Start-up outfoxes Apple, Dell and HP by offering stock options with PCs

Community for hire


God bless Silicon Valley. Where else will you find a PC start-up offering stock options to create faux communities?

Earlier this week, we brought word of CherryPal, an intriguing Mountain View-based company that wants to do nothing less than rewire the PC market. It's got a 10 ounce "desktop," which runs on a low-power Freescale chip. All told, the machine consumes just 2 watts of power while performing even better than $3,000 space heaters from Dell, HP and others, according to CherryPal.

The company has yet to ship demo units of its products, so it's hard to tell if the machine will really live up to its billing. And once those demo units do ship, it may be awful difficult for Joe Public to find some honest reviews.

We've spotted numerous ads on Craigslist where CherryPal is offering up stock options to bloggers, writers and students who will extol the virtues of its product.

Let's see how the ad starts off.

"We are going to build the brand based on our core values, inexpensive, green, user-friendly and last but not least open. Open in our world means open source software applications as well as open communication; a consumer brand that encourages users to share ideas and influence the roadmap of future product releases.

"The products will be launched in July ... with a really big bang!!!"

Er, open apparently also means fake. And core values mean bribing people to like your gear.

"We are looking for "Brand Angels" who can spread the word through social networks like Facebook, MySpace, and others.

"Last but not least - we have very interesting compensation models (including stock option plans) in place. You will receive our product for FREE, and we rely on you to share your experiences through social networking sites/blogs. We will compensate you for promoting our product."

What happened to the good old days when you bribed people behind closed doors? That's how you make it seem like there's a real community championing a product. Tsk, tsk. ®


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