Happy Birthday To HIF

I'm bad at remembering things. Dates, things to do, names!, the point of this post. TL;DR I think today was HIF's anniversary.

I registered HeyItsFree.net in May 2005. I was a few months away from graduating with a degree in History and, as Gob Bluth would say, it was clear I'd made a huge mistake. One lazy afternoon while in an Australian computer cafe, I was chatting with a friend back home for ideas for new websites. He pitched the name Hey, It's Free and I liked it. I didn't even know what I wanted to write about, I just liked the name. The .com version was already registered, so I picked up the .net and promptly forgot all about it.

Fast forward to February 2006. My mom was trying to print some photos. I had seen an offer online where she could do it for free, but I didn't have five hours free to walk her through it over the phone. Then I remembered I still had the rights to this domain, so I quickly set up a blog and wrote this:

Similar to Wal Mart, Walgreens has 1 hour photo. To get your 20 free prints, sign up for an account at http://www.walgreens.com.

Click on Photo, and upload your first photo. Once you do that, you will automatically be credited 20 free prints (glossy only for pick up in store). No shipping charges if you choose to pick up in store amd(sic) no credit card info required.

One more thing, you can create more than one user. Then you get print 20 prints for each user, and just pick them up all at the same time.

And thus HIF was born. I followed that up with four more posts that day and by March I was more or less working at the pace I do now. But the above post is the oldest I can find in the archives, which means SIX YEARS AGO TODAY I started this site. That's longer than half my friendships. That's way longer than any of my relationships.

I've been going through the archives a lot recently. Boy were there some crappy offers back then. It took me a month or two to figure out what freebies were legit. It was funny how fast I started getting readers. I remember plateauing around 500 daily readers for the longest time, but it was amazing to see how quickly those 500 found the site. I didn't remember starting the forums (remember those?!) in November 2006. I figured it had been at least a year later. And the jokes! Oh, the jokes, when there were any, were awful. Worse than they are today! Though I have to admit, I hit my stride that summer.

That's what honestly kept me going – the silly jokes. I used to create & flip sites all the time, but I found writing jokes about freebies refreshing in the strangest way. I'd always wanted to “be funny” for a living, but I could never make myself do it. Suddenly I was being forced to come up with something new every day without picking the topic myself. It was like a bizarro version of The Daily Show. Instead of waking up and making fun of the news, I'd be given toothpaste, a granola bar, and a magazine offer. And after the 40th toothpaste offer, it got really interesting to see if I could keep it original and fresh without ever rehashing the same joke. I loved it.

So yeah, it's HIF's birthday. I have no idea what the next six years will bring. More stuff like the Amazon Kindle giveaway from yesterday? Live chat or Q&A sessions? More writers to cover coupons or contests? Who knows but I hope you'll be there to find out with me. Thanks for everything.

74 comments on “Happy Birthday To HIF”

  1. So glad to see HIF stick around, Been a fan since the early days, and it was Goob and Adam’s awesomeness that keeps it going. I was most active during the early days of the forums (I was PBChicknz), and the short lived arcade (remember the arcade?) and even won a few of the first contests back when Google Maps was new (feelin old don’t ya?) and there was the scavenger hunt on it (find a redlight!). Yeah that was a while back, lmao. The site and the people involved have been through a lot through the years, but the want for getting stuff for nothin, never changes πŸ˜€ Keep up the good work and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

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  2. Happy birthday, HIFfers! I hope that the next six years bring some sort of joke book by you guys — I love your humor! Keep it comin’! πŸ˜€

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  3. when I was a struggling college loner with no friends and no girlfriend your website helped filled the void in my life. Who needs friends when there’s a free razor in the mail…. Now that I’m just a normal struggling jobless person
    I still look forward to finding out what freebies are available. Thanks Goob and Adam, the kings of freebies.

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  4. I know I’m a couple of days late…..but HAPPY BIRTHDAY or ANNIVERSARY!!!
    I love this site. It keeps my mail box from getting lonely! You’re a blast! Hope you have another “great” 6 yrs.

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  5. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO HIF. It is the best legit freebie site on the net <3.
    PERIOD!!!! I've been a loyal follower and have referred countless people that love it as much as I do. We love the freebies Goob but, we love the humor even more!! Keep up the great work and we'll all be along for the ride!! I hope this little note finds your health in a better place than the day we read your post = ( Keep the faith and we're praying for ya, ALWAYS <3

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  6. Happy 6th birthday/anniversary! Aren’t internet years kinda like with dogs, where 1 year is equal to 7 years? So REALLY, it’s Happy 42ND to HIF!
    Woo hoo ~ keep ’em coming for many, many more!

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  7. happy birthday to HIF! it’s been fun…..and thanks for reminding us of birthday freebies—got my free Jersey Mike sub and drink this week and it was great-still have some freebies and BOGO’s to go! Thanks for the work you do-it’s appreciated.

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  8. Happy birthday, HIF! And keep up the great work, Goob! Reading your posts often makes me laugh out loud, and sometimes they are just what I need in the middle of a stressful work day. And it doesn’t hurt to come home to an awesome free sample in the mail. πŸ˜‰ Take care and thanks for all you do!

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  9. Happy,Happy Birthday To A Great Goob…Your Website Totally ROCKS!!!..Looking forward to many more years Of your Enjoyable Humor.. The Best To You,GOOB!!!

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  10. Happy birthday you little Hiffer you. I love your free stuff. Almost every day I come back from the mailbox singing my free stuff song. OK the neighbors are starting to talk and trying to figure out who Goob is and why is he giving me free stuff and they really look worried when my husband comes back from the mailbox sing my free stuff song. Now they really want to know who Goob is!!!!

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  11. hey, i love HIF i have been with you for several years now. the most fun i ever had was one year i decided to see if i could get something free for everyday of the year. and with your help i accomplished that goal. i still get my free stuff just not so much everyday. love you keep up the good work.

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  12. Yay!! Happy Birthday, HIF! It’s been great keeping up with not only the freebies but also just your sense of humor & daily anecdotes… I have a feeling those two things really kept me coming back not just the freebs. It truly shows some perseverance and talent to do something so well so long. Take care of yourself & I look forward to many many many more good (& bad) jokes and freebs. ^_^
    (on a sidenote, I wonder what strange icon I shall get…)

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  13. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Here’s to many, many more. Thank you again for all the hard work that this probably takes to give us all those wonderful freebies :@

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  14. Yay! Happy birthday! This site has saved me so much money on shampoo, tampons, and other useful things! And that’s a big deal as a working mom. Plus I love trying new things.

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  15. HIF is fabulous— Thanks Goob and Adam for your hard work and dedication. I have free stuff littering my whole house, it’s been an enjoyable journey.

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  16. Happy 6th Birthday Goob & HIF … you are the bright spot in my day with your jokes and freebie offers … keep them all coming … you are GREAT πŸ˜€

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  17. Hi Goob…thanks so much for making it exciting to see what will be in my mailbox. Congrats on such a great site! Looking forward to many more years of ‘Hiffing’!

    Happy Anniversary HIF!!
    God Bless!

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  18. A great weekend to celebrate it!!!! nice job. I am glad I am part of this celebration. I started to follow you last year and wao every days is better and better. keep up doing the good stuff.

    happy b-day.

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  19. Happy Birthday! I am a new member and want to thank you for all that you do. I go to this site everyday, two or three times. Have gotten lots of goodies. Once again, thank you and Happy Birthday.

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  20. Happy Birthday and Anniversary! I am addicted to freebies and I follow most/all(?) of the freebie sites, but yours is by far my favorite. Keep up the great work!

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  21. Thanks for the HIF.net site. It is a must to check several times a day. Also, thanks for sharing some personal info about you. I think I’ve been coming here for about 2 years and have received some neat freebees. Hey, did you ever get that History Degree?!

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  22. Whoo-hoo! Congrats! I’m not even sure when I found your site but it seems like a long time ago — in a good way. This site is a nice daily habit, like coffee or chocolate. πŸ™‚

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  23. Goob,

    I’m proud to have been a Hiffer since the beginning. I’ve had a blast, and, at one point, considered you and the other regulars of the HIF forums to be some of my better friends.

    Your website is partially inspiration for the many, many blogs and ideas I’ve come up with, no matter how silly. None have stuck, but I’ll know when I find the right one.

    The very fact that HIF has survived this long shows that there’s some charisma (or magic, it’s probably magic) dripping from your fingers as you type those laughable (and lovable) puns every day.

    Here’s to six more, buddy.

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  24. Happy Anniversary! I discovered HIF around 2008 while waiting for a traffic report on my car radio. It was a few minutes early and in the meantime they did a story about HIF and what a cool site it was. I couldn’t wait to get home and check it out. Thanks for the freebies and the laughs.

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  25. ???Happy Birthday to you … ??? Happy Birthday to you … ??? Happy Birthday dear Goob … ??? Happy Birthday to you … ???….and many more!!! I hope it’s a wonderful day!!

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  26. Happy anniversary, and thank you!
    Thanks also goes out to your Mom for inspiring you to make use of your site! HIF has gotten me through some rough patches with your humor and gave me back a desire to open the mailbox….I’ve been here since spring of ’07 and plan on sticking around for better (jokes) or worse (jokes)! Thanks again!

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  27. Happy Birthday!!! or Happy Anniversary!!! You’re one of the first sites I started following when I started trying to save money, and you’re still one of the sites I check daily. Thank you for everything you do!

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  28. Thank you so much for all the work you put into getting us our free goodies. You and this website rock!
    πŸ™‚
    Keep on Hiffin’.

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  29. Woo hoo. Happy Birthday HIF. I love your site and crack up at your jokes!! Keep the jokes and freebirs going!! Btw I just won the best freebie and is totally legit…free vacation to Montana through Marlboro. Ps my online username is almost aways….ilovefreebies πŸ™‚

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  30. Happy, happy anniversary! I’ve enjoyed getting samples this past year or so! I’m frustrated by the FB changes–I still don’t see all the posts–so I try to remember to look back over the last few days when I do see a post. Thanks for all your screening & posting talent!

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