FREE STUFF

A business card from a maid service was left under our door — we hope it wasn’t a hint to clean up our office — and on the back it said “Business Cards Are Free at VistaPrint.com.” We thought that was pretty interesting, because it was a nice card, very attractive. This got us interested in VistaPrint.com, of course, and we went there and ordered some cards.

The larger question that most people ask at this point is how can a company support itself by giving out freeVistaPrint.comproducts, because quite a few companies do this, particularly in software. Well, the answer is partly that the free product carries some promotional notice. In the case of the free business cards it’s their web site on the back, so it’s advertising.

 

The other part of the answer is that companies sell other stuff. So if you go to the web site, you can still get the free item but they also have other things for sale. VistaPrint sells personalized T-shirts and car-window decals and such, for example. Speaking of free stuff, we have long used the free ad blocking software “AdAware,” from LavaSoft.com and the “AVG” virus blocker from GriSoft.com. They’re both good freebies and both companies sell other programs that might entice you when you go their web sites. But you don’t have to buy the other products, so what it boils down to is there really is a free lunch.

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