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Are Freebies for Real?

Is anything really free?


You've heard these phrases time and time again -- there's no free lunch -- you can't get something for nothing -- nothing in life is free. It's no wonder you are skeptical when you are told you can find free stuff on the Internet.

The Truth About Freebies

The truth is there are really freebies, and lots of them, on the Internet. Conversely there are also many "free" offers that are not truly free. If you want to get really technical about it I could start an entire philosophical dissertation about the meaning of the word free. I wont do that, but I will provide a few of my thoughts on what constitutes a freebie.

Freebies Defined

My most basic definition of a freebie is "any product, or service you can obtain without opening your wallet." Most of what you find on this site fits neatly under that definition. Occasionally I will list something that requires postage or some other small fee if the value of the item justifies the cost for some people. There can also be intangible "costs" involved in free offers.

Intangible Costs

You could argue that the time needed to fill out forms is a cost. Many feel the act of making your email address available for possible email lists is also a cost. You of course need to determine if an offer is worth your time. I try to avoid listing things that take a lot of time. If you are concerned about being on mailing lists you may want to read my article on Avoiding Junk Email. I sign up for a lot of freebies and I would estimate I actually get less junk email than most people just because I'm very careful with my main email address.

Still Skeptical?

The more skeptical among you may still be asking "why would someone give things away for free?" In most cases the simple answer is "for marketing purposes". If you have ever been to a trade show or similar exhibit you have probably seen free pens, buttons, yardsticks etc. Those are all examples of promotional freebies. On the Internet free items and services are often provided to build more traffic and hopefully more sales.

Free Services

Free services are often supported by advertising. If this concept seems strange, just think about radio and television. These industries have thrived by providing free programming for many years. Many people don't like to see advertising on the Internet, but without it there would be many less free services and free quality information.
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