Top 10 Freebies Myths

From Lee Seats, for

I’ve been having fun with and writing about freebies for over ten years. As you might guess, I have encountered my share of “unbelievers” who take the cynical stance that nothing is free. Here are many of the myths that the skeptics mistake for obvious truths and my considered views on them:
1. There is no free lunch.
This cliché is taken as truth by many people. The statement means you pay for everything one way or another. I will agree that this is technically true most of the time. I try to locate free offers and free services that require very little effort, but every request for free offers or registration for a free service takes some time and some effort as well as giving up some privacy. However, I contend that if you have the time, enjoy doing it, and are careful the “cost” becomes negligible.
2. You can’t get anything worthwhile for free.
I will admit that most free offers are not highly valuable. But then again, once in a while some pretty cool free offers show up. I’ve received free brand-name running shoes, free coffee makers, free software, free computer parts (after rebate), a free DVD player, and more. Even the little freebies are fun and often useful. I never have a shortage of travel size shampoo or toothpaste and I love collecting little trinkets like key rings, Olympic pins, and the like.
3. Registering for freebies is the surest way get spam.
Actually, the surest way to get spam is to have an email address at all. But, seriously, it is easy to avoid getting your main email address on spam lists due to registering for freebies. Never use your main email address for that purpose. When I select free offers to list, I filter out the high risk ones and warn you if they look a little iffy. I suggest having at least two junk email accounts. Use one for low risk offers that need verification and use the other for offers of higher spam risk.
4. A free offer is a free offer – you might as well go for all of them.
Unfortunately, there are many free offers out there that are not worth your time, I do my best to filter those out for you. You can read abut some of the nastier ones in the Scams and Shams section of the site.
5. Everything on the Internet is free.
Some people make the mistake of thinking any graphic or any text the find on the Internet is free for them use as they see fit. Unless the author states that the content is free, it is not. Be a good Net citizen and respect copyrights.
6. Free magazines are too much of a hassle because you have to cancel them.
That may be true of free trial offers, but I list only free full subscriptions. You should always check to make sure the offer has not changed since I listed it. Publishers frequently offer free subscriptions as a way to increase circulation to sell more and higher priced advertisements.
7. All the good free services ended with the dot com bust.
If you remember the days of the dot com boom you may remember all the free phone related services and other cool and valuable free services that were available. It is true that many of the best of these ended as financial reality set in, but there has been a resurgence. Take the Gizmo Project for example – new and interesting free services are popping up all the time.
8. Free software is not as good as purchased applications.
That may have frequently been true at one time, but we are in a new era where open source and other free software has gained much more respect. For example, I use the suite in my home office exclusively. Why pay Microsoft $400 for Microsoft Office, when I can get the same functionality and often less bugs for free? I also use countless other free programs for work and recreation.
9. There is no harm in requesting a free offer as many times as I want.
I hate to say it, but there are many people who think this way. Most offers either explicitly state, or imply that you may only make one request per person or household. Being greedy and requesting multiples is not only unfair to others, it is considered fraud and my land you in legal trouble. For more on this subject take a look at this article on Freebies Ethics.
10. If you want legal music you have to pay for it.
This may be true for many current popular artists, but there are tens of thousands of free music selections out there. Before you spend all your money on iTunes, you might want to check out some of these sources of free music


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