Useful Freebies Tools: Essential Resources to Use When Requesting Freebies
by Brian Chow
As someone who has requested freebies on the Internet for over a decade, I have looked for tools to make requesting freebies faster and more efficient. Below are the tools that I regularly use and recommend to help you save time and effort when requesting freebies and other great deals.
Get an Email Address Just for Freebies
Get a free email address from Yahoo!, MSN Hotmail, GMail, and other free email providers. Always use this email address when completing the freebies request forms.
When requesting freebies, you always have to enter your email address. The companies request your email address so that they can verify your information, send you updates on future offers, and put you on their mailing lists. While many companies respect your information by only sending information that you have requested, there are few that may share or sell information to others. In addition, there are unscrupulous companies that use freebies as a disguise to gather your email address for future unsolicited emails.
As you request freebies over time, you will inevitably receive unsolicited emails, so only use your free email address. When your inbox gets full, register for another free email address.
Here are links to the free email services:
Google GMail: http://www.gmail.com
Yahoo! Email: http://www.yahoo.com
MSN Hotmail: http://www.hotmail.com
Use Form Filler Software to Enter Information
The freebies request forms usually ask for your name, email address, mailing address, and other personal information. It gets repetitive to enter the same information for different freebies. There is software, some freeware, that automatically fill your personal information.
The most popular software is RoboForm at http://www.roboform.com
, and you can download the trial version for free. You have to pay for the professional version, which offers more features. To get a list of other freeware that fills forms, visit http://www.dirfile.com/freeware/form-filler.htm
However, if you are concerned about downloading software from lesser-known companies, there are free well-known toolbars that offer form filling features. Google Toolbar at http://toolbar.google.com/
offers “AutoFill” and MSN Toolbar at http://toolbar.msn.com/tour_suite/formfill.aspx
offers “automatic form fill.”
When using one of these tools, you need to enter your personal information once in the software. Then, whenever you visit a freebies request form, and the form contains fields that the software recognize, the software will notify you that it is able to fill your information into the fields. Depending on the software you use, click to let the software to instantly input the information. You need to still proofread the information entered because the software is not always 100% accurate, and the software may not enter all of the required information.
Track Freebies Request with Spreadsheets or Forms
To track and follow up with the freebies you have requested, download and print the free “Freebies Request and Receive” form in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. It is available at http://freestuffpage.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8849
You could also track freebies with a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or the free one in Open Office (http://www.openoffice.org)
. For the column headings in the spreadsheets, use the printable form mentioned above as a guide. It is faster and easier to copy and paste the information on the freebies request page to the different columns in the spreadsheet program.
The printable form and the spreadsheet allow you to know when you have requested and received the freebies. If you receive a sample from a company, then you would know that the company was able to fulfill your request. Therefore, you are more likely to get any future offers from the same company.
Handle Mail and Packages with a Letter Opener, Utility Knife, Paper Shredder, and Recycle Bin
It seems strange that these are recommended tools, but after awhile of requesting freebies, your volume of mail, including junk mail and catalogues, will gradually increase. You will eventually need an efficient way to handle the growing volume of physical mail. (On many freebies discussion forums, many veteran freebies hunters have commented that the postal carriers are getting to know them well due to the large volume of mail.)
Freebies and samples often arrive in envelopes and padded mailers. Therefore, you will need an efficient way to open them. You should shred the envelopes and any letters that contain your mailing address and other personal information. Shredding reduces your chance of having your identity stolen. Recycle the shredded paper in the recycle bin.
Opt-in to the Federal Communications Commission’s Do Not Call List or Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service
When you are getting too much junk mail, you may want to participate in the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA’s) Mail Preference Service to remove “your name and address from [the marketers’] mailing lists.” Information about this program is available at http://www.dmaconsumers.org/cgi/offmailinglist
. Be sure to read how it takes time for reputable companies to stop mailing you, and that you may continue to receive junk mail and catalogues from companies that do not participate in this program.
If you are getting unsolicited phone calls from requesting freebies, then opt-in to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Do Not Call List. Information is available at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/donotcall/
. As with the DMA’s Do Not Mail List, it takes time for companies to remove your phone number from the list and you may continue to receive unsolicited phone calls.
Tools and Resources for Canadian Residents Requesting Freebies
If you live in Canada and would like to request many of the “US Only” freebies, then, you may want to ask your friends or relatives in the United States for their permissions to use their US addresses. Note that your American recipients will get more junk mail.
If you do not know anyone in the states, but you live close to the US border, then you could rent a US post office box. Then, just use your post office address to request samples.
For more information on requesting American freebies in Canada, please read the “How to Request "US Only" Free Stuff from Canada” article at http://freestuffpage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7618
These are essential resources and tools for you when requesting freebies,
saving you time and effort in requesting freebies and other great offers.