There’s been a lot of discussion about “free” lately. David Meerman Scott has been talking about it. So has Chris Brogan. David is in favor of using free giveaways to build goodwill. Chris agrees but thinks there should be limits.
I agree that giving things away for free can be a great way to create buzz (and yes, there has to be a limit). However, if you’re going say something is free, make sure it really is free.
How free can go terribly wrong
A couple of days ago, Bob Bly posted that Joe Vitale offered a report for free on his site and then asked readers to buy him a gift certificate in return!
Last month, I bought a 3-ring binder which had an insert offering “free stock photos.” Turned out they weren’t really free. You have to open an account at an online stock photo company, fund it, and then (and only then) can you access a limited number of free photos.
If you’re going to go to the trouble and expense of putting inserts in thousands of binders, why not make the images truly free? Offer 5 free downloads, or a limited trial period. Give the prospective customer something of value, that really is free. That will build the goodwill you’re looking for; being deceptive won’t.