Everyone has heard the old expression “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” The idea of getting something for free online automatically has anyone with the slightest bit of skepticism asking what the catch is. Is it really possible to get free stuff online without giving any billing information? The short answer is yes, it is possible. You can really get free samples of shampoo, makeup, toothpaste, soap, and pretty much anything the average person uses. Many times, large companies offer legitimate free samples on their websites. To request a sample you just need to fill in your information and press send. They will have a designated number of free samples to distribute and they will be on a first come, first serve basis. They will not charge for shipping and will send you free samples of their products in the mail.
What’s the trick?
The problem is, you can never really be sure whether a sample you request will actually show up. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. There are several factors that influence whether a free sample will actually be sent to you. The first and most important factor is supply. Companies have a limited supply of free samples to distribute, so when they hit that number, there may be thousands of people who haven’t gotten their sample yet. In addition, another factor that will influence the arrival or not of a sample is the location. The shipping cost increases for companies that deliver samples the further they have to send them. Therefore, almost all free sample offers are limited to a certain geographic region (primarily North America).
Scams, fake offers, SPAM, call it what you want, the end result is the same. There are sites that claim that something is free and whether in cleverly worded fine print or outright lying, they never send anything to anyone for free. Spotting scam gifts at first can be tricky, but once you learn the things to look for, it’s really common sense. How much does the product on offer cost? If it is more than a few dollars, it is likely a fake. There is no free iPod or laptop. Also, look at the home page of the site offering the free sample. What business are they in? Does it make sense for your company to have samples of the product they offer? For example, if a ringtone site offers free shampoo, it is most likely a scam. But if it is an online cosmetics store that offers small samples of your cheapest lip gloss, it is more likely to be real. Also ask yourself if the information the site asks for makes sense. Are they saying they are going to mail you something but don’t ask for your address? There are exceptions, but in general, most actual free samples will ask for your email address, name, postal address, and phone number.
Avoiding junk mail
Another thing to watch out for is spam and junk mail. Unfortunately, it is unavoidable when trying to get gifts. Even legitimate free samples will keep you on their mailing lists long after they send out your sample. In fact, in most cases, it’s the reason they offer something for free in the first place. But this is easy to manage if you know how to do it. First set up a separate email address that you will only use to request free samples. You cannot give a fake email address because you will have to click the links in the confirmation emails before they send you an email. Next, think of a pseudonym and use it as your name when ordering gifts. The fake name is useful because it makes it easy to sort spam and keeps your real name off those pesky commercial distribution lists.
Where to look
Now that you know the basics of how real free samples work, it’s time to explain how to find them. There are many different sites that serve the same purpose, to find real free samples and to let your visitors know where they are. It is important to understand that these free sites are not the part that actually offers the free samples. The websites that you will become familiar with will actually be more like the yellow pages, making freebies easy to find. How do they find the freebies for your site? Checking what the other free sites link to. What this means is that actual gifts spread very, very quickly. A free site will find a sample and post a link. Then 2 more free sites will see that link and put one on their own site, then 4 more from there, and so on until you’re on all free sites. There really isn’t a free giveaway site that you should use. Instead, you should familiarize yourself with them and choose 2-3 free sites to periodically check for new samples to order. Finding these sites is as easy as doing a Google search for ‘free samples’, ‘gifts’, ‘free stuff’, etc.
Playing the numbers game
On average, no less than 80% of the free samples you try to request will never show up for one of the reasons listed above. This means that requesting just one or two gifts will not be enough to turn the odds in your favor. Instead, visit your favorite gift sites every day and request every new gift you see. On average, there are no more than 7-10 new gifts available per day. This may seem very time consuming, but there is a great trick to automating requesting for free samples. All you need to do is download and install the Google Toolbar. It is virus free and will not break your computer. Once you have installed the Google Toolbar, access your options and then the “Autocomplete” tab. There you will be able to write your old fake name, your real address and your separate email address and save it all.
Then when you are on a website requesting that information, you just need to click the auto-fill button on the Google toolbar and the request form will be filled out automatically. This means that without auto-completion it may take more than an hour to request 10 free samples, but with the same request amount it could take less than 5 minutes. So it’s just a matter of setting aside 5-10 minutes every day to request each new sample you see. If you are consistent about it, you will have more than enough requests to turn the odds in your favor. Then your daily visits to your mailbox will be like an exciting free lottery sample. Some days you will win and there will be a gift for you. Other days there will be nothing. But it’s always exciting and you never know what you’re going to get!