YOUR GUIDE TO INTERNET FREEBIES – Lesson 8: Finding Internet Freebies

nextlesson-internetfreebiesLet’s face it; Internet service on its own isn’t cheap. It is however the perfect tool to use for being cheap and getting good deals. When used properly, the Internet can give you access to countless freebies. Here’s what you need to know to get started with finding them:

There are basically three approaches to finding free samples on the Internet: checking free sample sites, doing web searches and taking part in discussion boards. We will look at all of these methods.

Free Sample Sites

Free sample sites are a great place to start. These sites list lots of free samples that are available all over the web, and provide links to the freebie sites.

The benefit of using these sites is that someone else is doing a lot of the work for you. This means that you won’t have to spend a ton of research time to find the samples you are hoping to find.

Basically, one of the best free sample sites on the web is called Start Sampling.com.  This website actually requires a membership, but it is so worth it. Once you subscribe to it, you have access to tons of high quality samples that you are looking for.

In the most recent months some of their sample offers have included a free full-sized sample of name brand toothpaste, not to mention a variety of free year-long magazine subscriptions. That may sound too good to be true but it isn’t.

Some more good sample sites include: mommysavers.com and freebies.about.com. Both of these sites feature daily updates, and are among the first to list new offers. Linking to them will keep you ahead of others and making sure that you find the best samples.

Walmart also offers a lot of freebie offers. Just go to walmart.com and click on the “In Stores Now” tab to see what is going up for free next. When you go here you can find deals on samples from such companies as John Frieda, Neutrogena, Hallmark, Garnier and Poise.

Web Searches

Web searches can lead to even more free samples that you might not be able to find on free sample websites. If you wasn’t to locate these, there are several basic key words to search under. Yes, keywords are the trick to finding the right stuff.

These keywords include free sample, free samples, free trial, trial offer, free product and free product offer are all excellent search words. If you really want to get the very best search results, be sure to try all of the above-mentioned key words. That will certainly produce all of the right sites. A sample that might come up under “free sample,” may not come up under “free samples”, which is why you have to switch keywords to get to them all. As you gain more search experience, you may find that there are many other key words that work for the particular product samples you are looking for.

Word of Mouth

You should never underestimate the power of this method. This is how most businesses manage to get most of their clientele. You can also search online for word of mouth by checking discussion boards. If you are willing to spend just a little time exploring the web, and you’re sure to turn up some great freebies.

These methods having come up, let me just tell you that you can also check out Ask Jeeves and find some great reviews on freebie websites. All you have to do is type in “reviews for free stuff online” and a host of forums will come up that will give you advice and warnings about web sites that offer free stuff.

YOUR GUIDE TO INTERNET FREEBIES – Lesson 7: See Freebies from the Marketers Point-of-View

nextlesson-internetfreebiesIt doesn’t really take a whole lot of knowledge to realize that the internet is the new wave in marketing right now. It is even better than the old  methods for marketing because this method can gives the marketer returns almost immediately upon their investment if they know what they are doing and how to best capitalize off of it.

As you can probably imagine, the entire purpose of using affiliation as a part of a marketing technique is so that they can make some money. Freebies for clients are just a part of it. Below I have decided to explain internet pay per click advertising that marketers use so that you can understand more about why these freebies can be dangerous to you as a consumer. I Thought that it deserved more attention on its own as its popularity gets higher because this is the method that most of your freebies will come from.

Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay per click advertising is a bonus for affiliate marketers because it basically does exactly what it says. When visitors click onto web pages it is the web host that will get paid just for the visit. It doesn’t apply to how much stuff the visitors purchase. So when they offer you freebies, they are still making money which also means you will likely get your freebies. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about it to help you get an exact idea of what this really is.

What Is Pay Per Click really?

Pay per click advertising on search engines allows hosts to choose keywords that they would like their site to appear for when a search query is performed. They get to decide how much they are willing to pay each time a person clicks on the search results. The more the hosts are willing to pay per click, the higher their site will appear in the results for the keywords they choose. When it comes to freebies…you can bet that hat and like words will be the keywords.

Which Search Engines Offer Pay Per Click Advertising?

There is literally hundreds of pay per click search engines on the market today such as MSN, Yahoo, Google and Overture. Generally, the larger the pay per click search engine is, the more the host will have to bid to get to the top for their keywords. This is why it is worth it to them investigating different search engines to find what it would cost to bid on their keywords and how much traffic they draw in.

The largest companies in the pay per click industry are Overture and Google. Google is not a pay per click search engine, but it does provide pay per click advertising in text ad boxes to the right of search results it delivers. It also delivers pay per click ads to other content sites as well.

One of the major advantages that the lesser known search engines have is that these search engines can provide lower costs per click to rank for a keyword than the larger search engines. In addition to the general pay per click search engines, you may also be able to find thematic search engines that serve the freebie industry or specifically cater to their target audience.

This is the basics of pay per click advertising that is generally left for the freebie zone. Most of the freebie websites subscribe to this advertising method. This is how they can afford the freebies that you find. Why else would they offer so much free stuff? You have to ask yourself what would be in it for them. Well now you know. They are getting paid for it.

YOUR GUIDE TO INTERNET FREEBIES – Lesson 6: Advantages and Disadvantages of Internet Freebies

nextlesson-internetfreebiesWhen it comes to getting internet freebies it is relatively obvious that you are hoping to get something for nothing. Sometimes that can be a great thing and others it can be a disaster. I like to get my internet freebies as much as the next person, but I know that there disadvantages to doing this as well as there are positives to it too. Here is the section where we will discuss them.

ADVANTAGES TO FREEBIES ARE:

  • You can increase your work productivity with free software downloads
  • You can communicate in a more efficient way with email, chat and internet phone downloads
  • You can use free samples as a method of learning about new products that may turn into your favorites
  • Sometimes you can get extremely good deals with the freebies you find
  • You can save a lot of time and money
  • Of course, the given…you really lose nothing insofar as money is concerned.

DISADVANTAGES TO FREEBIES ARE:

  • You may not always get what you wanted
  • Freebies may contain viruses, spyware and adware
  • You have to jump through too many hoops to get it
  • Your freebie may actually wind up costing you money in shipping costs and other fees
  • You may never actually receive a freebie at all
  • You may be exposing yourself to identity fraud or spam

As you can see, getting your internet freebies may wind up completely being harmful to you rather than helpful. These great deals can sometimes have dyer consequences, so you really need to check to be sure that you are truly getting what you asked for.

YOUR GUIDE TO INTERNET FREEBIES – Lesson 5: Awesome Internet Freebies

nextlesson-internetfreebiesFor all of the terrible freebie choices that you can find, there are many that are very much worth the effort. I could not in good conscious write this kind of guide without including some of the best freebies list I could find. Here they are listed for you. Let’s look at those now.

Abilon – This is a very powerful, speedy RSS reader that actually offers you a choice of different views, and features a built-in tabbed browser of its own.

AbiWord- This is a light however fully featured word processor that is very compatible with Microsoft Word documents, however what makes it truly stand out is that it also runs on Linux and Macs systems.

AIM Mail-  AIM mail basically gives you 2GB of storage as well as integration with AOL Instant Messenger.

AirDefense Personal Lite-  This is a very easy program that alerts you whenever you connect to an insecure network or anyplace else that you have decided isn’t safe, and you are in control of it.

Alleycode-  This is an easy to use HTML editor for any of the people who are comfortable with basic HTML code and need to do some quick editing.

All-in-One Secretmaker- this awesome tool blocks banner ads and pop-ups, filters spam, and offers you many more utilities for cleaning up and securing your system.

Anonymizer-  This is basically an anonymous browsing service that will display all of your Web pages without giving away any of your personal information to the sites you visit.

Audacity- this is an  All-purpose audio editor that lets you record, play, and edit digital files.

Avast Home Edition-  This is an antivirus scanner that can do a boot-time virus scan for you.

Avvenu-  This is a free remote-access and file-sharing service that allows you and your work colleagues get to files on an Avvenu-enabled computer from another computer, Web-enabled phone, or PDA.

Backpack- this helps you to create web pages with things like to-do lists, notes, pictures, etc. and let’s you share them with others

Bartleby-  This is a great online reference library that offers many features, including a dictionary, thesaurus, and various books of quotations.

BeInSync-  this program lets you ensure you have access to your critical files and folders.

BitTorrent- is extremely useful for downloading legitimate web content quickly or for sharing your own files.

Blogger- this is a blogging service that stays simple to use, but offers a rich complement of features.

Bloglines-  This is a Web-based RSS reader lets you access your news from multiple PCs.

CCleaner-  with this tool you can find and zaps useless files such as cache files and old Registry entries.

Celestia-  here is a great tool for students that lets you Zoom through the solar system, and this gives you real-time views of planets, moons, comets, stars, and more.

Copernic Desktop Search- this program is great for letting you search local files as well as Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail.

Del.icio.us-  this is great to use rather than bookmarks because this service keeps track of your favorite sites for you.

eFax Messenger-  You can receive faxes on your PC with eFax, viewing or printing them via the eFax Messenger software.

EssentialPIM- basically just combines a calendar, contact manager, to-do list, and notes manager in a single program.

Feedreader-  This is a free Windows utility that displays your news feeds, and includes flexible keyboard shortcuts for easy access.

Festoon Beta-  This is an add-on for Skype and Google Talk that lets users of  make calls to each other, and brings video chat capabilities to Google Talk.

Firefox- This is for those who prefer not to stick solely to bug ridden IE because it a more secure, faster, and more flexible Web browser.

FlashGot- this is basically a Firefox plug-in that makes Firefox easier to use, allowing you to grab every page from a Web site or download multiple files efficiently.

Flickr-  this program lets you Easily upload, share, and post pictures.

FolderShare (Windows)- lets you Automatically sync files and folders between multiple computers and share data with colleagues and friends.

FolderSync- helps to keep your USB drive and your hard drive on the same page

FoxIt Reader- is a smaller tool for viewing PDF files, its way better than adobe.

Free Download Manager-  This is an IE companion that can speed up single-file downloads, resume interrupted downloads, manage bandwidth usage, or schedule multiple file downloads for specific times.

FreeConference.com-  with this you can set up and host conference calls for free.

FreeMind- this program allows you to write your notes in a mind map.

Furl-  this program lets you save your favorite Web pages in an online account that you can access from any computer.

GetByMail-  this program offers access to your office computer through your e-mail account.

Gmail  Google’s-  this amazing e-mail service feels more like a Windows application than a Web mail service because it is so easily integrated into the programs.

Google Desktop-  this is a great program that extends the power of the Web’s most popular search engine to your desktop by indexing nearly every document on your hard drive so that you don’t have to.

Google Earth-  with this program you can spin the earth around, tilt it, and zoom in to objects as tiny as one building. Great for students

Google Picasa-  this is a great way to organize, touch up, and share your pictures with others.

Google Video- this service is perfect those of you who want to be commercially oriented video producers who are looking for a large audience for their work.

GRC Shields Up-  This is a browser-based tool that checks your PC for common vulnerabilities, like open ports.

Groove Virtual Office- this programs lets you bring your coworkers together because it is a file-sharing and collaboration tool.

Hyperwords-  This is another Firefox browser plug-in that makes any text on any Web page easy to click.

Irfanview-  This is a neat graphics utility offers basic image editing and file format conversions.

iTeamwork-  This is a Web-based project management service that helps groups keep track of complicated projects.

iTunes- This you have likely heard of but it is Apple’s media player and is a joy to use even if you never buy a 99-cent song. Plus it is legal!

Kodak EasyShare Gallery- this program mobile-phone access options, and has no upload restrictions.

Kristal Audio Engine-  This is a very sophisticated audio mixing program that also offers many other features that you can find in paid programs.

Lavasoft Ad-Aware- this program scans your PC for spyware etc. and gets rid of them.

LiveJournal- is a great tool to use for your blog, and carries no advertising.

LogMeIn-  This is a program that gives you remote access service so that youy can control your PC from anywhere, via a Web browser.

Microsoft Tweak UI-  this program lets you take control of hidden Windows XP settings.

Microsoft Windows Defender-  this is  Microsoft’s antispyware application that  catches spyware that other programs ignore.

MSN Hotmail-  cool email service with many features.

MSN Search Toolbar-  This handy search tool indexes your hard drive and provides search results through a Windows application, rather than a browser.

Netomat-  This is a networking service that allows you to create, access, and share content on the Web or a phone.

Netscape Webmail- gives you 250MB of storage and features large, easy-to-click buttons.

NewsGator- this program displays your RSS feeds in a clean, readable display.

Nvu – this is a great web page editor that doesn’t require any understanding of the underlying tags.

OmniFormat- with this program you can convert BMPs to JPEGs, GIFs to PDFs, Word documents to TIF image files.

OpenOffice.org-  This is a fully featured Microsoft Office-compatible office suite offers a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation package, and database for free.

Palm Desktop-  this a very good calendar and address book application will appeal to users who don’t even have a PDA.

Pandora-  this great when all you have to do is enter the name of an artist or song that you like and Pandora creates a custom radio station that plays your music.

PBwiki-  this program lets you create a free, password-protected collaborative Web site.

PDF Creator-  this is a printer driver that lets you create Adobe Acrobat files from within almost any application.

Pegasus Mail-  this has always been a favorite of power users, because this e-mail client gives you a huge amount of control over your mail, with support for mail merges and flexible filtering options.

podAmigo-  this program works with the Podomatic Web service and helps you to organize and download your podcasts.

Project Gutenberg- this program lets you browse electronic versions of more than 17,000 books in a virtual library.

Putfile-  This is a basic video sharing service works reliably and well.

PuTTY-  This is a free utility that allows you to create an SSH, Telnet, or Rlogin connection.

QNext-  This is a universal instant messenger service that also lets you share music.

Revver-  This is a video sharing site from which you can actually make money.

RssReader-  This program displays your news feeds for you. This is great for website optimization.

SeaMonkey-  This suite of Internet tools includes the Mozilla browser and more like a chat program and HTML editor.

SightSpeed-  This is a video calling service that synchronizes lip movements and audio neatly, and offers easy in-call controls.

Skype- This one lets you get free PC-to-PC voice calls with text chat and file transfers.

Spybot Search & Destroy- This is a powerful spyware tool.

Steganos LockNote-  Password-protect text files with this cool tool.

Streamload Mediamax- this is great for users who want to share lots of big files and videos.

SyncNotes-  This program runs on your computer, but allows you to view and edit your notes from any Web or WAP browser.

Ta-Da List-  this program lets you stay organized.

The GIMP- this is an app that includes tools for photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring.

ThinkFree- This software runs in your browser and lets you edit Microsoft Office-compatible documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Thunderbird- this is a very secure e-mail client.

Trend Micro HouseCall is a web site that runs software in your browser to scan for and eliminate malware on your PC.

Trillian Basic- this is a universal IM client that lets you keep in contact with your friends no matter what chat program they use.

Vimeo-  video lovers will love this video sharing service.

Wapedia- this program is for accessing Wikipedia from a PDA or smart phone.

Wikipedia  this is an online encyclopedia.

Windows Live Mail-  This is an Ajax-based service

WordPress.com-  This hosted blogging service.

WordWeb-  A handy online dictionary and thesaurus that work in any application on your computer.

WriteBoard-  This service lets you create, edit, and share documents with others right in your browser.

Yahoo Briefcase-  this is one of the easiest ways we know of to store and share files online.

Yahoo Widgets- this is an application that puts widgets on your desktop that provide useful information, such as news updates, weather reports, stock tickers, or photos, and they can even search for you, storing your notes, and more. Think bonzi buddy without the spyware.

Zip-  you can create ZIP compressed archives for free with this wonderful program.

ZoneAlarm-  this is a free firewall.

YOUR GUIDE TO INTERNET FREEBIES – Lesson 4: Internet Freebie Bewares & How To Deal With Them

nextlesson-internetfreebiesAs you can imagine, there are many different things to beware of when it comes to internet freebies. There are also various ways that you can avoid falling into the many pitfalls that come along with these freebies as well. Think about it this way a free sample of toothpaste is a real freebie, since it’s a real-life item that you can buy in a store.

Digital freebies, which are offered all over the place are things like free fonts, online games, emoticons,  and free Web site creation tools. These are often free to. By now you’ve been explained the basics of what internet freebies are out there but there are a few other things you should be aware of when it comes to actually getting them.

1) Be aware of spam.

The Internet is completely filled with junk-mail senders, commonly referred to as spammers. We all know what these are. Basically if you fail to protect yourself against spam, you’ll find yourself receiving thousands of them. Unfortunately, most of the companies that are giving away freebies sometimes ask for your e-mail address. I’m sure that you see where I am going with this.

Although providing your delivery details is generally imperative if you want to get the item, you need to note that e-mail addresses are not a necessity in receiving an item. They will not be sending it there will they?

When you do give out you email address, you can bet that it will likely be sold to other companies, who sell them again and so on. This just starts a horrible cycle. What this should tell you is that before you embark on a freebie spree, you need to be sure to set up a secondary email account that you will use only for this purpose.

You can do this by choosing any free e-mail address provider like yahoo or hotmail. Generally speaking, if you request a freebie over the Internet and they ask you to supply your e-mail address it is a given that spam will soon follow.

2) Get a compression or archiving utility.

When you are offered freebies like software you will often find that they take up far too much disk space to run. It is like a form of adware that these companies rely on. Usually this happens because they add extra files to the software so that they can receive compensation for every download that they get.

A good example of this is when you find that you download some software and find that they have added search utilities to your browser that you didn’t want. It is real annoying but there is something that you can do about this.

Software providers usually offer their own free programs in a compressed file format. If you are using Microsoft Windows for your computer, these files will usually have a .zip extension at the end of the file (i.e. mediaplayer.zip)

This format is used so as to reduce the amount of disk space they use and help speed up download times. If you’re using Windows XP, then you’re already set for decompressing files, and you would not need to download a separate utility.

Most popular compression utilities that you can find can handle various compressed formats, not just .zip extensions. Some of these file extensions are .rar or .tar.gz file, you should be fine. There are still many programs that don’t require decompressing so you should realize that if you already have an archiving program installed your compression requirements should be fine.

3) Be aware of pop-up advertisements.

These days, many webmasters have started including irritating pop-up adverts on their pages in the specific effort of generating more money. How this works is that after the initial onslaught of pop-ups that a visitor gets, other adverts appeared on the scene as well such as: pop-unders.

These adverts are extremely similar to pop-ups, in that they cleverly conceal themselves behind your main browser window so that they do not pop up on the site but they will show themselves in the taskbar. There are tools that can be very useful in combating these ads. Both of them are highly effective and shown below.

Mozilla FireFox web browser, which includes a built-in pop-up advert blocker.

Google Toolbar which has a useful add-on for Internet Explorer, with a pop-up blocker.

These two tools need to be downloaded but they generally don’t offer any spyware. I will list some websites that offer free downloads later on in this guide for you to be able to go to that are excellent for downloads and advice on downloading.

4) About spyware or adware freebies.

Even though I have covered some of the software freebie problems I had to give out a special section that was geared toward spyware and adware together.

The fact is that most downloadable software has added these into it. Some of them are harmless and can be removed with a good program like Adaware. Others however, are more like viruses or worms.

Knowing about these is important because they often don’t tell you that they are there and many cause major computer problems. I have had so many problems with it in the past, that I have thoroughly exhausted every resource in trying to avoid them.

Spyware can be anything from search additions to actual programs. They are not all dangerous but some of them make duplicate files on the programs that you already have and can’t be removed.  It is for this reason that they are harmful because they take up all of your computer’s resources. The best solution to this problem is to download your freebies from reputable sources that offer user reviews. That way you can get solid info about it from others just like you.

5) Viruses and Worms

Internet freebies from software and downloadables like music can also include viruses and worms which we all know can be fatal to computers. Most of these can be found in music downloads and movies. The reason is because of their popularity. Naturally your best bet in avoiding these is to avoid using the free site programs and instead go through cheap and paid services like iTunes.

6) The Free Gift/Rewards/Sample Issue

Since these require a certain amount of your personal information to be shared in order for you to get these items, you have to be cautious with them. For example if you want a free sample, do you have to pay for something else or give out credit card information first? This area requires some basic questions that you should be asking yourself before opting for these freebies, such as:

  1. Is the freebie worth the price that must be paid?
  2. Do I have to buy something to get the freebie?
  3. How much personal information do they require? (i.e. SSN, credit card info., bank information etc.)
  4. Do I have to enter into a contract first?
  5. is the freebie standing on its own or is there an added cost to pay?
  6. what am I willing to do for my freebie?
  7. Why is the site giving out freebies?
  8. What’s in it for them?

These are important questions that you should get answers to if you really want to try to avoid being taken for a  ride. As I explained earlier your freebie may not be all it is cracked up to be.

YOUR GUIDE TO INTERNET FREEBIES – Lesson 3: Different Internet Freebies

nextlesson-internetfreebiesWhen it comes to the different types of freebies that are out there you have a huge variety of them to choose from. I have to admit I am a freebie junkie myself and have sifted through just about every type that you can think of.

If have had my share of successes in this area and my share of failures as well. I have received great freebies that I still use today and I have had to chuck some of those not great ones too. Just some of the freebies you can find on the net include things like:

–      software (fax, email, burners, word processors etc.)

–      gifts from purchases made

–      electronics

–      music samples

–      movies and movie programs

–      quickie items like clothing, household items

–      wireless phones

–      satellite dishes

These items don’t even cover half of what types of freebies you can get offered. You can get virtually everything for free if you search hard enough for it. Most people assume that getting some sort of freebie means that you will get the item at absolutely no cost.

Although on the surface this claim sounds great and makes total sense, the reality is that there are a wide variety of ways that the term freebie is used on the Internet. For the average consumer It’s important to understand the different types of freebies that are out there and the meaning of each.

Free Sample

This is the most common type of freebie that most people will find when looking around. A free sample is when a product is given away with the intention of letting you try it to see if you like it. Let me tell you that in this case, more often than not you will actually be receiving a sample size as well. Think of Avon’s mini lipsticks that are good enough for about 4 real uses.

This happens because the manufacturer believes that in sending you a free sample of a product and  covering the shipping costs will entice you to buy their product on a regular basis. Most of the time these do not carry any hidden costs. These are the best and most straight forward freebies that you will find.

Just know that some free samples are not free and require you to pay for the shipping cost. You know that commercial that you see with the free full size bottle of the “focus” pills? That is my case in point

Free With Postage or SASE

This type of freebie is when you are offered a free sample of a product, but you’re required to pay the postage of the item or send a self addressed stamped envelope (SASE) if you are going to receive it. This sounds pretty straight forward right?

What you have to watch our for in this case is that the site providing the freebie isn’t hiding the actual cost of the product within the shipping charge. A good thing for the average consumer to note is that the legitimate offers are usually much better than the ones that you can get from a free sample with free shipping.

Free With Purchase

This is actually pretty straight forward because it is very simple. Basically for this freebie you receive an extra something for free when you purchase a certain product.  It is generally a like object such as if you buy a set of cosmetics, you get a free carrying case for them. While these can be good deals if you were planning to buy the main product being sold anyways, however it is pointless if you don’t really need the main item. Don’t buy it if you don’t need it just because it comes with a free product.

Free After Rebate

Like I said above, this is where you start off by paying full price for the  product and then are able to send in some type of proof of purchase in order for you to get your money back. While these can be a great deal if you actually go through all the steps to get your rebate, they are often more trouble than they are worth.

It’s also important for you to read the fine print and terms of service thoroughly before making the purchase. There is a good chance that you will find some restrictions which can make getting the rebate difficult.

Free on a Trial basis

This is just annoying because for this you get a product or service for free but only for a limited time. Two perfect examples of this are in the case of gym memberships where the first month is free with the full payment of a year’s membership or like you can get three free issues of a magazine with a paid subscription.

This is very process as you get with a free sample because the companies giving away the free trial are hoping that once you begin using their product or service, you’ll continue to it for a long time.

Sometimes the free trial will be completely free with nothing for you to do once the trial period is over but that is rare. Most of the time you’ll be required submit some sort of payment first so that you can try a product and then cancel the membership or subscription once the free trial period is over.

The problem here is that if you don’t or forget to, then you’ll automatically be billed for the product or service that you really don’t want. A good example of this is the case with the free AOL service for three months. Eventually you will be billed for it even if you don’t like the service simply because you forgot the cut off date.

Free Reward

The free reward lets you receive a product or service for free after doing something that the company wants you to do first. A perfect example of this type of freebie is that you only get the freebie after filling out a survey or getting cash for opening an account of some type.

For this freebie you will want to see if the needed task or obligation is even worth the reward that is being offered. This is just common sense. Another thing that needs to be taken into consideration here is that in doing the activity it may actually wind up costing you in some other way down the road.

Free Shipping on purchases

This freebie is basically the biggest selling point on  the internet these days. Basically it just states that If you buy the product, you will receive free shipping when it is sent to you. For this you have to think that many of these companies will secretly include the shipping costs in the actual price of the item.

Either this will happen or you will be paying the shipping costs in another way such as by being charged extra fees such as processing fees or handling fees which are added to the cost of the product at the time of purchase.

As you can see there are quite a few different types of freebies and freebie offers. What we will be looking at in the next section is the common freebies that you can find and the many “bewares” that come along with them.

YOUR GUIDE TO INTERNET FREEBIES – Lesson 2: The Truth About Internet Freebies

nextlesson-internetfreebiesWhen it comes to getting Internet freebies, it helps to begin your journey with knowing what these freebies are really about. You have to pay real close attention to the way that a website is advertising their freebies because you may not be getting the bargain that you are hoping for. Let’s start by looking at these first.

Totally Free Stuff

These offers are those that are obviously the best and most trusted form of free stuff to find on the net. This is what every single one of us who seeks freebies looks for when they search the net, and we do it because it is the opportunity to get goods and services absolutely free of charge.

I have noticed that as most of the websites become larger they offer less and less of these absolutely real freebies and they also quickly sell out to pushing less than stellar freebies that pay the site every time an item is requested (pay per click advertising).

The best freebies that you can find on the net are those that offer no compensation at all to the site. Basically how this works out is that all of the free offers these sites post were from free links that generate revenue to the web owner.

These companies are offering the web visitors a free item in exchange for valuable marketing tools such as a hold on their key demographic and psychological information that they could use as a means to gather information on your behavior and interests and they will eventually use this information to more effectively influence your buying decision.

So what this means is that in return for a free t-shirt you are providing the company with information about yourself and in some cases you are even agreeing to sign up for a newsletter that will help the company promote their goods.

You also may be forced to agree to view ads or even click on ads to obtain free merchandise which is another way for them to get some money. Unfortunately these totally free offers are also the most difficult to claim and receive.

The totally free services that the net offers are almost always paid for by advertising. This ends up being seen to their advantage because then they are able to pay you to surf is by selling advertising and giving you a small percentage of what they make in advertising revenue.

Free With the Cost of Shipping

These offers are a completely different source of problems on their own because there is actually money involved. The truth behind Free With Shipping is that these companies have deals with the manufactures of these products to sell them at a promotional price or even completely free of cost.

Some of the cost may be given back to them when it comes to the cost of shipping. Sometimes these offers are nothing more than gateway offers to try and tempt you to buy more expensive items. In most cases, these freebies are of much better quality and chances are it is likely that you will receive these freebies the stock is usually rotated, replenished and tracked. These are good deals in that you get the item for free, however sometimes it can cost you quite a bit in the end so watch out.

Free After Some Sort of Rebate

The way Free After Rebate works is when you are offered an item that cost $30 and you are promised a rebate for the full amount after the point of purchase, it is a tricky business. These freebies are also good in quality, and once again because money is involved, more likely to show up at your door.

Of course there is a problem here in that with this type of promotion the rebates often take many months to redeem after the initial purchase is made.

Also these companies are hoping on the drop out rate of all those people who either forget to submit the rebate. Many of us also find that these rebate offer totally inconvenience you to the point where by the time you are finished with all of their requirements, you have missed the deadline for receiving the rebate. This is a very popular scam.

The point with any freebie that you will be offered is that there is generally a catch to it that you have to watch out for. This is why you should really check out these offers before you sign up for any freebie on the Internet. In the end you may find that you do not get you freebie for free, or you just may not get one at all.

YOUR GUIDE TO INTERNET FREEBIES – Lesson 1: Introduction

nextlesson-internetfreebies

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to.

Hansell B. Duckett

          The Internet offers many great services for those who use it. You can get information about almost anything you can think of the Internet. You can get in touch with your friends and family from all over the world for free. You can even send faxes and have live chats online these days. In fact, there is nothing that you can do at home that you can’t do online faster and more efficiently.

Of course with all of this convenience and leisure there is also the fact that in order to do many of these wonderful things, you are going to need the right tools in order to do it. That is just the beginning of the Internet freebie craze.

You see, we all want and need things on the Internet that we may not necessarily want to pay an arm and a leg for. Marketing companies and service providers want to get our business so they often offer free stuff on their websites in order to get us interested in their wares etc.

Freebies are great and we all look forward to getting them, however they do come with their prices. Some Internet freebies contain viruses for your computer, spyware and more. Also some of the freebies that you will find on the Internet are not even free at all once you factor in the shipping costs or the fact that they sucker you in with false freebie claims.

If you are at all like me, you will likely want to get your hands on something for free sooner or later. This is going to be your comprehensive guide to learning everything that you need to know in order to get the most out of your Internet freebies. Let’s get started right now.

Shoestring Promotions for Your Home-Based Business, Online and Off – Lesson 5: Tips to Effectively Promote Your Home-Based Business

We have looked at many low-cost ways of promoting your home-based business, which if implemented effectively will generate sales for your business.  However, at times, you also need some ideas to spread the word quickly about your business. You could try giving free stuff for a time limited period or use a referral system. Here are some tips that will help you with your viral marketing effort.

  • Include freebies to the greatest extent you can. One of the most important tools of viral marketing, free products or services that have some value for the customer can really give your business immediate exposure. Try free email services, free software, free information, etc.
  • Use existing networks effectively. Request ten to twelve people in your immediate network, for instance, to speak to ten or twelve other people about your products. Social media networks thrive on this kind of networking. Use your membership in these social media sites to start networking and providing some exposure to your business.
  • You should put forth a very simple message that can be carried on all your important promotional material – like in your emails, on your website, in the software downloads you provide or reports you make available. The simpler your message, the easier people will find it to remember.
  • One of the most cost-effective ways of promoting your home-based business is to make the best use of others’ resources as well. For example, you could place your advertisement on your affiliate’s website for no cost at all, you could give away free articles, ebooks or report and a single media release about your business could be picked up a large number of print publications.
  • Having initiated these marketing strategies, you should equip your business to handle a sudden increase in sales. Not only should you be prepared to handle taking the orders, the billing, shipping and tracking, you will also have to have enough resources like mail servers to handle any increase in mail and enough support staff to handle the increase in customers.

While you could create a marketing campaign choosing offline and online elements you have to remember that promoting your product is not going to be a one-off exercise. You will need to constantly work on your strategies, discard those that you think are not delivering and implement new ones. Hopefully, this blog series will serve as a good resource for you to refer to and to guide you when you need help.

Shoestring Promotions for Your Home-Based Business, Online and Off – Lesson 4: Online Promotion of Your Home-Based Business

While offline marketing methods can prove to be effective, online marketing makes it possible for your home-based business to reach out to a global audience. Further, the interactive nature of the Web means you will be able to receive and deliver instant responses through this medium. Finally, the open, sharing nature of the Internet has given rise to highly innovative, low-cost and successful online marketing methods. Here is a look at some of the most popular online marketing methods being used on the Internet today and how you can use them to promote your home-based business.

1.    Email Marketing

If you are just starting your home-based business, send an email to all those you know who may be interested in the product or service you are selling. It does not matter if many of them are just your friends and family. Your main aim now is to get the word out about your business. If you already have a database of existing clients, you could send them an email announcing the launch of your new product or service. Request the readers to pass along the information to their friends, family and colleagues who might also be interested in what you are offering.

Next, you may have a list of people or businesses that have opted to receive mails about a certain topic. If you do not have a ready list, you could contact companies that can provide you with such lists.

The most important thing to remember is that you should never send unsolicited mail to people you don’t know or even people who you know but have not requested for any information from you. This would be considered spam and might even cost you any goodwill that you already possess.

2.    Paying for Sales Leads

You can find prospective customers through online companies who display your ad very much like that of a classified ad. They will inform these visitors about your product and request them to click on your advertisement for more information and for actually purchasing the product. You will, of course, have to pay for the leads delivered, but the best thing about such targeted leads is that you can be fairly sure that you are paying only for those customers who truly want to know more about your product. Paying for leads in this way is far more cost-effective than advertising in the print media. For example, typical cost per lead is between $0.50 and $1.00. Now consider this – if you place an advertisement in a local newspaper for $300, seeing which you get about 30 leads. This works out to almost $10 per lead!

3.    Search Engine Optimization

The reach and influence of search engines has seen a tremendous growth in the last few years, so much so, that every person who visits the Internet to look for some information and finds a solution or search for a product, invariably begins with one of the major search engines. When you enter a keyword that is relevant to the product or service you are looking for, the search engine does a lightning quick search amongst all the websites it has in its database and returns with thousands of relevant records.

A couple of the main search engines are Google and Yahoo. Generally the higher your business name and products rank in the results displayed by these search engines, the greater will be the number of prospective customers visiting your website or getting in touch with you. The challenge of any business is, therefore, to come up with the list of keywords using which their prospective customers may be searching for related products and then to use them effectively on their website.

You should begin by using keywords that best describe the products and services you are selling. For example, if you are a real estate agent in Manhattan, you should use keywords such as real estate agent, homes for sale, offices for rent, home in Manhattan, Manhattan office, etc. You could check up on your closest competition to see what keywords they are using. You could also research Internet resources to see which keywords your customers are using.

Once you have narrowed down the list of keywords, you need to use them in your web pages so that they appear as frequently as possible. Some of the important places where you could use your keywords to great effect are:

  • Your website domain name.
  • The titles of your web pages.
  • The meta tags of all the pages, including the keywords and description meta tags.
  • Content of the page.

Using the keywords often in the content of your web pages is a good way of ensuring that the pages rank fairly high in the displayed results of search engines. However, you should use these keywords only where relevant, otherwise the quality of the content may be compromised. In fact, if you over use the keywords or use them where they are not relevant, you might be penalized or even banned by some of the search engines.

4.    Link Exchanges

Another way of getting your business ranked high in search engine results is to have as many websites link to you, as possible. For example, if you are a florist, you could contact event organizers, various venues, birthday or wedding planners, send them an email requesting them for permission to add their website to your list of resources or links. Next, you could ask them to reciprocate by linking to your website through theirs.

Having a list of such resources can have many advantages. First of all, your visitors will really appreciate getting all the information they need on your site. Secondly, as touched upon earlier, the more the number of quality websites that link to you, the higher your site will be ranked. And finally, you will have a number of interested customers coming to your website from the links provided by your link partners.

5.    Banner Advertising

Banners are simply advertisements for your product or service but linked back to your website. You can create your own banner and display it for a certain cost on specific websites that you know your prospective customers visit. Else, you could display banners through a free exchange – you could display the banner of another business on your website while they display yours.

6.    Email Signature

You have probably been using an email signature while sending out emails, for quite a while now without even realizing the marketing power of this signature. You can use the text you attach to your email to actively promote your business. Make sure that your email signature contains the standard stuff like your name, name of the business, slogan of the company or business, address, website URL, phone and fax numbers as also a brief description of your business and the products or services you deal in. Of course, you do not have to attach this signature to your personal mails as well. Having different signatures for different purposes like one for business mail and one for personal mail helps.

7.    Receiving and Sending Feedback and Testimonials

When a satisfied customer sends in an email or writes to you saying how satisfied he or she was with your product or service, immediately ask if you have permission to use the testimonial. Place these testimonials in prominent places on your website, any media releases that you may send out, advertisements that you place and brochures that you design. If your customer is kind enough, you could keep their contact details on record to pass on to prospective customers who want to know more about your product, from people who have actually used it.

This can also work in the reverse manner. You could send in your positive feedback to another home-based business owner telling them how their product or service helped you. They, too, would appreciate testimonials about their product and will most likely feature your testimonial just as you would, on their website. When they do so, they will place a link back to your site. In fact, when you write to the owner, you may want to clearly state that that business owner is free to feature the testimonial on their website and/or on whatever promotional material they deem fit.

8.    Discounts and Free Giveaways

One of the most powerful ways of attracting new customers and building a loyal base of customers is to occasionally offer free giveaways or discounts on specific products. Even if you are selling a service, you could offer discounts on some services or ‘free consultations’ for example. There are different ways in which you can implement these schemes.

  • If you are just starting your home-based business, by offering a free giveaway, you are giving your prospective customers the chance to try out your product for free. In fact, many marketing experts believe that when you provide something free, people feel more obliged to purchase something from you, as a way of returning the favor.
  • If you are selling any products, you could consider making a ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ offer. This way you will be able to attract customers who would not have ordinarily considered buying the product. Think of what product you could give away for free or at least a discounted price and which would also have some value for the customer.
  • Finally, if you already have an established clientele, you could offer them a product at a discounted price to express your gratitude. This will make them feel appreciated and you will have more sales.

9.    Using the Domain Name

You can use your domain name fairly effectively to promote your home-based business. In fact, the purpose of a domain name is the same as of a telephone number or a street address. Using your domain name, your prospective customers will find you on the Internet. While searching for a domain name, you should look for one that is rich in the keywords typically used by your prospective customers to search for businesses similar to yours. For example, if you own a real estate agency in Manhattan, try www.manhattanhomes.com or www.manhattanoffices.com  or something similar. This will ensure that when any visitor interested in homes or offices in Manhattan searches the Internet using any one of the major search engine and these keywords, your website and business will be ranked fairly high in the search results.

10.  Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs, also known as reseller programs, are also popular. As part of this type program, website owners will agree to display advertisements of your product or service – they will be known as your business affiliates – on their websites. For every purchase made by a visitor who has come through one of your affiliates, a certain percentage or portion of the sales – called commission – is paid out to the affiliate. All the affiliate has to do is display the advertisement, while you will be taking care of all the tracking and billing.  For your part, you need to pay your affiliate for sales that actually happen. This way both of you benefit.

There are two ways in which you can run your own affiliate program.

  • You could set up the program by yourself using many free or cheap online services like Clickbank.com.
  • You could use the help of a more costly service bureau like Commission Junction which will help you with the placement of your advertisements, of the actual tracking of sales, payments, reporting, etc.

Here are some tips that you should keep in mind in order to run and manage a successful affiliate program:

  • Your affiliates should be free to join and quit anytime they like.
  • They should be given access to tools that allow them to check the sales status and the amount of commission they have earned without having to contact you every time.
  • You should provide your business affiliates enough promotional material to sell your products effectively. For example, along with just a banner, you might want to send them sales letters, positive feedback and endorsement letters, articles and so on.
  • You should ideally provide them with 24/7 technical support.
  • Keep the commission levels at a rate that will allow them to earn enough and motivate them to promote your product more enthusiastically.

11.  Email Autoresponders

It is amazing what a wonderful promotional tool email autoresponders are and yet how little home-based businesses make use of them. Autoresponders work in the following manner: if you send an email to an autoresponder address, you will automatically receive a pre-written message. Of course, thanks to recent technical advances you no longer have to limit yourself to simple text messages. You can create well-crafted HTML messages; not only that, you can set up your email system to send out an entire sequence of autoresponders on days or at times of your choosing.

The best part of the autoresponder system is that once you make the effort of setting up your autoresponder system, everything else can be done automatically. Imagine that an interested potential client sends you a mail of enquiry regarding your product or service. That person will immediately receive a message indicating that their request has been received. This message can also contain details of the product requested by the potential client as also many other supporting details. Since a large majority of your customers will not be able to make up their mind on their very first visit to your website or after your first response, it is good business sense to follow up with them and to convince them of the benefits of your product. You can use autoresponders to promote various products and services and in fact, in the final autoresponder message, you can even throw in an attractive, time-limited offer that will hopefully convince the customer to actually make the purchase. You could provide another product for free or for a discounted price, free ebooks, free reports, etc.

Finally, you could consider including a survey in one of your autoresponder messages. This will help you understand what your customers like best about the product, what they did not like and what new features they would like to see included.

12.  Giveaways 

All of us love free things and though we know that it is very difficult to find something that is absolutely free, it does not stop us from searching for deals that will give us something for free. One sure way of attracting people’s attention is by offering attractive freebies with the main product or service. Internet visitors love to receive useful information – if you were to provide informational products for free with every purchase of your product, many would consider it worthwhile to make the investment. In fact, you can find many such free reports and ebooks on the Internet, some of which you are free to modify and sell. For example, if you are in real estate, you could give away a book on finding the best mortgage or a book about home décor.

13.  Social Media Marketing

You may have heard about Facebook, Twitter or MySpace from your excited teenager but never really considered it as an important marketing tool. Known as social media sites, these websites are the latest in the series that began with simple message boards and chat rooms.

You should ideally use social media as a way of getting to know your clients better. By becoming a member and contributing to the general discussion, you can understand the kind of problems your prospective clients face. You could offer suggestions and solutions that would help out other members. Slowly you can establish yourself as an expert in your area of expertise – this will give you a good opening to mention your home-based business. Some of the members may actually try out your product and if they are satisfied, you can be sure that news about your product will really spread on these social media sites. In fact, you can request prospective customers who are not able to make up their mind about your product to speak to some of the satisfied customers on any of the social media sites and get answers to their questions.

However, you have to remember to be as subtle as possible in your approach. Do not try to become a member of these sites with the sole purpose of making a sales pitch; do not post any advertisements or press releases on these sites. Else you may find your idea actually backfiring on you with members actually avoiding mentioning your business and your products.

14.  Using Merchandising Materials

The best way of getting people to remember you, your business name and the products you sell is by making sure that you get as much exposure as possible amongst your prospective customers. One of the most powerful ways of doing this is by including the business name, logo and website URL on all the office stationery. When the name of your company and website is seen again and again by people, they are more likely to remember it. Put your website address and product names on your letterheads, business cards, brochures and so on. Here is a list of things you could add your business details to – Letterheads, Business cards, Brochures and Flyers, Merchandise bags, Catalogs, Packaging and even your Invoices and Receipts.

15.  Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

You can use pay per click (PPC) advertising to get highly targeted customers to visit your website. Your advertisement is placed on a search engine and you have to pay for every visitor that clicks on your advertisement. You are required to bid on the keywords or phrases that are related to your business. Though you can generally start bidding for as little as a few cents per visitor, the higher you bid, the higher you will be placed on the search engine result page. This will ensure that interested customers have a better chance of viewing your advertisement and of clicking on it. Google AdSense is one of the best-known PPC services. You can use PPC advertising to get targeted and qualified visitors at a very reasonable cost. Of course, you may need to experiment with keywords, different kinds of ads and even with different PPC search engines to find which one works the best for you.

16.  Articles

One of the more recent trends in online promotion is to write articles related to your product and in the area of your expertise. This not only guarantees you free publicity but also establishes your credibility as an expert. Usually, it does not cost you anything to get a well-researched and informative article published. On the other hand, if you were to invest in advertising space to gain publicity equivalent to what you gain by having your article featured in a local newspaper, magazine or online magazine, you would probably have to shell out thousands of dollars.  It is obvious that well written articles can bring you far better results than high-priced advertising and at the same time earn respect from your prospective customers who will start to see you as an expert in your field.

The best possible articles are the ones that offer people solutions to or at least guidance on how to solve their problems.  If you are willing to offer tips or techniques as an expert in this matter, people will be more than willing to listen to you.

Here are some tips on writing effective articles that can help establish you as an expert.

  • If you start your article with powerful words or phrases such as ‘Change your life…’, ‘How to….’, ‘Powerful Tips to…..’, you can be sure that people will sit up and take notice.
  • Having attracted your reader’s attention, you should now make sure that they read the whole article. In the very first few lines, show the reader why he or she should be reading the article and what they will gain once they have finished reading the whole thing.
  • Use short, simple sentences and step-by-step directions to guide the readers into finding the solution to their problems.
  • End by quickly summarizing what you have already written. If your readers have been impressed by your article, they are sure to want more advice and guidance. End the article by giving them a brief description of what you do, your home-based business and your contact details.

If you find the thought of actually writing something highly daunting or if you think that you cannot possibly write more than one or two articles at the most, you could consider using private label rights products. Private Label Rights (PLR) content varies from articles, reports to entire ebooks; content that you are free to modify, include your name as author and that you are free to sell in any way you want, even for a profit. While you can find many PLR products at fairly low prices, you can also find some for free. Once you purchase these PLR products, you can modify them in places you like per the packaged license from the seller, and rewrite portions in your own style, so that they convey the message that you want to.

17.  Webrings

Webrings were once a highly used tool, though lately have been losing their attraction a little. A webring consists of a group of related sites. This way a visitor to one of the sites can be directed to another related website, and the visitor can keep surfing sites that are related in one way or another. Joining these webrings is free of charge for member website owners, and visitors can visit for free.

Each webring is typically created and maintained by one person known the ringmaster. It is this person’s responsibility to go through site submissions, study whether they meet the requirements to be a part of the webring and if they do, to make modifications so that they are eventually in the webring. Once webrings are set up, they do not need much maintenance, unless and until a site goes permanently down.

Being part of a related webring is a great way of getting targeted traffic consistently to your website.

18.  Ezine Advertising

While you may have given thought to placing advertisements for your home-based business in one of the print publications, you might not have known that an equally powerful option exists online. You can promote your product or service by advertising in ezines. The number of ezines is growing rapidly as they are getting more and more specialized and are catering to highly targeted markets. Not surprisingly, this is a great way of reaching your targeted market as well.

Typically, prices for placing advertisements depend a great deal on how popular the ezine is and the actual location of the advertisement.  Generally, the more prominent the location, the higher the cost of the advertisement.  In any case, you will find that placing advertisements in ezines is much less expensive than placing them in print publications. In fact, some ezines even offer to send solo ads to all their subscribers, though this generally is far more costly.

19.  Newsletters

One of the basic rules of business, regardless of whether you are running a home-based business or a huge corporation, is that you should never focus only on the sales angle but more on developing a long-term relationship with your customers. And one of the best ways of doing this is by publishing your own newsletter.

If you have been marketing your business for some time now, you would have realized that it takes several rounds of speaking with a prospective customer, convincing them of the benefits of your product and clearing all concerns, for that person to finally make a purchase. Imagine if you can do all this without having to be a nuisance. In fact, you can even make a nice income on the side. Yes, we are talking of using a newsletter to send out powerful sales messages to prospective customers and to effectively promote your product.

Send out regular newsletters to all your present customers and prospective ones. Rather than contain information only about your products or services, focus on giving some real information, useful tips, industry news and so on. Follow this up with details about your product, the benefits they offer and whom they should be speaking to in case of any concerns.

Here are some tips that will help you create newsletter with powerful sales material.

  • You want your prospective customers to look forward to your newsletters – given them quality content and not old or reworked content.
  • Write your own articles to the extent possible. If you do not have the time to do so and you do not mind spending some money, you could hire a ghostwriter to help you with some of them.
  • Make sure that you have carefully checked the spelling and the grammar of the content. Most importantly ensure that all the links mentioned in the newsletter are working.
  • Personalize the newsletter to the greatest extent possible. Some email software, for instance, allows the creation of a special field so that newsletters can be addressed to the subscriber by their first name.
  • You can earn a nice little income through these newsletters by allowing other businesses to pay for (or offer an exchange for) small advertisements in the newsletter. However, you should be careful not to publish too many advertisements, else it may end up putting off your customers.
  • Be regular in mailing your newsletter.

As we have seen, there are many ways of promoting your home-based business, both online and offline. You could concentrate on using either offline or online methods but the most effective way would be to use a good combination of both. Of course, much will depend on how much time and resources are available with you. In the last section, we will give a few useful tips to make effective use of the strategies we have mentioned in the earlier sections and successfully promote your home-based business.