Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Free stuff online- yeehaw!

Everyone needs a good vice or two, and I haven't had a good one in a while. I don't smoke, drink, or even indulge in caffienated sodas much. But last Christmas all that changed.

You know how every once in a while an advertisement will pop up in your web based e-mail or on your news website claiming that you've somehow qualified for a free ? Well, we've all seen them, and in a moment of curiosity I went ahead and signed up for one. It was a quick little affair--one that I approached with lots of caution, but finally gave it a try when I realized it required no money at all. I just had to sign up for an "offer" from one of its sponsors and the offer I chose had no cost (a free month of blockbuster online). I cancelled before the month was out and I had a $50 gift card to Olive Garden in my mailbox a few weeks later.

I found my vice. Since then I've signed up for *and* received a 32" Sony Wega TV, a 17" Dell flat panel monitor, an iPod nano, a $1000 BestBuy gift card, and several hundred dollars worth of miscellaneous restaurant and department store gift cards. I'm not making this up. I'm a student with no vested interest in yanking your chain.

I decided to give you this little biography since I've told a few people about it and they always have lots of questions. Turns out there are some tricks to the undertaking.

Here's the deal:

  • Always read the terms and conditions before even putting in your e-mail address. There's usually a link at the bottom in tiny print
  • Only use an e-mail address where you don't mind receiving hundreds of spam messages a day (literally). Yahoo mail accounts are free and they have good spam blockers, so it has worked out fine. You have to keep the address though since you can't get the gift unless you receive the certificate they e-mail you once you qualify.
  • I noticed that some of the offers on the "survey" pages are exactly the same as the required offers later on. And some of the offers in one group are the same as offers in a later group (you may have to complete offers from several groups of choices, which become progressively more prohibitive in their cost and terms). So, I've found it works well not to sign up for any of the survey items or offers until I've gone through the entire process. I just right-click links to open the next page into a new window when possible and then keep lots of windows open working backwards from the hardest offers at the end (if I decide to pursue it all once all the requirements are out on the table).

I don't know if anyone will be interested in this or not, but I figured I would throw it out there for the world to see. Oh yeah, and if you want to give it a shot, try this link to help me out: (link is no longer valid)

4 comments:

Tarimisu said...

OK, Shane. I need more help on this. I have wasted minutes and minutes of my time trying to get free stuff to no avail. I am finding that to get anything free, I have to sign up for millions (ok, maybe just thousands) of offers and some of them do cost money. I was trying one this morning, thinking, "Shane said it's so - so it must be so!" I'd been trying them ever since I read your blog, but got so frustrated each time that I just quit. As a result, I've signed up for every free newsletter in the free world and will be getting Netflix free for two weeks and Columbia House DVDs - but STILL no free stuff! So, more advice free??? The one this morning offered a $1,500 gift card to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but all 11 offers I had to sign up for (mind you, it first said ONE and not ELEVEN) cost money. I want free stuff!

Coach said...

Well, what has been the problem so far? Have you gotten credit for the offers you already signed up for? Do you have to wait 6-8 weeks before the credit shows up on your account? Have you kept records of what websites you've signed up for and specific info (phone, e-mail) on how to cancel when and if you decide to do so? I would stick with the ones you've already started--have faith! If you look at gifts with offers that require you to do something that takes more money and/or time than you have, then keep looking for a new one--don't waste your time there. Feel free to post back or give me an e-mail address. Good luck.

Plus, do I know you?

Coach said...

Oh yeah, one more thing. The way companies make money on offering this free stuff is when people try it and then decide it's too much trouble and walk away. I have yet to come across an offer that didn't deliver on what it promises--as long as you satisfy their requirements according to their own terms. So, stick with the ones you've started or go with an easier one (not a $1500 gift card, complete eleven offers gig). Beware of the offers that use the bait and switch. A teeth whitening company offered a 14 day free trial, but when you read the fine print there is no way to opt-out of the first autoship that costs a hundred bucks. Yeah. Avoid crap like that.

Tarimisu said...

Thanks for the advice. The problem was that I strayed from the nice, legitimate website you offered right off the bat - that $1500 gift card was so tempting! Hey, and sorry to throw you off - yes, you know me, but through Diana. I'm her Arkansan friend Amy! The blog is great, by the way. Thanks for the free stuff advice. I'm going to try again, and really stick to my guns - but only when my husband can watch the kids and I can give my free offers the undivided attention they deserve!