|Here is my latest article. It may be freely used in ezines, on websites or in e-books, as long as the Resource Box is left intact.|
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The best things in life may be free, but the headline above brings into focus a pervasive and invasive trend on the web.
We all know what free means; I shouldn't have to drag out a dictionary definition to spell it out (no pun intended). It looks like, however, that the generally accepted meaning is being twisted into something that's not quite free.
Let me explain...
You're at a website and you find a free e-book you like...you click the link and up pops another annoying box asking you to send a viral email to some of your friends or associates; or...
You want to subscribe to a free ezine, so you click again...but, again another popup box, please send a viral email to your friends; or...
You're offered a free trial of a piece of software, but before you can get it, there it is again...another box soliciting a viral email to your friends.
So...what's wrong with all that, you ask?
Let me answer that with a question: When that telemarketer offered you a free trip to Florida, for a week, and all you had to do was listen to a sales pitch for land, what did you do? It's OK...you don't have to answer that.
Some take up such an offer, of course, but I'll bet most don't. Why? Because it's not really free! It's what I call "free...but".
The point has now been reached, I think, where few "free" offers can be trusted. And, I think it's about time that marketing pundits particularly took note of the fact that free really does mean free.
Oh...there are no free lunches, you say? Apart from the creation of the cosmos perhaps, you're right. But, if a seller insists on offering a "free...but" product, that seller should make sure the prospect knows that before the prospect clicks through. What's so hard about that?
Look, it comes down to this: If a seller wants me to do a sell job, then pay me. Don't offer me a book, software or whatever "free", and expect me to blab about a product or offer when I haven't even read or tried it yet.
Now, if you think I'm wrong, then go ahead...keep doing the other guy's job and keep running the risk of being accused of SPAM. It's your website and reputation that's on the firing line...not mine.
As for me...I don't buy that type of "free" anymore. It's getting to be too expensive. ;-)
About the Author
Roger Burke has been involved with computers since 1967, and has managed to break quite a few, over the years. He, and his wife Sherry, are now actively engaged in online self-publishing and promoting specific affiliate programs at http://online-wealth.com . If you have any comments or questions about this article, please send emails to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org .
Copyright 2001, Online-Wealth. All rights reserved.
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