November 22, 2007

AND AL GORE MAKES IT A TRIUMVIRATE:

World Wide Web: Land of Free Stuff: You want it? It's yours. From a college education to your favorite shampoo, it's all happening gratis on the Internet (Douglas MacMillan, 11/19/07, Business Week)

This year, e-commerce is projected to be a $259 billion business, up 18% from 2006, according to market researcher Forrester Research (FORR). That's a mind-numbing figure, but it doesn't mean everything online has a price tag. The list of free things you can get is as nearly extensive as the Internet itself, and includes everything from circus tickets to booze, including golf lessons, gift cards, pets, even a college education.

What have I found? I've collected 101 of the very best freebies—including enough free software to run your own business or become a YouTube video mogul—all without putting my hand in my pocket. Of course, I did have to give something, even if it wasn't money. In some cases, I had to click on an ad or watch a video. In others, information about me—such as how I spend my time online, or how I spend my money—was so valuable it entitled me to free products.

There are plenty of freebies to go around. I still watch TV, but I stopped paying for cable and get a lot more of my entertainment needs filled from the Internet. Radio sites like Pandora and TV sites like Joost serve more content that's customized to my tastes, with some ads on the side. If I'm feeling more adventurous I head over to WWITV, where TV channels from all over the world are streamed in real time. I don't know how much it would cost to get news broadcasts from Fiji on my home TV set, but my hunch is that it would take a very large satellite dish.

Handing out free product samples is not a novel form of advertising, but on the Web it's super easy to find companies willing to give you enough products to stock every room of your house.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 22, 2007 8:36 AM
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