When "Freebies" Aren’t Free

It seems that "benefits" are not enough to sell your product or service. "They" tell us you must give away "freebies." Instant gratification and all that.

Now rather than get on a roll about what I think about instant gratification - and the babies who demand it - let's just assume that freebies are a necessary evil. Let's think about how to use them ethically.

I've written about jacking up the supposed worth of freebies before, so I won't be redundant here. Now, let's talk about whether your freebies are really free.

First we have something called "shareware." I don't know where this name originated. It seems to mean something that you get to use a portion of until you pay for the full version. Or, they share it with you for a limited amount of time - unless you pay for it. This is NOT free!

Then we have those freebies that I call, "hooks." You are offered something for nothing. But when you start to download or access it - you suddenly find the condition. For instance, you must subscribe to an ezine before you can actually have the freebie. You are paying a price, whether it's money or not. THIS is not free!

In fact, it isn't even honest.

Many ezines give away eBooks in exchange for new subscriptions. Subscribe to the ezine and receive the eBook. Straightforward and honest. The condition for receiving the eBook is right up front.

But when someone offers the "freebie" first, without mention of any condition - THEN demands the subscription before delivering - that's manipulative and dishonest. It's also insulting the intelligence of the visitor.

Please examine your "freebies" - and how they are "given" away. The very basis of professionalism is honesty, ethics and integrity. Don't play cute and think you're fooling your visitors. The word on underhanded methods will spread like wildfire.

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