“You can’t get something for nothing,” the adage tells us. Nonetheless, people keep expecting that companies are going to serve up free lunches via the Internet. If they didn’t give away free merchandise, cash, and stocks in the real world, they’re not about to start doing it in a virtual one.




Bill Gates Hoax:
Red bullet
Bill Gates is offering a $1,000 reward to everyone who forwards his e-mail message.

What started out as a hoax aimed at Bill Gates has morphed into an ongoing Internet joke involving one company after another. Other ‘giveaways’ include:

  • Abercrombie and Fitch ($25 gift certificates)

  • AOL/Intel (cash)

  • AOL/Netscape (cash)

  • AOL/Time-Warner and EMI (cash)

  • Applebees ($50 gift certificates)

  • Audi (luxury cars)

  • Bath and Body Works ($50 gift certificates)

  • Coca-Cola (Coke)

  • Columbia House (music CDs)

  • Cracker Barrel ($50 gift certificates)

  • Delta (air travel)

  • Disney (cash or WDW vacations)

  • Ericsson (wireless phones)

  • The Gap (clothes or $35 gift certificates)

  • Honda (cars)

  • IBM (computers)

  • J. Crew ($50 gift certificates)

  • Mars (M&Ms)

  • Nike (shoes or cash)

  • Old Navy ($25 gift certificates)

  • Outback Steakhouse ($25 gift certificates)

  • Newell Company (cash)

  • Nokia (wireless phones)

  • RD Power Inc. (cash)

  • Sony (PlayStation consoles)

  • Veuve-Clicquot (case of champagne)

  • Victoria’s Secret ($50 gift certificates)

  • ALDI:
    Red bullet
    ALDI is giving away $100 coupons to Facebook users.


    Amazon:
    Red bullet
    Amazon is giving out free $200 gift cards to Facebook users.


    AOL:
    Multi-colored bullet
    Avoid AOL price increase by asking to be locked into old rate for a year.


    Apple:
    Red bullet
    In memory of Steve Jobs: free iPads, iPhones or MacBooks.

    Red bullet
    Promotional event partnering Apple with Gmail, Craigslist or Facebook awards free iPhones and iPads to those who fill out a survey.

    Applebee’s:
    Red bullet
    Applebee’s restaurants are giving away $50 gift certificates to customers who forward an e-mail message.


    Audi:
    Red bullet
    You can win an Audi R8 by liking and sharing a post on Facebook.

    Baskin-Robbins:
    Green bullet
    Baskin-Robbins outlets will be offering free ice cream to pregnant women on 21 May 2008.


    Ben & Jerry’s:
    Green bullet
    Ben & Jerry’s outlets will be offering free ice cream on 8 April 2014.


    Bertolli Olive Oil:
    Red bullet
    Internet-circulated coupon for free bottle of Bertolli Olive Oil.


    Best Buy:
    Red bullet
    Free $1,000 Best Buy gift card.


    Blockbuster:
    Red bullet
    On-line coupon can be redeemed for free movie rental, popcorn, and sodas at Blockbuster outlets.


    BMW:
    Red bullet
    BMW is giving away free cars on Facebook.


    Boston Market:
    Green bullet
    Boston Market is offering coupons good for a $1 chicken meal.


    British Airways:
    Red bullet
    British Airways is offering free round-trip travel to London to those who forward an e-mail message to 10 other people.


    Burger King:
    Red bullet
    Burger King vouchers for inviting friends on Facebook.


    CD Refund:
    Red bullet
    CD purchasers can apply on a web site to claim their share of the settlement of a price-fixing lawsuit.


    Cell Phone Credit for Text Message Forward:
    Red bullet
    Forwarding a text message to ten other people will get you a $60.00 or $160.00 credit on your cell phone bill.



    Cheesecake Factory:
    Red bullet
    Free $100 Cheesecake Factory gift cards for all Facebook users.
    Green bullet
    On 30 July 2008, The Cheesecake Factory restaurants will be selling cheesecake for $1.50 per slice.


    Chick-Fil-A:
    Red bullet
    Consumers can receive a coupon for a free chicken sandwich and Coke at Chick-fil-A by registering at freechickenandcoke.com.


    Chipotle:
    Red bullet
    Chipotle is offering “100% free food” through 20 March 2014 via an online coupon.


    conEdison:
    Red bullet
    Con Edison is reimbursing its customers up to $350 in compensation for food spoiled during the August 2003 blackout.


    Cosmetics:
    Green bullet
    Cosmetics manufacturers will be giving away free product in settlement of a class-action lawsuit.


    Costco:
    Red bullet
    Free $500 or $1,000 Costco gift cards for all Facebook users.


    Daniels, Nolan:
    Red bullet
    Nolan Daniels is giving away $1 million to the millionth person to post a particular photo to Facebook of him holding up his winning Powerball ticket?


    Delta Air Lines:
    Red bullet
    Get free air travel on Delta Air Lines for forwarding an e-mail message.


    Disneyland:
    Red bullet
    Free tickets to Disneyland for inviting friends on Facebook.


    Doritos:
    Red bullet
    Internet-circulated coupons can be redeemed for free bags of Doritos brand tortilla chips.


    Dr Pepper:
    Green bullet
    Dr Pepper is giving away coupons for free soda in conjunction with the release of Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy album.


    Dunkin’ Donuts:
    Green bullet
    Dunkin’ Donuts outlets are giving away free iced coffees on 21 March 2007.


    e.l.f. Cosmetics:
    Red bullet
    The e.l.f. brand of cosmetics has been bought up by a major department store chain and is offering its remaining inventory at $1 per item in anticipation of rebranding.


    Ericsson:
    Red bullet
    Internet users can receive a free laptop computers from Ericsson for forwarding an e-mail message to eight friends.


    FreeFlixTix:
    Multi-colored bullet
    The web site FreeFlixTix distributes free movie tickets.


    Free 411:
    Multi-colored bullet
    The phone number 1-800-FREE-411 offers free directory assistance service.


    Free Gas Coupon:
    Red bullet
    Web site offers coupon good for free gasoline.


    Guinness Book of World Records:
    Red bullet
    Get your name in the Guinness Book of World Records by forwarding an e-mail.


    Home Depot:
    Red bullet
    Home Depot is giving out $200 coupons to Facebook users.


    IHOP:
    Green bullet
    IHOP restaurants are offering free pancakes on National Pancake Day.


    IN-N-OUT:
    Red bullet
    The IN-N-OUT hamburger chain will be offering price rollbacks as part of a 60th anniversary promotion.


    IWon:
    Red bullet
    IWon.com is giving away scads of cash to those who forward an e-mail.


    Jamba Juice:
    Green bullet
    Online coupon can be redeemed for a free smoothie at Jamba Juice outlets.


    JetBlue:
    Red bullet
    Two free JetBlue air tickets for Facebook users.


    KFC:
    Green bullet
    KFC is giving away free Popcorn Chicken on 20 June 2002.


    Kohl’s:
    Red bullet
    Kohl’s $100 gift cards are being awarded to those who fill out a survey, like, or share a status.


    Krispy Kreme:
    Green bullet
    Krispy Kreme outlets will be giving away free doughnuts on 3 June 2005.


    Kroger:
    Red bullet
    A message on Facebook promises to deliver a free Kroger coupon worth $100.


    Long John Silver’s:
    Green bullet
    Long John Silver’s restaurants will be giving away free Giant Shrimp on 10 May 2004.


    Lowes:
    Red bullet
    Lowes is giving out $100 coupons” to Facebook users.


    Macy’s:
    Red bullet
    You can receive a $200 Macy’s gift card by following three simple steps on Facebook.


    Marks & Spencer:
    Red bullet
    Marks & Spencer are giving away free merchandise vouchers in partnership with Persimmon Homes.


    McDonald’s:
    Red bullet
    McDonald’s is distributing an Internet-circulated coupon redeemable for a free Premium Salad at McDonald’s restaurants.


    Mixed bullet
    McDonald’s restaurants are offering $1 Any Size Fries between May 18 and 31.


    Microsoft:
    Red bullet
    Facebook users can receive a $5,000 cash reward from Bill Gates for clicking a share link.


    Miller Beer:
    Red bullet
    The Miller Brewing Company is giving away 2 million cases of free beer to celebrate the year 2000.


    Mr. Smiley:
    Yellow bullet
    Sign up with Mr. Smiley and receive a free T-shirt.


    Moonlite Bunny Ranch:
    Green bullet
    Brothel in Nevada offers free sex to U.S. troops returning from Iraq.


    Netflix:
    Green bullet
    Netflix is notifying customers of a class action lawsuit settlement via e-mail.


    Olive Garden:
    Red bullet
    Olive Garden restaurants are offering free $500 gift cards for fans who sign up through their Facebook site.


    Panda Express:
    Red bullet
    Panda Express will be celebrating its 15th anniversary by offering discounted and free food on 19 November 2008.


    PayPal:
    Green bullet
    PayPal customers can claim a share of a class action lawsuit settlement.


    Publix:
    Red bullet
    Publix is giving away free $100 coupons to Facebook users.


    Red Robin:
    Red bullet
    An Internet-distributed coupon can be redeemed at Red Robin restaurants for a free hamburger and sundae.


    Sam’s Club:
    Red bullet
    Sam’s Club is offering free memberships to new moms.


    Sony Playstation:
    Red bullet
    Internet users can receive free Sony PlayStation consoles for forwarding an e-mail message to their friends.
    Red bullet
    A Facebook page is giving away hundreds of PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 consoles because they have been unsealed and cannot be sold.



    Southwest Airlines:
    Red bullet
    Southwest Airlines provides free air travel to those who have AIDS or herpes.
    Red bullet
    Two free tickets for travel on Southwest Airlines.



    Starbucks:
    Red bullet
    An Internet-distributed coupon can be redeemed at any participating Starbucks outlet for a free Crème Frappuccino drink.
    Red bullet
    Starbucks issued ‘My Favorite Way to Cool Down This Summer’ coupons via e-mail.
    Red bullet
    Free Starbucks $50 or $100 gift cards.


    Green bullet
    An Internet-circulated coupon is good for a free pastry at Starbucks outlets on 23 March 2010.


    Subway:
    Red bullet
    The Subway chain of sandwich shops is offering free gift cards to those who participate in a market research program.


    Swiffer:
    Red bullet
    Consumers can get a coupon for a free Swiffer Wet Jet mop by calling a phone number.



    Target:
    Red bullet
    Target stores with optical departments are offering free eyeglasses to children 12 and under.
    Red bullet
    Target is distributing free $500 vouchers to users who click an online link.
    Red bullet
    A $100 Target coupon is circulating on Facebook.


    Texas Free Tow:
    Red bullet
    Texas driver’s licenses include a toll-free number stranded motorists can call to receive free towing service.


    Tim Hortons:
    Red bullet
    To celebrate its birthday, Tim Hortons chain of donut shops is giving away free gift cards.


    Tipsy Tow:
    Multi-colored bullet
    The AAA offers a free nationwide towing service during the holidays for motorists who have had too much to drink.


    TOGO’s:
    Green bullet
    The TOGO’s restaurant chain is giving away free sandwiches on Wednesday, June 20, 2001.


    Toms Shoes:
    Red bullet
    Toms Shoes is giving away free merchandise to Facebook users.


    United States Postal Service:
    Green bullet
    The USPS provides free Priority Mail shipping supplies for customers sending packages to U.S. military personnel overseas.


    Uggs:
    Red bullet
    Uggs is giving away free pairs of boots to Facebook users.


    Velveeta and Reynolds Wrap:
    Red bullet
    Two Internet-circulated coupons for free Velveeta and Reynolds Wrap.


    Veterans Day:
    Green bullet
    Restaurant chains are offering free meals to U.S. military personnel in conjunction with Veterans Day.


    Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club:
    Green bullet
    Credit card users are eligible $25 refunds from the settlement of a class action suit.


    Walmart:
    Red bullet
    Free $100 or $1,000 Walmart gift card.


    Wendy’s:
    Red bullet
    An Internet-circulated coupon can be redeemed for a free cheeseburger and soft drink at Wendy’s restaurants.


    Whataburger:
    Red bullet
    E-mailed “12 Days of Whataburger” coupons can be redeemed for free food items at Whataburger outlets.


    Lowes Coupon Scam:
    Red bullet
    Lowes is giving out $100 coupons” to Facebook users.