Firefly Pointer Fiberglass Jacket: The Dark Side of Freebie Sites

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Dark Side of Freebie Sites

Why freebie sites and blogs aren't as great as they seem.

 I LOVE free stuff. I love getting promotional stickers and items from bands or cool brands. But what sets me apart from the folks on freebie sites is that I don't want EVERYTHING. If something isn't of interest to me I will pass and let someone who would actually like it take it. That is the major problem with the bulk of the people who follow freebie sites. They don't care what it is, they want it because it's free. It becomes perfectly clear incredibly fast that people only seem to see the word "Free" and after that they have some kind of illiterate black out. They fail to read anything past that point becoming some form of "Free Zombies."

 In the early morning hours of February 25th 2016 my Free Swag went viral on Freebie sites and blogs. Why am I still talking about this? Well because it isn't over yet. It has been a solid week of over 7,000 submissions for my swag. I tried to manage and sift through messages and then had to charge fair shipping in order to be able to mail some of these without going broke. Even though this was a good idea it still wasn't enough. Submissions only slowed down a little bit.

 And in a matter of several hours I was wiped out of items. I was spending days preparing and mailing envelopes to people I didn't know. After days of waking up to madness I began to wonder about these freebie blogs where my site got picked up. I had googled it once but mustered the courage to do it again. It is posted on easily 80 different freebie sites/blogs. That doesn't count facebook, twitter ok...any social media sites.
Like this article explains.
"Beyond the opportunity to make free money or earn a gift, these sites have something else working in their favor that make them spread like wild fire: viral marketing. Word of mouth for these literally spreads like a virus, from one person to their social network and so on. The reason for this is that freebie sites offer rewards to users who refer new users."

Sadly it doesn't seem like giving away promotional freebies is possible for a small business, especially if you get picked up by a freebie blog.

 If you run out or can't give it to them...their entitled side comes out. Phrases like "while supplies last" mean nothing to free zombies. Suddenly in their minds I have been elevated to a rich corporation that has plenty of funds for shipping and endless supply of items to give out. Never did I claim anything like this, but when people see "Free" the rest seems to quickly pop into their mind. Working retail plenty in my life I already knew people don't read things like signs. It's incredible how mean, harassing and down right crazy people will act over an envelope of free items. Folks will quickly bury a person or small business in debt just to get some free stuff. Most of these folks are not my people and they couldn't care less about rock n roll. Things like page likes feel very conditional. If they don't get what they want when they want it they will unlike your page.

This image expresses  how I've been feeling lately. 

So to break it down, this is why (in my personal experience) Freebie Sites can be bad news:

  1. The people who follow freebie sites just want anything free and they don't care what it is. They'll take it even if they don't want it. Is that the kind of "customer" you want to have?
  2. Likes and follows are "conditional"; for example after my promo ended I lost a good chunk of the likes I had got. Most of the people who subscribed to my mailing list (by their own free will) have unsubscribed. 
  3. The people who follow freebie sites seem to have this expectation that anybody who gives away promotional material A. Has an endless supply of product. and B. Has lots of money to mail them all out.
  4. If you happen to go viral and run out of items many of these people act angrily and unsympathetically. Don't expect patience coming from people in these situations. 
  5. Most of the people who want free items couldn't give a shit about your business or cause. Often times they will even say so.
  6. You are most likely mailing free items off to people who are not the kind of people you want to connect with. Ie: People who will never give you any business anyway. 
  7. There seems to be a lot of entitled people seeking out freebies.
  8. If you go viral you'll have to charge for shipping because once it gets around it's like a virus. You will literally go bankrupt trying to keep up with it. Despite what many sites say, charging for mailing or shipping is FAIR. 
  9. They act as though they are in a frenzy for the free items as if it was the last remaining food on Earth. 
  10. People will actually harass you online if you run out. "If you don't send me my free items right away I will write bad comments about you on your facebook page." (I actually was told that).
  11. Freebie site people seem to think they are "giving me business by taking my free stuff." Promotional maybe, but business no. 
To balance things out, here are some good parts of freebie sites:
  1. You can actually find some of your people within the freebie sites/blogs followers. However it's really like a needle in a haystack.
  2. If captured right, you CAN actually get more followers, likes, comments, and subscribers.  

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