Who doesn’t love being given free stuff? Even if it’s just a small thing, getting something for free can really make your day. We all love it, even if the thing we’re getting is something we have absolutely no interest in.
So it’s only natural that we ask the question: Can we get free stuff on the Internet? And the short answer is yes, indeed you can.
The long answer, of course, is that you need to know where to look. Free stuff on the Internet falls into two general categories. The first is physical objects that can be sent to you by mail. The second is downloads for your computer or other digital device.
Let’s first look into physical objects. You may have seen it advertised that you can get an iPod or other digital device for free from certain websites. You may suspect that these websites are scams. It’s good that you’re suspicious, but as hard as it is to believe, these websites are mostly legitimate.
Of course, the problem is that they’re using the term “free” rather loosely. Free doesn’t always mean free. These websites usually require you to sign up for several online deals, as well as convince a certain number of your friends to join before being eligible for this “free” giveaway.
In reality, many of the offers you will be shown will require you to spend some money, possibly on a recurring basis. Among the offers will also be a number of credit cards, which may not cost anything up front but will still help make up for the cost in the long run.
If any of the offers actually interest you, and if you can find some friends to go along with it, then signing up may be beneficial to you. However, considering all the details, these offers can’t really be called “Free”. You’re still paying for it, just in a different way.
If you do decide that any of these offers are worth it, make sure to check them out with the Better Business Bureau first ( www.bbb.org ) to see if they have a history of unresolved complaints against them.
There are some absolutely genuine free deals on the Internet though. These mostly take the form of free samples, just like those that are handed out to you in stores. Companies you know and trust offer free samples through the mail, and you can order them over the Internet.
There are several websites that serve as directories listing free offers. Take a look at the following links:
*ALL FREE SAMPLES
This is a very well organized website, including all the tools you need to browse and search it’s extensive list of online deals. All pertinent information is listed to help you decide which deals to partake in.
*DAYLY E DEALS’ FREE SAMPLES SECTION
More than just a free sample website, Daly E Deals also provides links to online coupons and links to great online shopping bargains. They’re sure to have something to make your online purchasing easier, in addition to all the nice freebies.
*WALMART’S FREE SAMPLES
In an effort to provide you with a great shopping experience from home as well as in store, Walmart is now featuring free samples provided by it’s affiliates. Go and check them out, you can’t go wrong!
When you’ve had your fill of free samples, read the rest of this article to find out where to download free files for your computer and other digital devices.
Free downloadable content has been available on the Internet for quite some time. Shareware and freeware computer applications and games have been available for download since the very early days.
Illegal files have also been available for free download online. Originally these were made up of “Warez”, a term describing cracked copies of commercial applications and games. However, as technology has grown so has the diversity in the content available online – both legal and illegal.
The trend towards additional content began to really take off when Napster offered Internet users an easy way to share music. While this service was often used illegally, it did serve to illustrate the public’s yearning for entertainment that they could more easily obtain on demand.
After Napster was shut down, it was quickly replaced by a multitude of file sharing programs that were not limited to merely music. Soon all manner of entertainment content was being distributed freely. Content providers fretted at the loss of control over distribution methods. However, many argued that it would be best to try and take advantage of the new medium rather than trying to limit it.
Slowly but surely, content providers have been coming around to realizing that it really does serve their best interest to use the Internet to provide people with the choices they want. In the past couple of years the amount of content you can find online, especially free content, has exploded.
This article will cover some of the most popular forms of entertainment that you can download for free. The websites listed here are all legal and have been tested to verify that they work as advertised. Types of content covered are: Podcasts, Ebooks, Audio Books, Music, Applications, and Games.
In a whimsical attempt to relate all digital entertainment to the Apple iPod, we now have what are known as Podcasts. Podcasts are the digital equivalent of radio shows. In fact, many radio shows release their episodes as podcasts.
So if you’re looking through any selection of podcasts available you’re likely to find large variations in style and professionalism. Sometimes you’ll find single podcasters releasing episodes by themselves, these are sometimes termed “Audio Blogs”. Often 2 or more podcasters get together to discuss issues and subjects at hand.
Whatever you are interested in, you’re sure to find a podcast that caters to it. There are certain very popular methods of subscribing to podcasts, prime among them being through iTunes. Using iTunes or other programs collectively called “Aggregators” can help you to keep up with the latest versions of your favourite podcasts.
This article, however, will focus on specific websites, rather than aggregator programs. Please enjoy these podcast directory websites:
This may be the best designed podcast website I’ve seen so far. The design is clean and intuitive, and the navigation is easy to use and understand. You should have no trouble finding some excellent podcasts using this website.
This website is a very well organized collection of podcasts that are fairly easy to navigate. It is run by a 26 year old computer professional and podcast enthusiast.
Yahoo is always branching out. Now they’ve got a podcast directory service. While still in it’s beta stages, it looks promising. Go and listen to the podcasts available, you might find some new favourites.
*THE PODCAST PEER AWARDS
Many podcast directories feature top ten lists that rate shows based on their popularity. Of course, the most popular podcasts do tend to be very well done. However, with so much content available these days it’s extremely easy for some of the most entertaining shows to be overlooked and shuffled out of the way.
The idea behind the Podcast Peer Awards is to have a community of podcasters do the judging. The emphasis is on quality over popularity, and so this resource is great for finding excellent quality podcasts that you may never have heard of.
Would it surprise you to know that you can download full copies of books to read on your computer at reduced prices? Well, it’s not a dream, it’s a reality. Try some of these:
*ARTHUR’S CLASSIC NOVELS
Free public domain novels available for you to download and enjoy. Enjoy some of the greatest classic books of all time without visiting a bookstore or library. An excellent resource.
Another collection of free public domain ebooks available. You just can’t go wrong with resources like these!
This is a commercial website selling ebooks at reduced prices. However, they do have a number of books available for free. It’s worth looking into.
Project Gutenberg features a very extensive list of books whose copyright has expired. These books are available for free, and you’re allowed to use and distribute them in any way that you wish.
Audio books are perfect for walks or morning commutes. There are many excellent titles available online both commercially and for free. If you’ve never listened to an audio book before, give it a try. You may find yourself hooked. Try some of these:
Audio books released for free over the Internet are often called “Podio Books”, due to their being released in a similar fashion to Podcasts. This website is one of the best resources available for finding free audio books online. Listen to what they have available and consider making a donation to help them keep things running.
*AUDIO BOOKS FOR FREE
This website offers a very nice selection of audio books that you can download absolutely free. You are encouraged, however, to spend a little extra in order to obtain greater quality. The free recordings are sampled at a rate of 8kb/sec, which is rather low so it will be a little bit fuzzy. You have the option of paying anywhere from $3 to $7 for varying degrees of clarity up to a maximum of 48kb/sec. Certain file manipulations such as zipping also cost extra.
However, if a little bit of downgraded quality doesn’t bother you, you can’t beat getting something for free. The audio books are yours to listen to as you wish in .mp3 format, so they’re compatible with all digital music players.
Librovox is dedicated to publishing free audio content under the public domain. Volunteers take the time to read these bits of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and dramatic works for you to freely enjoy.
Many established bands and singers are deciding to release certain songs for free download over the Internet. There are also many unsigned bands and singers who just want to get their music out to the world.
Try out these websites. You may find new music that you’d never heard of before but that will quickly become favourites.
*DOWNLOAD.COM’S FREE MUSIC DOWNLOADS
With over 75,000 free MP3’s for you to download broken down into categories and sub-categories for your convenience, this is one of the best online services available. They have a selection that includes established artists as well as up-and-comers that you may not have heard of. It’s an absolutely wonderful thing.
*MP3 4 U
MP3 4 U advertises its mission as “Helping you to discover music through people who love music”. They have a nice database of bands offering free music downloads that is regularly updated by members. Music is broken down into categories for your convenience, the experience is very smooth and easy.
*POD SAFE AUDIO
This website caters mostly to podcasters looking for songs they can freely use on their podcast shows. However, the music is also free to download and listen to for personal use. There’s a very nice selection of songs, you’re sure to find something you like.
*PUBLIC DOMAIN 4 U
This website contains a list of songs that are in the public domain. You can download these songs freely with no guilt. They are not broken down into categories, but if you have the patience to sort through them individually you may find some nice gems here.
*FREE KIDS MUSIC
Free music on the Internet isn’t limited to teens and adults. If you have little ones, you’ll definitely want to consider visiting this website. Songs are listed alphabetically. You can listen to them with your children and burn their favourites to CD’s for those long car trips. Beats a trip to the record store any day!
COMPUTER PROGRAMS (APPS & GAMES)
Games, Utilities, and Business Applications are all available for download if you know where to look. Here’s a list of reputable websites, if you haven’t tried them yet you really should:
Most online directories, including the ones listed below, list a variety of content both free and commercial. Freeware Guide lists only completely free applications and games. No trial versions. Take a look at this comprehensive website that lets you find what you want without having to wade through the pricey stuff that you don’t.
Tucows is a wonderful website providing information about software, both free and commercial, that is available for download over the Internet. They have a whimsical rating system that rates each piece of software in cows. A perfect score is 5 cows, but the scale can be rated with half cows (ie, you can have a 4.5 cow rating), so it’s really more like a 10 point rating system.
Download.com’s music section was mentioned earlier. That is actually a relatively new feature. Download.com’s bread and butter has always been software downloads. They have an incredible selection of free and commercial programs rated and reviewed both by editors and users like yourself. A great place to get opinions on software packages.
This is an excellent website. They have a huge selection of programs that’s always expanding. They test all programs for spyware and viruses so that you know what you’re getting. The layout is very intuitive and user friendly. It’s a real pleasure to use.
The amount of free, legal content available on the Internet continues to expand dramatically. Perhaps in a few years the Internet will take over as the primary means of obtaining entertainment content. Even as it stands you can download enough for free to keep you as busy and entertained as you want to be.
So whether you’re looking for free samples delivered to you by mail, or legal free downloads for your entertainment, the Internet really is the perfect place to get them.
So go ahead and enjoy, you just can’t beat the price!