How we guarantee freebies are legit

Why The “Free Snuggie” Offer Is A Scam

I come across dozens of fake freebies every day. 99.99% of them quickly die, but like a crazy ex, some hang around and simply refuse to go away. Case in point, the “free Snuggie” offer that popped up in October. I still get an e-mail or two each day suggesting I post it, and while I hate to be the bearer of bad news, there's no way it's coming.

However, I thought I could use it to show how I vet freebies when I'm unable to contact the freebie company directly. So if you're interested in learning more about the process as well as following along while I hunt down who exactly is behind this spreebie (I just made that word up), then please read along. Warning, it's fairly lengthy.

First, what's up with their domain? Why isn't this on, which is the Snuggie's official site? Furthermore, Suzzly's WhoIs info is hidden, which is the #1 sign of a freebie spam site. WhoIs is publicly available info on who owns a domain, kind of like a phone book for websites. For a fee, the info can be privatized, but I can't think of any company that does so. Instead, they put their office mailing address and a public 800 number so that their customers can reach them. A spammer, however, is most likely operating out of his/her/its home and doesn't want their info available, for obvious reasons.

As seen on TV? No, I've never seen on TV.
As seen on TV? No, I have never seen on TV.

Second, the signup page is an iframe, which is pulling from a second domain, An iframe is an old-school technique that in a sense is like a window on a website. It allows a webmaster to load part of a page from Site A and another part from Site B – usually this indicates they only own one of the sites. HIF's page is an example. The banner should look familiar – it's part of HIF! However, the coupons load in an iframe below. I don't manually own or update that section, Coupons Inc. does. It's a handy technique for many websites, however a legit company has little use for it. If they were offering a freebie of their own product, they could simply host the signup form on their own site.

Now let's get back to Whois info again. SuzzlyPromo not only has private info, but it was registered on Oct. 19, 2009. If hidden info is the #1 sign of freebie spam, a site registered hours before the freebie offer became available is #2. Spammers work in bulk and domains cost $10 a year ($20 if they privatize their info). Typically, a freebie spammer will set up a very basic site with a signup form and collect as many submissions as possible. However, before the year is up, folks like myself ID the site as spam and thus people stop signing up. The spammer will then simply delete the domain after a year and start the process all over again with a new domain and spreebie. If I see a site that was registered in late 2009 (or whatever the current date is), it's cause for further examination.

By now, I would have moved on to the next freebie since it's clear to me that this isn't legit, but let's keep digging. We submit our info, reach the confirmation page, and…Google Ads? Quick, name a large company that both (A) Gives away freebies and (B) Has Google Ads on their site. BZZZZZ, time's up. I notice that collectively we came up with zero examples. Now, Google Ads aren't evil or spamish at all, but they're used by smaller sites like HIF, not companies giving away freebies. Furthermore, check out the footer links on the confirmation page. They all go to a third domain, That domain doesn't even have a main site and two of the four links (Shipping & Contact) go to dead pages! The owner of Spooluff isn't a company, but some some random guy named Joshua Comeau, who lists his address as 96 St. Patrick, Toronto Canada, his e-mail as [email protected], and his phone number as 647-833-9673. Oh, and the domain was registered on October 9, 2009. How lovely. is a spamish directory (surprise!), the phone number plays a recorded “this number is not assigned to anybody” message when you call, and Google says the address is home to the Toronto Standard Condo Corporation, which certainly (although not definitively) looks like a residential complex. Furthermore, a Google search of “Joshua Comeau Toronto” pulls up this discussion from almost four years ago where a person by the same name in Canada was running freebie spam sites. I know, I'm shocked!*

Finally, if you call the phone number (206-337-7752) that's on Suzzly's site (and in the confirmation e-mail), you'll get a recorded message and then be given a prompt to hit # for more options. This is followed by “to enter your K7 security code, press 4” which means they're using, a free voicemail and fax system. Now come on. This supposedly legitimate company has the financial resources to give away tens of thousands of Snuggies (which retail for what, $10-$15 each?) but they can't afford anything more than a free telephone service for their clients? (edit: The number now plays a recorded message saying is a spam site and that their snuggie offer is not legit! It looks like K7 received a few complains 🙂 )

Now if you signed up for this, don't fret. No creeper will show up at your doorstep. You'll most likely start receiving more spam e-mail soon (which is why we suggest using a separate e-mail account for freebies instead of your personal or work e-mail!) and at the very worst, a few extra telemarketers will start calling. It doesn't ask for credit card or banking info, so you won't be out any money.

But this is what I get paid to do (apologies to my college History degree!) and perhaps this post has not only helped show how I judge freebies, but will maybe nudge this damned snuggie offer closer to the grave. The fewer sites harvesting our info, the better!

*I decided to keep following the Joshua Comeau trial, for my own personal enjoyment. The same Google search above brought up a message board profile for a JoshuaV, which lists his job as “affiliate marketer” and his location as Toronto. It also lists [email protected] as his e-mail, which when searched on social media sites, brings up Josh Volsh (Facebook), Josh (Myspace), and Joshua C (MSN Live). If I search for his new Josh Volsh name, more results pop up of him linking and advertising evenmorespam sites that I recognize from the past.

I contacted him via e-mail, asking if he would like to comment on this post, but so far I've yet to receive a response. I can't prove anything definitively that he's behind some of these spam offers, but there's enough circumstantial evidence here for me to never post anything he's associated with. If you happen to have any contact info for Josh, please join us on the forums and chime in. I really would love to talk to him…

Free Energy Conservation Kit from TVA

This free energy conservation starter kit from the Tennessee Valley Authority is only available to parts in the Southeast, such as AL, GA, KY, MS, NC, TN, and VA. However, I'm posting it because it comes with two compact fluorescent light bulbs, outlet and light switch gaskets, filter whistle, two faucet aerators, hot water temperature gauge, home thermometer, and a “How to Save” brochure.

I have no idea what a faucet aerator or switch gasket is, but they sound cool. At the very least, I'm sure they could help me with my time machine. So far I've built the core unit and perfected making the “BZZZZZZZZZ … KERPHEW!” sound with my mouth. I just hope time travel actually sounds like that. Otherwise, I'm just some doofus making a weird noise in a large metal box!

Coupon: Free Food at QuikTrip

Too bad QuikTrip convenience stores are only located in the Midwest, away from where I live, because they have a free food coupon available via their app. The coupon is for a free deli sandwich, wrap, or salad – no purchase necessary! The coupon won't show up unless you have a QuikTrip in your zip code, but some zips I tried made the coupon show up, such as: 85031, 63010, 66109, 30106, and 30339.

Some coupons expires on 10/21 and others on 10/25, but either way you'll need to make a quick trip to use it! Haha, get it? Hello? Is this thing on?

Free Classical Music

Free Classical Music from Amazon

If you're a fan of good music, then be sure to check out Amazon's free classical song database. They have over 6,000 free classical music songs available to download.

I used to get bored listening to classical music as a kid, but my tune changed once I created a game where I got one point for each movie or TV show I could think of that used whatever song I was listening to. Between this and my favorite streaming radio station, I haven't heard the same song in years!

Free Playtex Samples & Coupons

While we wait for the next free Playtex sample opportunity, here are their free coupons! And below you'll find some of our old Playtex jokes 🙂

This free Playtex Gentle Glide from Walmart should be just what I need to put the finishing touches on my homemade hang glider. I've been slowly building it ever since my first failed launching 15 years ago. I thought my childlike sense of wonder and imagination would be all I needed to soar off my roof. Gravity disagreed.

Here's a fun game for all of you bored at work. Head to Walmart's free Playtex Gentle Glide offer page and then quickly move your mouse back and forth over the two boxes of tampons. Hey, they're dancing! Look at them go! *cues up Salsa music in his head*

Yeah, I'm bored.

Okay, fine, I'm really bored.

Walmart has a new free Playtex Sport tampons offer up, but I'm not going anywhere near it. Why? Because of the ninja / witch in the ad! First she's kickboxing and then in a split second she's changed into an evening dress and is dancing? Believe you me, there's some type of sorcery going on here!

Free Carfax Report

Free Carfax Report

If you're in the market for a free Carfax Report, then be sure to check out their helpful guide on obtaining one.

Normally a Carfax usually costs $39.99, so this is great if you're buying a car. I used my free report to look up my old truck and was told that the odometer had potentially been tampered. Yeah, it's my fault the makers only put five digits on the display so that after 99,999 it simply rolled over. As soon as the first 100,000 were put on it, I raced around the country to secretly put on another 100,000 without anybody being any the wiser!

You know, I probably shouldn't be telling this to tens of thousands of people. I'd make a horrible evil scientist.

Free Zyrtec Sample & Coupons

Walmart is giving away some free Zyrtec samples and coupons, which is just in time for spring blossom! … Wait, isn't this a few month's too late? Do people get bad allergies during the fall and winter? I rarely leave my protective apartment cocoon, so I don't know much about the outside realm.

The “Get Special Savings” button will take you to a page where you can print $2 and $4 coupon. To get the sample, click on “Zyrtex 10mg Tablets.” There are quite a few states that don't love their residents and want them to suffer from allergies year round, however. They include: Arizona, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Store Coupon Policies

Corporate Internet Coupon Policies

Over the past months, a trickle has turned into a torrent of e-mails from people telling me that X store doesn't take printed coupons and Y store does but only if you use less than five and Z store has no limit and… you get the point. The thing is, in this example, Walmart was X, Y, and Z store!

So, I set out to see if there was a universal corporate coupon policy for any of the big name stores. I compiled the list below and began emailing corporate offices asking if they accept Internet coupons. Long story short: yes, most have an official policy and in the majority of stores, printed Internet coupons are okay.

But as I've hinted to, everybody seems to have a horror story of a cashier who refuses to accept the coupons and suddenly the total bill balloons. Nine times out of ten, that cashier is in the wrong and this is where a little education, planning, and hopefully this post will come in handy. If you shop regularly at any of the stores below, you might want to print out the policy and carry it around in your purse when you go shopping next!

There's no reason for anybody to be denied savings when they're rightfully entitled to them, especially in this economy!

A&P – Holy Mother of…A&P simply did not want to respond to my e-mails at all. But after a mere trillion messages by me, I received an e-mail with the following statement:

The internet is a powerful vehicle for getting information out to people and at the same time it is also a vehicle for false information. Unfortunately, internet coupons are not accepted in our A&P stores due to an abundance of fraudulent coupons circulating over the internet.

I know this is not the answer you and your readers want to hear at this time, but we are listening to you and other customers who are seeking alternate means of stretching their food dollars. Currently, we are working on a solution that would allow our customer's to download coupons from the internet directly to our loyalty cards electronically. We are exploring this idea and hope to put it into fruition in the near future. I apologize for the delay in my response, as I wanted to wait until we had more information of the new clipless electronic coupon service we will be offering. We are working with an external vendor and hope to have this service available starting August 7, 2009. [ed: so…it's released now?]

So that's kind of promising as it sounds like they'll be rolling out their own Cellfire version within a month in the past.

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Free Diplomatic History Videos

Free Diplomatic History Videos

The U.S. State Department and Government Archives is giving away free Diplomatic History videos and that sound you just heard was me screaming in excitement. Folks, I'm a history and international relations nerd, there's just no way to hide it. I'm on vacation and what am I reading for pleasure? The Guns of August, a 550 page tome about the events leading up to and the first month of World War I. You know, just a little light reading about death and destruction.

In fact, it's the type of books I read to my siblings for bedtime stories. I'm starting to understand why they have so many nightmares now…

Free Breast Self-Exam Shower Card

This free breast self-exam shower card is a good idea, both for reminding women to frequently check themselves for breast cancer and for also showing them how to properly do so. I just wish there was something similar for people like me who frequently forget how to shower in the first place. I jump in, freak out because of the cold water, and then end up squirting shampoo in my eyes.

This is easily a daily occurrence for me!

Free Love Fragrance

Free Perfume, Cologne, & Fragrance Samples

As you can see below, we've found a lot of free fragrance, perfume, and cologne samples over the years. The good news is they're still very frequently released, as of 2020!

While we wait for the next one, here are some classic jokes from the archives.

Oh man, I can't wait to get this free Love2Love fragrance and then smell my lover's philtrum!

I get that gardens are supposed to be associated with pleasant smells, but this free Gucci Flora Garden fragrance on Facebook reminds me of three things I hate: sneezing, bees, and sneezing bees. Those last ones are the worst. They lure you in with their cuteness and then BAM!

Here's a free Chanel LE BLANC four-piece sample kit. As if by magic! Quick, somebody get it to pull a quarter out from behind my ear. I need some cash for a bagel in the morning.

I never understand traditional advertising. The Facebook page for free Nine West Love Fury fragrance shows the perfume and … a shoe? I get that the bottle stopper kind of looks like a high heel, but is that implying the scent smells like feet? Because I can produce that fragrance all on my own, thank you very much.

I have to admit, I always wanted to look like James Bond. I thought it’d be cool to have as many gadgets as Bond or be as sexy as Bond. I even wanted to be as strong as Bond. But I can’t say I ever once wanted to smell like him. If I wanted to be around the aroma of gin and gunpowder, I would have visited my crazy Uncle Eddy more often. But to each his own!I have to admit, I always wanted to look like James Bond. I thought it’d be cool to have as many gadgets as Bond or be as sexy as Bond. I even wanted to be as strong as Bond. But I can’t say I ever once wanted to smell like him. If I wanted to be around the aroma of gin and gunpowder, I would have visited my crazy Uncle Eddy more often. But to each his own!

Finally, I'll own a single carat! 23 more of these freebies and I'll finally be able to afford a nice engagement ring for Future Mrs. Goob.

Head to Facebook for a free Viktor&Rolf fragrance sample. We get to choose between Flowerbomb Dew or Flowerbomb Classic.

Ah yes. Classic … flower bombs? Are these from some crazy cool Secret Garden that I've never heard of? To heck with a green thumb, I want the camo thumb with access to explosive plants.

Oooooh, look at this fancy free North Bondi Parfum. You know it's high class when the language morphs from English to French. As a matter of fact, I now want to be known as Ryan Goob $*@&. It'll be annoying saying “pardon my French” every time I'm introduced, but swear words are the only French I know.

I've got no idea how this stuff smells. It could truthfully smell like fish scales and then again, it might smell like mountain spring time or fresh lilies or some other brand of Lysol. But if you have the guts to get it and wear it around for a while, sign up for this free Boudreau perfume & cologne.

There are three different free Hugo Boss fragrances to choose from today. There's the one that smells good, the one that smells great, and the one that is a mixture of dog farts and rotten eggs. Good luck guessing which is which!

I hope this free Hugo Boss fragrance comes in a tiny vial because they always make me feel like a giant scientist. I once took that fantasy a bit too far and mixed all of my colognes together in an attempt to create a magic potion. Turns out the only magical property it had was repelling women.

I knew the Swiss made knives, chocolates, and banks that don't ask too many questions, but I had no idea they also produced free Victorinox Swiss Unlimited men's fragrance. Imagine if they'd found a way to combine all those into this freebie. It shaves your beard when you spray it on, tastes like chocolate, and the bottle can be deposited into your bank account once empty.

Scientists, get on it.

Everybody knows Swiss Army best for their watches and knives, but did you know they make perfume too? It's obvious why, as nothing is more threatening than a fragrant, punctual solider. So if you enjoy trying new scents, request a free sample card of either Victoria Eau de or Forest Eau de toilette sprays.*

*Now with 50% less toilet sprays!

This free Selena Gomez fragrance got me wondering – how famous do you have to be in order to get your own perfume? Because after looking Ms. Gomez up (I'm rather happy to admit I didn't know who she was), I think it's time to shore up my references and credentials. I mean, who wouldn't want to smell like a work-from-home blogger who desperately needs to clean his desk and do a few loads of laundry?

As a resident of New York City, I can promise that you wouldn't want to come within a mile of this free DKNY fragrance if it truly smelled like NYC. I understand people enjoy different aromas, but I've yet to meet anybody who loves the scent of hot garbage and what I really, really hope is dog poop.

This free Joy by Dior fragrance has a lot of fancy buzzwords in its description. Vibrant smile of flowers. Smooth caress of woods. A fragrance facetted with a thousand nuances.

Let me try a crack at it.

This spray thingy smells good.

Ahhh, much better!

Am I the only one who feels fancy whenever asked for my salutation? The only time I come across that word is when requesting freebies like this free Gucci Guilty fragrance and watching Downton Abbey.

I have no idea who David or what a Yurman is, but we're all welcome to ask for a free David Yurman fragrance sample. I'm guessing it smells like yogurt from Yemen.

You get to choose between the Code and the Sport Code when signing up for your free Giorgio Armani Beauty fragrance. What's the difference? Um… One has the word Sport in the name and the other doesn't.

The only prerequisite for free Burberry Brit Rhythm fragrance is joining “The Guest List,” so I'm assuming this sample is our key to all the cool parties in town. Only problem I can foresee is we won't know where the parties are exactly located. That's why I plan on spraying this freebie in the face of every bouncer I see until one of them shows me the way.

I found this free Folle de Joie fragrance offer while gaming with my friends this afternoon. I stared calling it “Folly de Jolly” and now it's been 5 hours of us saying that nonstop.

I love my job.

You can get free Armani Code cologne. You know what they say though – loose lips sink ships. So don't sign up for this unless you can keep the Code under wraps. Otherwise HIF's enemies will … know we smell good? On second thought, I guess that's not such a bad thing.

As a frequent sufferer of writer's block and someone who's constantly searching for his muse, I can speak with authority when I say filling a room with free Estee Lauder Modern Muse perfumewill make people pass out before it inspires them. Unless it inspires them to run away from you. If that's your goal, then job well done!

On Why I Don’t Post All Freebies

Recently I've gotten an increase in the number of emails that more or less say “Hey, why didn't you post X?” and thus I thought I'd take a moment to address this.

The freebie isn't free. There's shipping. Or a minimum purchase. Or an “identification check” via your credit card. Or any number of other strings that are attached to freebies which make them not worth our while. This doesn't mean I won't post something that isn't 100% free, but it is the first bar that an offer generally has to cross in order for me to even consider it on the site.

The freebie stinks. Seriously, who wants a DVD for vacationing in Montana just because it's free? Anybody even remotely interested in that would have already Googled for it instead of waiting for a freebie site to post it.

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