Free And “Free”

Today I got a phone call which I knew was about selling magazines. For some unknown reason I thought I would listen to what the caller has to say (Usually I simply say “not interested, thanks” and hangup). First the caller asked me some questions where I needed to rate magazines either good or bad. I said this and thought what would come next (perhaps I wanted to see what sort of trick there was coming).

After that, the caller thanked me and said that he would like to give me 8 months free for any magazine of my choice. I said one of the magazines (Roope Ankka of course) and then the caller said that it would cost me only 4 months. I said that paying 38 euros (or whatever it was) was pretty expensive price to pay for a free magazine.

At that point I thought that “I’ve taken time to listen to you, replied to your questions, and you want to reward me by trying to sell something for me”? Of course I knew that this would happen, but still I think that this type of “marketing” (if you can call that marketing) gives bad image for all sorts of advertising. I personally don’t mind ads. In fact, I’d hope that those who deliver ads would know 110% of what I want and when I want it. It would be really cool if the ads I see would be totally tailored for me.

But… instead I get “free” offers (that end up costing bloody lot, and just waste everybody’s time). If you offer something free, then make it free. If you are giving a “free bonus”, then make sure that this bonus is indeed a free (and that normally nobody would get the bonus).

There’s a difference between “free” and free. Whenever companies try to insult us by trying to con us into buying, they are perhaps making more sales – but they are also giving a bad reputation for the whole industry.

It’s okay to offer me stuff to buy when I’m interested about it.

But it’s not okay to offer me to buy “free stuff”.

Juuso Hietalahti

One Comment

  1. My personal pet pieve is web sites that say – donate to keep this site free – well if you’re donating, then you’re paying for the site or the content – then it isn’t free. I have no idea who started the fashion but I find it really annoying. I’d be interested to know if those web sites ever get any money…

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