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Website and Affiliate Marketing – To ‘Freebie’ or not ‘To Freebie’

Link-Assistant.Com | Posted in category GuestBox

by Claude L. Fox

It's true, I'm a babe in arms – only one year into my endeavors as a website designer and internet marketer. And among the many things that challenge my learning curve in this new world of electronic marketing is the question of whether or not to offer freebies on my websites. When I began site development twelve months ago, the prevailing wisdom seemed to be not to offer freebies since the purpose of the site was to make money, not to give things away. But now the message seems to have changed to 'buy it forward,' count your blessings and share your success. Help the upstart.

While this prescription for everyone to help everyone happily embraces the overtones of good will and morality, its driving force is really anchored in the profit motive of being more successful, i.e. making more money. And well it should be, after all internet marketing is about marketing, i.e. selling goods and services for profit. And all the better if we wind up enhancing morality while doing so. Nonetheless, our concern is with maximizing profit and the question I've yet to answer is whether or not offering freebies on a website increases the site's profit.

Here is where I'm coming from. On my first 'test-type' experimental website, which centered around the theme of a book I authored, I gave away one downloadable chapter per month of the book. My reasoning was that this technique would keep bringing back visitors, at least until they had gotten the entire book. My hope was that in the meantime some of them would purchase the whole book or some of the products I recommended as an affiliate marketer. Well, traffic built up substantially and I sold some books. Nothing to rave about, but at least I was testing my plan and learning. While the sales were insignificant, the traffic growth was substantial.

With number one ranking on the major search engines, I thought it was time to move on and develop a real internet marketing site. Subsequent to that decision, I felt there was no need to keep giving away chapters of my book for free so I suspended that 'freebie' and continued to offer my book for purchase only. Interestingly, within one week, my traffic dropped to almost nothing, and I have not sold a book since. While I don't believe this one case history is sufficient to support a generalization, it certainly was enough to make me sit up and take notice.

Here are some tentative conclusions I have drawn. Freebies can certainly increase traffic. Following that revelation, many sites are offering freebies. Unfortunately many of them are of little to no value. I'm not sure if such sites derive lasting value from their freebie offers. For those sites offering valuable freebies, the question is whether the increase in traffic and sales justifies the cost of the freebies offered. I'm inclined to say yes, although I admit to not having sufficient experience to back up my opinion.

Obviously, if a freebie satisfies or otherwise precludes a visitor's need for the primary thing your website has to offer, then the practice would be self defeating. In a word, my experience suggests to me that valuable freebies should be appetizers to the entrée, the main course.

To the success of your internet marketing website!

About the Author

Claude L. Fox, a retired professor of Philosophy and educational program developer, loves clarity and reasonableness and tries to incorporate the same on his website

His site constitutes a free manual on how to develop a top ranking money-making website.  Aside from his academic background, Claude who has had a great variety of  experience in building  businesses from scratch, understands and appreciates the challenges posed by the task of developing your own business.  Check out his site and his articles posted here and on

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