I love free stuff! I actually dream about getting free stuff and wake up with a big smile on my face. One thing I hope to share with you each week is where to find lots of great things for free. For starters, here are a few fun web sites where you can find all kinds of useful things at no cost:
www.freecycle.org (a forum organized by locality where people share)
http://www.iloveschools.com/ (get freebies to donate to your kids’ school!)
Free stuff is great, but how do you differentiate between a free sample from a legitimate company that's trying to solicit new customers from a data harvester that will lead to lots of spam and never send you any freebie? Here are a few questions to ask about a site before you give them any of your information.
1) Who runs the site?
If there is no contact information or just a free email address, be suspicious - most places WANT customers to be able to contact them & order things, and real businesses don't conduct transactions via hotmail or other free email servers.
2) Does the site look shoddy?
Even small companies want to maintain a professional appearance. If a site has spelling mistakes or just an overall amateur appearance, be skeptical - it may have been thrown together that same week using a template & free stock images. Spam sites appear out of nowhere, collect as much data as possible in a short time, and then vanish before the authorities catch them. If a site is full of Google or popup ads, another warning bell should be ringing. If you were promoting something, would you have advertisements for a competitor on your site?
3) Why are they giving away things for free?
A retailer or wholesaler may give something free as an incentive to get customers to buy more. A manufacturer may give something away for free to promote brand awareness & attract new markets. If a site isn't selling any products, it doesn't produce any products & it isn't an advertiser for a company that makes those products, how would it earn money by spending thousands on merchandise & shipping? Why would you buy 50,000 coffee cups then mail them to people all over the world that you were never going to hear from again?
Here are a couple of sites where companies can be checked out for validity:
Have fun getting all your freebies this week!