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Following Up on Fallacies about Getting Free Stuff ?Free stuff? ? the mere whisper of the words is often enough to make many people throw common sense out the window and head for the free goods like a missile to a target. And then there are those people whose eyes glaze over when they hear those words, because they can?t believe anything worth having can actually be free. The truth about free stuff is really somewhere in the middle. Yes, you can really and truly cash in on many freebie deals for things that you want to have, but a healthy sense of cynicism about free gear is also useful. Here are some of the important things to keep in mind about free stuff. The first myth you should throw out the window is that nothing good comes for free. The fact of the matter is that the price tag on a good doesn?t always match up to the quality, and there are many great free things out there. Case in point: music. Sure, everyone has heard the scare stories about file sharing online, and maybe some big record labels will come after you if you focus on their artists. Dig a little below the surface, however, and you can find a whole new world of really great bands that are more than happy for you to listen to their music over and over again. The same goes for free software. People on the cutting edge of technology who have a passion for creating new and efficient applications often develop open source code software. They?re doing it for the love of it, and they often have more talent than any ten suit-and-tie tech guys trying to hock their latest product for a mega profit margin. Here is where the reality part comes in, however. Yes, you can find wonderful things that are completely free ? but yes, you can also find a lot of free things that aren?t worth your time at all and in some cases can cause you a lot of trouble. The net is a great place to fall victim to a ?free stuff? scam, but you can also sometimes come across these scams in the mail as well. If something is free, but requires you to give your credit card number or bank details, run the other way. Another myth people have about free stuff, especially free stuff on the internet, is that when you try to cash in, the only free stuff you will be getting is an inbox full of more spam than you can handle. The truth about this is, well, that is can certainly be true. Many companies give away free things in exchange for your email address, so they can try to hit you up to purchase things in the future. What makes this a myth, however, is that it can be avoided. If you don?t want to choke on an inbox of spam, and who could blame you, set up a special (free) email account that you will use exclusively for freebie hunting. You?ll have the best of both worlds. The last myth about free stuff involves the ?catch? people are always looking for. Often, for free stuff, the catch is a bit of junk mail or email or the fact that you have to submit to a time consuming survey. Sometimes, the catch is that if you get free stuff through a trial offer, if you don?t cancel it, it keeps coming, and this time you have to pay. The truth about these catches is, however, that the catch is in the eye of the beholder. These things don?t make products any less free; so don?t write off every free offer offhand. You might just find a catch you can live with to get a great free product you really want.

The "Catch" to Some of these Freebie Sites Remember that old saying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch?" Well, it's not true?there are plenty of freebies out there. However, there are some things you should know about if you are going to go after these freebies. The World Wide Web is awash with web sites that like to offer visitors with loads of tempting freebies. But although many of these are legitimate offers, there are some things you should know about these freebie sites. Here are some things to know about these freebie sites. Getting Things for Free?A Caveat Here is the basic caveat when it comes to these freebie offers?there is usually something you will have to endure in order to get your freebie. Although you may not have to make any sort of financial contribution or monetary expense, you will have to pay in some small non-monetary way. Here is a quick rundown of various kinds of 'catches' that you may come across as you seek out the best of the web's freebies. Watching Ads Before You Get to the Good Stuff One of the most common techniques that websites will use before you can get access to their freebies is to force you to watch ads. There are many different versions of this method. Many sites that promote freebies will support their site through advertisements. Most advertisements show up as pop-up or banner ads. Some websites also use video websites. With the ubiquity of high speed Internet, video ads have lately become the preferred method of advertisement on many websites. The less subtle of these ads are the pop-up and banner ads. Pop-up ads are often quite obtrusive and they can interrupt your enjoyment of the website. You might want to avoid ad-based freebie sites at work, as these can often interfere with your screen. Many popular freebie websites also offer ad-free versions of their content. This may be something to consider if you really find the website's content valuable. Be Wary of Automatic E-mail Sign-Ups Many freebie websites will sign you up automatically for their email newsletters. The worst-case scenario is when the website allows its partners to bombard you with email ads. What is the best way to avoid getting on an unwanted email list? Read the fine print, and whenever you get the option, uncheck the opt-in box at the very bottom of the page. Take Care of Your Privacy Many sites that offer freebies make money by selling the personal information that they gain from their web traffic. In order to avoid having your personal information being sold, you should avoid giving your personal information to websites that can't provide you with an upfront privacy policy. You should also look for the TRUSTe seal that ensures your personal information is kept secure and private. Also, never provide more information than you need to provide. Avoid Large Downloads Whenever Possible Another thing you should watch out for are large downloads. Although there are many legitimate large downloads out there, you should avoid sites that don't tell you exactly what you are downloading, how long the download will take, and how big the file size is. Watch Out for Disappearing Websites If there is one thing to know about freebie websites is that they are often 'here today, gone tomorrow' type enterprises. Many freebie websites simply don't survive for very long. You should think hard before committing to a website that offers free services that you will have to depend on. The last thing you want is to depend on a website's services, and then have those services disappear or suspended.

Important Networking Follow-Ups: How to Get Those Job Leads Calling When you leave a networking event, you may be buzzing at the prospects offered by all of those new contacts you made, but soon, the cold reality sets in. How will you be able to convert those contacts you made over a glass of wine into valuable business opportunities for you? Successful networking is all in the follow-up. If you?re looking for a job, following up is all the more crucial. Without touching base after a networking event, you become just another face in the crowd of job hunting hopefuls. The first important rule for following-up with networking contacts is to lay the foundations for the follow-up during the initial meeting. At networking events, there can be a lot of empty promises thrown around. Use that first meeting to convey the message that you haven?t gotten caught up in ?networking fever? but instead that you are very serious about exploring the job opportunity that you?re discussing with your new contact. Ask the contact when would be a good time to follow-up with them, and then reiterate the information back to them at the end of your conversation: ?I look forward to speaking with you Friday at 2 p.m.? If they don?t give you a specific time, then suggest one to them. This rule holds true even if your contact is giving you a lead on a job not with them but with another contact of their own. Let them know you appreciate the information by saying, ?Thanks. I will plan on calling Mary on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m.? Not only will this convey your seriousness about the opportunity presented to you, but it may also get you some handy inside information, as the contact may reply, ?Oh, no, Mary will be out of town until Thursday ? call her then.? The next important rule to networking follow-ups is to follow up with EVERY lead a contact gives you. If a contact suggests that you call someone whom you know won?t really be able to help you in your job search, call him or her anyway. Otherwise, when your contact finds out you aren?t taking their advice, they may just decide not to give you any more the future and any business person can tell you that you never know from whom the most valuable lead will come some day. Keep the lines of communication open by giving any and all suggestions a whirl. Last but not least, do the actual following-up. Follow up with your contact exactly when you said you would, and in the exact manner you said you would (phone, email, letter, etc). If for some reason you can?t make contact at the arranged time, keep trying. If you haven?t made arrangements for a follow-up with a contact, then the rule of thumb is to follow-up with them as soon as possible after meeting them. Try to at least send an email or letter the next day saying what a pleasure it was to meet and that you look forward to talking more in the future, and then say in that note when you plan to follow-up with your contact by phone. Then, of course, stick to that new follow-up obligation. Even if the promises made by a contact while networking don?t pan out for you on the job front, don?t cross them off of your contact list. Keep them in the loop about your job search and your career goals. While they may not have been able to make if happen for you this time, you never know what they might be able to do for you in the future. Your most promising business contact may be someone you already know.

Save the Earth and Get Free Stuff from Recycling with Freecycle Get ready to become more earth-conscious by freecycling. What is freecyling and how can it help the environment? As the name implies, the concept of freecycling is directly inspired by the idea of recycling. Freecycling is not only a great way to help protect the earth's natural resources and prevent the flooding of landfills, it is also a great and viable way to find goods and services that you really need. Thus, freecycling is a very practical approach to many of the problems that we face today. What is the Freecycle Network? Freecyling has found a home at freecylce.org. The Freecycle website is home to the Freecycle network. This network is made up of over 4,000 groups with a total member population of over four million people worldwide. The freecycle philosophy is spreading like wildfire as more and more people come to learn more about this exciting and environmentally friendly new exchange network. The Freecycle Network represents an entirely grassroots, nonprofit effort that allows people to get and give their stuff fro free in their own cities and towns. Freecycle allows all the good stuff that would normally end up in a landfill in the hands of someone who can really use it. A local volunteer who is in charge of coordinating the freecycling efforts and awareness in their own community moderates almost each local freecycle group. Membership to join the Freecycle Network is absolutely free and open to anyone with something to give, or get. In order to join the Freecycle Network today, simply find your local community by searching in the search box. The Ins and Outs of Freecycling for the Freecyling Newbie No freecycling is not a new, cutting edge sport?it is an easy way to manage one's owns possessions so that you leave a smaller footprint on the Earth. If you are new to freecycling, perhaps you could use a little guidance on how to get into the freecycling side of things. Here are some things you need to know before you get started in the exciting world of freecycling. Take the Right Kinds of Precautions When Freecycling One of the most important things you should do is to always make sure to freecycle safely. Freecycling often means coming into direct contact with seemingly perfect strangers. You should always maintain your safety and privacy when interacting with other members of your freecycling group. If you do not know someone well, avoid giving out your personal contact information right away. Whenever possible, try to make exchanges in a public setting or at least make sure that you are not alone with picking up or waiting for someone to pick up the item that is being freecycled. Tips and Hints for Using the Freecylce List What happens once you has signed up to become a part of your local freecycling group? Once you have successfully joined, you can use your local freecycling list to communicate with other members. You can post a message, read messages and send email to your local groups collective address. Most local freecycling groups use local yahoo groups to communicate. To send an email to the list, simply send an email to your local groups email address. If for some reason you wish to unsubscribe to your local freecyling group, you simply need to send an email to the unsubscribe address that is listed at the bottom of each email from your local freecycling group. For information on posting, replying or reading messages to your local yahoo group, visit your local group and become familiar with the delivery options. If you have any questions, contact your group's moderator directly.