Either It’s Free. Or not. Period.

C’mon, marketers. Either you are giving me something for free—or you are making a fraudulent come-on. 

I’m not saying you have to give anyone anything. Far from it. You are in business. No one expects that.

But be honest about what you are offering. Whether it’s a forced-continuity membership or “low fee for shipping,” that is not free. If there are any strings attached that require payment, it is not free.

[Whether or not "free" actually applies to things you give in return for the site visitor narking on---I mean, giving you the email addresses of---his or her friends is another quibble for another day.]

If you are offering a gift with purchase (normally referred to in Internet marketing as “a bonus”), say so. Call it a bonus. Don’t pretend it is a gift.

All these little scams (and, Yes, they are scams on a small scale) are simply making me unsubscribe from your list and/or delete your mail without opening. Do you think I’m the only one? Thank again.

Look at it this way: If you will scam me on small things, why should I trust you at all?

And on that shipping and handling scam: The last thing I need is more CDs or DVDs to store. Plus, this is the Web. If I want your info at all, I want it right now! Not whenever the post office gets around to processing it.

So there. I’ve said it. I feel better. How about you?

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