Get free stuff
The worst thing about receiving free stuff online is that it's usually an enticement to receive other goods, mostly junk e-mail from desperate Web sites. The great thing about www.thefreesite.com is it also offers ways to thwart those crafty spam factories while allowing one to keep loads of free goodies coming in. All at no charge, of course.
Besides free products, The Free Site features links to free tools like MailWasher, which allows its user to bounce e-mails back to spammers as if his or her address no longer exists; KPKFile, a privacy management tool; NetBrute Scanner, which seeks out security holes in your computer; and Ad-aware, a program which guards against spyware. There's also Anonymizer and IDzap, which allow you to surf the web anonymously without leaving a trail of personal information all over cyberspace. Other services, such as ZipLip and Hush Mail keep your e-mails confidential.
The Free Site also will direct you to free avatars (hotavatars.com), online games (aaafreegames.com, dot-bingo.com, passthefun.com), prank programs (www2.hawaii.edu/~rubio/error95, rjlsoftware.com) and jokes (giggleville.com). While a good number of the freebies found here are computer-related, including free screen savers, software, online chat services and Internet access, they are by no means restricted to the virtual variety.
Cafe Sol de Oro will mail you a free eight-ounce sample of Venezuelan coffee: espresso, dark or light roast, whole bean or ground, "roasted-to-order in the heart of the Andes and shipped to you as fresh as it left the factory" just for asking. Likewise, Coppertone is so eager to get consumers to try its Spectra3 sunscreen that it's giving free samples to U.S. residents who e-mail them with a request for the product. Same for Crest's Whitening Expressions toothpaste, Super Lax's herbal laxative, American Baby magazine, Oreo cookies and others.
The site has also tracked down free samples of cigarettes, condoms, DVDs, pet care kits, cat food, perfume, fragrant candles, candy, catalogs, romance novels, shampoo, heartburn medication, food supplements and aspirin. My guess is those free "Bush-Cheney 2004" key rings offered at www.shopmetrospy.com are a big hit not just with GOP supporters, but with non-partisan cheapos as well.
See the Columnists section for some past articles.
Net Junkie drops every Monday.
Contact Shawn "Speedy" Lopes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Web sites mentioned in this column were active at time of publication. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin neither endorses nor is responsible for their contents.