Free Stuff to Get You Through Tough Times


OK, so that’s not how markets itself. I stumbled on this site via Google Trends, and it’s on fire right now. It seemed unusual for a free sample site to be that popular–after all, 99% of them are scammy–so I decided to check it out.

I ended up liking it. A lot. Please know that what follows is honest-to-God not a free placement. It just sounds like one. Because I like the site.

Here’s the shtick: SmartSampling will offer you free schwag, from buy-1-get-1-free Dove bars to Tylenol, for minimal commitment. For the free stuff, you often fill out a survey or forward another company your information. The coupons, however, require no additional information (save for your StartSampling registration. I’m a 69-year-old male named Mr. Rubbles, Barney. That probably doesn’t help their market research much).

The real bonus of the site–which is why I imagine it’s so hot right now–is that it appears to be somewhat legit. has taken the ubiquitous online coupon to a Web 2.0 level. They’ve organized surveys and samples so that it’s actually kind of fun to shop for them.

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There’s even a forum where you can discuss coupons. It beats old-fashioned coupon clipping by a lot. I have to hand it to them for promoting the kind of activity that pisses away time guilt-free. Because, after all, the coupons and free schwag are saving you money.

Happy clipping–I mean clicking!