looking legitimate in terms of evidence on a small scale, at least.
Curiously, there are a number of complaints by users on Gokano’s Facebook page by users that have not received their prizes while waiting for days, weeks, or months on the daily posts.
Remember that the terms page says it has to mail the item out within 36 days, but there are still users waiting for larger tier prizes after months. There’s no public addressing issues by Gokano of these that I have observed on any post.
Multiple pages of user-based reviews on another site echoes the same largely negative sentiment and frustration about prizes simply never being available during the restock dates.
Even if they don’t call the site a scam, they express an extremely high point of frustration for the exploitive model of it. The 2.2 star review average is rather telling about how people feel on the service overall.
For some reason, there aren’t extensive reviews on Gokano.com but largely spread out user complaints on the service on smaller sites reviewing legitimacy of businesses.
There are some complimentary reviews; they can come across as paid agenda pieces or from fake accounts especially when they start using the same wording as from the main site.
Also, there doesn’t seem to be much of a user base outside of India for some uncertain reason despite the company originating from Poland.
I was unable to locate any U.S. based user reviews or any videos, so I can only presume with all the warning signals that not many native users would bother to invest their time on this platform.
The Final Verdict – Is Gokano A Scam or Legit?
In closing, I want to say Gokano counts as a scam in my opinion based off the lack-of-care for its user base, how the site isn’t even maintained, and sheer negative amount of active complaints from the users.
It legally appears to function in a gray area since some prizes are submitted such as the earphones, and there are some boxing unboxing videos which may or may not be staged at different times.
I can’t really recommend it to anyone in good conscience, and it’s un-guaranteed whether or not you’ll be even able to access to the low-tier awards such as the earphones that they have in stock.
There’s a very big question of how Gokano can afford lavish prizes such as to give away a Ford Mustang and new iPhones from AdSense revenue. These funding questions combined with the unsafe offers suggest it’s an exploitive service meant to largely loop in people and generate ad clicks.
The process appears to be targeting others internationally who are more susceptible to these practices.
My personal experience tells me it’s much better to use a legitimate survey service or other paid work that’s native to the U.S. So if you’re interested in another way to earn money for your time, I’d again suggest investing in survey sites that are proven more legitimate.
I can’t outright say Gokano is a completely rewardless scam, but you can stand assured that it doesn’t have your best interests at heart; you can’t definitely be assured you’ll ever get a payout on what prize you’re after.