There is a large amount of Free Stuff on the Internet. It can send your mind spinning all the different ways to do things. I will be blogging in this area, it goes against my grain when I hear of someone paying for something they can get for free on the Internet.
There is no free luncs – Yes this is true, there is no free lunch. All of these companies are out to make a buck so there is no free lunch, but if you can understand how they are making money, you can decide if it is worth the cost. Following are some of the ways companies make money on the free stuff.
- Personal Information – All most all of the free sites want to get your personal information. Most of these sites will ask you to register, give them your e-mail address and set a password. I have a semi secure password I use for all these accounts. Do not use the same password you use for your online banking, and any thing secure such as your corporate data. You are spreading this information around to many different sites so it is not very secure. Your e-mail address, although personal, is not a security risk. People can not steal your identity with just your e-mail address. If you like you can setup a free e-mail account for this just to make sure. I am planning a page on free email accounts, check back.
- Advertising – You usually have to live with advertising to get free stuff. This can be obtrusive or background advertising. You have to make the decision, can I live with the advertising? If not kill the service or consider paying for the service. Google’s free e-mail (gmail) displays advertising with the messages, usually I am not even aware of the advertisements, but if it was too much, I would just not use the account.
- Get you to use their paid service – Sometimes the free service is limited, if you want the service with out the limits you have to pay. There is a bit of getting you hooked on the service, so that you want to pay. You have to make this decision, if you like this service will you pay for it. This takes a little research up front, what are the limits, what will it cost if you pay for it. Do not be afraid to dig into something that does not pan out. I have signed up for many free services that were not worth the final cost. One thing I hate it the hidden free services, they get you hooked on the free service but when you go to look for it the paid service is so promanent that you end up paying for something you could get for free. I had a friend that purchased an iPhone. He was telling me about all the hidden charges like the additional $49 a year for iTunes. Apple makes their for fee iTunes very promanent, but you do not need to get the pay service to activate your phone. The paid service gives you additional features like downloading tunes but not for basic operation of the phone.
I will post some more specifics of my picks of the free services, there is a great deal of good free stuff on the Internet Stay tuned.