Monday, June 4, 2007

Getting Stuff for free - really?

We’ve all seen the free ipod websites and those annoying popups. The question is can you really get a free ipod, or a free laptop? How does it all work?

The basic premise behind this is advertisers pay these free stuff website owners a commission for every person they attract to their product. These products are usually in the form of offers, trials, or subscriptions that the consumer signs up for. When a consumer signs up for an offer several things happen. First, the website owner builds his own referral network, which enables him to garner more signups, more traffic, and of course more commissions from advertisers.

Secondly, the consumer builds their own referral network – which is required to be eligible to those free goodies. However, you must complete several steps to start the ball rolling. There are many hoops that you will jump through!

Free items are not supplied from the manufacturers, and usually have no affiliation whatsoever to these free websites. The webmaster simply uses his profits from referrals to buy these items and then send them out.

Once you have selected a website that offers an item you want, you signup. You are then required to complete an offer yourself to activate your account. The offer can be anything from signing up for Columbia House CD/DVD club, or try some new dog biscuits. Every offer is different and has its own pros and cons. Once you have completed your initial offer, you are ready to select the free item. Each item has a price, usually in the form of referrals, or signups. One example may be for a free xbox 360. To receive the free xbox, you need to complete one offer and sign up 8 referrals, who then must each complete one offer themselves, under your referral code. They then can do the same as you and look to signup their friends for something free. This is all similar to a pyramid network.

You cannot signup for an offer more than once, so once you have selected an offer, you cannot use it again on another free site for more free items. If you used Columbia House, then that signup would not be available for a signup on any other free site.

Although annoying, and often too good to be true, they do seem to work. I personally have received an xbox360, however I took another route. I paid for referrals. This is the alternative way to achieve what you want. My xbox360 cost approximately $240 USD.
(I’ll explain this method in another article)

I researched the free website, and found a site that satisfied my criteria. All sites work differently, and may require more referrals for lesser valued product. I needed 8 referrals for the xbox 360, and of course to complete one offer myself. Some sites may require 10 referrals or maybe 7. Not all sites are available in all countries, so read the FAQ or contact the webmaster first to inquire. My free item was a paypal payment because they do not deliver to Canada. I received the paypal payment and purchased the xbox360 from ebay.
Newer developments have added additional criteria such as a time limit of 90 days to complete your referrals. This is bad, because any possible referrals you have under your account can be negated. You would have to start all over. Research and even ask the webmaster before you signup for anything. Sometimes there are FAQ’s on the website which tell you the offers they have available, and what the terms and conditions are.

In most cases, you have to signup with your email address just to find out if they have any offers that interest you, or that you have not already signed up for.