You Mean All That Free Stuff Really Isn't Free?

from the come-on-now dept

A favorite ploy of some online advertisers is to dangle something “FREE!” out in hopes of catching the easily mislead, overly trusting or just plain cheap. Apparently there’s a sufficient number of those around that there’s a need for a newspaper reporter to explain that just because something on the internet says it’s free doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s free. Some of these free stuff ads are sketchier than others, and some of them sure look like scams. But while most people sit and wonder why anybody would take part in these, plenty of people must be doing it for the campaigns to persist — just like spam.

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Comments on “You Mean All That Free Stuff Really Isn't Free?”

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princessfrozen (user link) says:

whats the big deal?

i have done plenty of free stuff offers from freepay (formerly known as Gratis) and I’ve gotten each and every thing. I think I’m up to 4 iPods; 60gb video ipod, shuffle, 20 gb ipod (4th gen), and a nano on the way. I’ve also gotten a $250 Neiman Marcus gift certificate and a 17″ flat panel monitor. For what? Some spam? I have no problem with that at all. How hard is it to create a throw away email account for these things? I’ve never understood why people don’t grasp this simple concept. If something seems like it may result in spam? Give the throwaway account. Once you’re done with your contests or free stuff, close the account. Spam problem solved. I’ve yet to receive any sort of snail mail spam from getting my free stuff. So if I have to endure some spam in a junk mail box to get hundreds of dollars worth of whatever, I think thats a fair trade off. If you don’t, please explain to me how its not?

Andrew Benton says:

Re: whats the big deal?

because you knowingly spam forum sigs, replies, and other stuff to get the pyramid scheme of data piped to these people. Free means “hey just give me the crap”, not “hey ill give you this if you help us coerce 30people into signing up under your referall ID, and signing a 30day subscription with company X”

princessfrozen (user link) says:

Re: Re: whats the big deal?

Knowingly spam forum sigs? Not me, others maybe, but that is definitely not the way to go. Patience is the rule of the game, stick your link on your website and wait. If you can’t wait, you ask your friends or whatever. Also, I’m going to assume you’re an adult and if you’ve not yet learned that nothing in life is TRULY free, I don’t know what to tell you.

Parker says:

Re: Re: Re:2 whats the big deal?


If ever banner that popped up & said “FREE 60GB IPOD!!” then those companies would be broke after that advertisement being around for about 3 hours on a normal website… Know why? Because they would run into tremendous financial issues because you cant just give out free ipods for filling out your e-mail address. Think about it, they must get something worth more than an ipod for every idiot who clicks and does what the pop-up asks…. If they dident the ads would not be there. EVERYTHING has a catch.. Always a reason..

Chris says:

Re: whats the big deal?

The question I have is how much of the promotional crap do you have to actually buy? All the “free” stuff sites I have been to want you to buy all that extra crap like magazine subscriptions and and Credit Cards and whatnot. Send me the links to the places you go to so I can get free stuff to, but only if they want nothing else but an email address.

If this were that easy these sites would have been shut down long ago because they could not afford to be paying out all those products.

Benjamin Allen (user link) says:

Re: Re: whats the big deal?

The question I have is how much of the promotional crap do you have to actually buy? All the “free” stuff sites I have been to want you to buy all that extra crap like magazine subscriptions and and Credit Cards and whatnot.

Yeh. This is how they can afford to give away all the free shizzle…

How else do you think they do it????

Oh no, it said free but I have to hand over my CC # and get 3 months magazine subscription for free. Then I click the link on the website, and I don’t get charged. Nor do I get any spam what-so-ever. Anyone who thinks the legit sites spam your email account is too naive to be using the internet.

But hey, thats just my 2 cents…

Sparktikus says:

Re: whats the big deal?

OK! Show me the websites with the free stuff and I’ll show you a load of crap. <br><br>How much did you end up spending for your 4 iPods; 60gb video ipod, shuffle, 20 gb ipod (“4th gen”), and a nano on the way? Or are you working for freepay (formerly known as Gratis)?<br><br>Sure, I believe some things are free in this world. Like air, water (that’s pushing it), sex (at least I don’t pay for it). But when a business is giving something away for “free” it is either low cost or you end up paying for it in the end. For instance…I bought a new car recently with a free cruise promotion. I said no to the cruise and they imedietly knocked a 2 grand of the price…hmmm free cruise my butt!

princessfrozen (user link) says:

Re: Re: whats the big deal?

I spent maybe $60 total for ALL the offers. There is a method to the freebie madness but people are trained to be skeptical or anything thats too good to be true. I was the same way when one of my friends approached me about the free ipod thing. I didn’t believe it till he got it, then I was like, okay maybe this isn’t BS.
Maybe my math has gotten shaky since college but $60 for over $1000 worth of merchandise always seems like a pretty good deal. Again, maybe my math is bad.
Oh and no, I don’t work for Gratis. Why would I need to do these free stuff offers if I did?

Sparktikus says:

Re: Re: Re: whats the big deal?

You have a good point, why would you need the free stuff….<br><br>If you did only spend $60 then you are lucky, or maybe you just you might be right. I’m willing to give it a try just to prove you wrong and I’ll be happy to admit that I’m wrong if I get the iPod! So princessfrozen…where do I go and what do I do. You are the vetern so take me under your wing. I’ll play the sucker one more time.<br><br>Seriously though, I will try it if you just point me in the right direction. I won’t lose hope with all humanity and Internet Businesses just quite yet.

Fortino (profile) says:

Some things are indeed free

I had to chime in and say that somethings truly are free. We’ve run a free techie and business magazine subscription service for over 10 years now called

There are over 400 titles to pick from, all of which are completely free and never has a CC # been asked for. The only thing you need to do is qualify for the magazines by filling out a short’ish form and we take care of the rest.

Sorry for the shameless plug but I felt it was completely on point and scope for this topic.

Check it out and see for yourself…

Wil (user link) says:

Who's Losing Money?

Yes, you can get ‘free’ stuff like princessfrozen says. You do the sign-ups, or surveys, or trial subscriptions or whatever they want, the ‘free stuff’ company gets paid a commission by each of the companies involved, then they send you the ‘free’ stuff. Then you close the ‘throw-away’ email account, make sure you cancel all the free trials before they start charging your credit card, etc. Done. Easy.
But here’s the thing. All the companies that are footing the bill are expecting to make money. Either they think you’ll like their service so much, that when your 3-month free trial ends, you’ll happily pay to keep it going. Or they don’t really care whether you like it or not, as long as you either forget to cancel, or find out that the only way to cancel is to ring their call center between 3:18 and 4:06 am on the first Thursday with a waning gibbous moon.
While a few may work the system to get a bargain, clearly these companies wouldn’t keep paying commissions if they weren’t getting their money’s worth from the people who sign up for these things.

bat (user link) says:

i not sure...

i’m not exactly sure wut to make of all this.. but all i’m getting at is that you CAN get free stuff, but there’s lots of strings attached… Y don’t you all just look into something REALLY PURELY FREE like the game on my website! (or the infinite amout of games and game engines and other random freeware computer programs out there)

YeaSoWhat says:

Re: i not sure...

honestly, I’ve yet to try this stuff for real. From what I’m reading here there’s alot to gain, and the only strings attached I’ve seen is a survey of some product nobody knows about. What I don’t understand is that why these peoople would be giving this stuff away for pretty much nothing. Escpecially how the economy’s been, you know… inflation and all. Also, even if they get to flood your email with ads, or have you spam this crap at everyone else, It’ll all most likely be ignored anyways. Maybe I’m just naive or something, or maybe I just don’t know what I’m talkin about, but I’m not understanding the point of these ads or what these people really end up gaining. There’s gotta be a hidden catch. Maybe I just havent read enough in this forum… Someone enlighten me please…

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