Friday, July 25, 2008

Signing Your Life Away To Get Something Free

There are a ton of great deals floating around the internet these days. Free coupons, product samples, and information are available to anybody by filling out forms and giving out email addresses and phone numbers.

How do we get around the intrusion that giving out personal information inevitably brings while still making the best of the freebies offered?

First, when signing up for a freebie make sure you always use a 'junk' email address. We have one with Yahoo just for this purpose. I check it every couple of days, usually doing a quick scan and then deleting everything. It takes about 3 minutes because I know that 99% of it is junk. Every so often an offer requires email verification. I always do this immediately to keep from having to wade through the junk later on just to find it.

The phone thing...
This one is a bit trickier.
If you do a lot of internet offers or if you do frivolous types of surveys for money, like CashCrate (which I have made quite a bit of $$ with), you may want to invest the $2.oo into a separate number. How do you get a number for only $2? Kall8 offers 866 numbers for $2 a month. We have one so the kids can reach me no matter where they are and it is much cheaper than adding an extra cell phone to our bill. You can take it anywhere with you, switch phones it rings to with extreme ease, and cancel it at any time as there is no contract. Plus, you can do everything over the internet by just signing in at the Kall8 website.
There is a per minute charge, I think it is around $.0.06 per minute, but if you don't plan to actually answer, use voicemail, or use the number at all then you are only out the $2 a month. You can use this number on any forms you fill out on the internet without worrying about marketing calls later.

Saying this...
I stay away from suspicious marketing type forms, with the exception of CashCrate which I use a specific 866 number for. Specific companies, like Purina or Kraft are not likely to call me so I don't worry about using my number for them. It is the marketing companies that rope your personal information in by offering a freebie that I am wary of.

And, as always, go with your instincts! If something doesn't feel right then it isn't worth whatever freebie you might get. Just close the window and move on to something more time worthy.