Kathleen Ramirez, from the Ka Leo O Hawai'i newspaper, (I hope you can figure out where their located) wrote an awesome article about HIF that I recently got a chance to read. Their main website is down right now, but you can find the article below the fold.
I also want to thank David Pham, one of the newspaper's editors, for sending me copies of the newspaper and keeping me in the loop about the article's status. And remember, if you have a local newspaper, please send them an e-mail with a short little blurb about HIF and see if they might not want to write about us. The more, the better! 🙂
Want freebies? Yes, please! Website helps users get free stuff online
By Kathleen Ramirez
Ka Leo Staff Reporter
After eating your $5 to $7 lunch on campus, you look into your wallet and find only pieces of lint and a few coins left over. Sound familiar? In a reality where most college students must pinch pennies to survive, a Web site called heyitsfree.net aims to bring freebies to everybody.
Twenty-four-year-old Ryan “Goob” Eubanks is the mastermind behind Hey It's Free. A recent graduate of the University of South Carolina who majored in History and Criminal Justice, Eubanks started this Web site in March 2006 with the intent of helping people find sites that offered company merchandise and samples for absolutely nothing.
Companies give away free samples either to promote new products or stimulate more sales of products that haven't been faring too well. Promotional freebies such as pens, hats and coffee mugs with the company logo stamped on it are also given away. Lastly, there are perks, which are freebies that are given for agreeing to do something simple, such as signing up for a newsletter or taking a short survey.
“I'm sure you've seen those flashing banner ads on Web sites that say ‘Click here for a free iPod,' or ‘Hit the monkey to win a free Playstation3,'” Eubanks said. “The problem was that they weren't free … For instance I spent a total of $35 on the iPod offer. That's when I started trolling multiple sites to find legit freebies and I started posting some of my favorite ones everyday on HIF.”
Web sites giving away shampoo, lotion, Gillette razors, toothpaste, laundry detergent, T-shirts and even mini-bottles of vodka have been posted on HIF. This can be a godsend for college students who want to save a couple of bucks. In the past, one company gave out “study survival kits” that featured samples of coffee and energy-soda, post-it notes, pens and candy bars.
Unlike other Web sites that require you to fill out multiple sponsor sites and refer your friends to their site, HIF only posts Web sites that ask only once for your mailing address.
When asked if he was concerned about identity theft, Eubanks said, “You bet I am. In fact, it's part of the reason that I refuse to post any referral-based freebies on HIF; they generally ask for your Social Security number and credit card number and that's not just something that I'm comfortable telling people to give out.”
“If a site asks for anything beyond your name, address, e-mail and phone number, I won't post it on HIF,” Eubanks said. “People shouldn't have to enter in any extremely personal information to get something for free.”
HIF has experienced much growth this past year. The site now boasts a forum, where people can sign up for free and post Web sites that offer freebies. Over 400 members participate in posting over 40 freebies daily. At least eight other members volunteer their time to help Eubanks moderate the forum.
Members also are able to play on the site's arcade, private message other users, make new posts and respond to old ones, participate in monthly contests and see all of the other freebies that never made it to the main page of HIF.
“A few weeks ago, the show “Fast Money” on CNBC sent out Logitech Quickcam Pro webcams to the first 2,000 people to sign up for their newsletter, and I happened to get in on the action thanks to the heads up I got on the forums,” Eubanks said. “It retails for almost $50 and I use it to chat on Skype with friends who live overseas. In fact, I used it to record a freebie review, which is one of the new features on HIF where I'll record a three to five minute video clip of myself using a random freebie I've recently gotten and give my thoughts on it.”
Over time, all of those savings can add up, and you realize that you can buy an extra round of drinks or that new outfit you've been eyeing. In this increasingly Internet-based age, the anticipation of getting something in your postal mailbox can be exciting. Whether you want to save some cash or try something for free, HIF may be for you.