Free is a very provocative word. It challenges you not to miss the opportunity. If it describes something of value, then the immediate reflex is to ask, Where’s the catch? Laptops are clearly something of value, so free laptops are certainly not to be missed. However as Microsoft found out in 2006, even with the help of top publicity experts like Edelman, those offering free laptops can run into problems.
Nevertheless giving away free laptops has now become much more common. This kind of free is not the same as that touted by Chris Anderson. In this virtual, Internet world he suggests giving away products that have zero cost in order to create an appetite for premium products that command a price. Nor is it really the same as Gillette giving away razors for free, in order to sell razor blades.
Although the cost of laptops has dropped significantly, offering a free laptop as a bonus is certainly a major inducement. Such a gift horse certainly needs to be examined carefully. They are now often being given away when a new broadband contract is signed. It would seem to be a much bigger bonus than offering free cell phones with long term contracts. Such broadband contracts are complex and careful study of all the contract details is a wise precaution. Luckily services such as those provided by Broadband Expert provide full details of such contracts.
One of the key measures in such a contract is the speed of connection. Broadband Expert provides a free tool for doing such a broadband comparison and in turn summarizes the results from such tests to provide ratings of the various broadband suppliers. It is yet one more example of how suppliers can create value by offering something for free.
* Paid review – see Sidebar re Paid Review policy.