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3.9 out of 5 stars34
3.9 out of 5 stars
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I find myself in the slightly odd position of having been offered a free (electronic) copy of a book in return for writing a review, when the book is about getting things for free in return for services such as writing reviews.

The author Mike Essex's theory is that many companies give samples of their product away for marketing or PR, and that if you can show the company that you can offer them something they want in return for a sample, you stand quite a good chance of getting something. With the growth of blogging and marketing using social networking, it has become quite easy to get yourself to a position where you can be useful as an aid to marketing. Reviews - even bad ones - create "buzz" about a product, and (as the old saying goes) any publicity is good publicity. Essex sets some sensible rules: don't break the law; if you're reviewing, be honest; always make sure you fulfil your part of the bargain, and make sure you show the company what you've done. His relatively slim 150-page ebook is an easy read, doesn't outstay its welcome, and genuinely gives you some ideas about how to start out getting stuff "for free".

If I have a criticism, it would be that Essex appears to be obsessed with getting things for free - this is fine if it's something you actually want, but if you're getting sent items that aren't necessarily what you'd choose for yourself, you can find out quite quickly that you can have too much of a good thing. And "stuff for free" isn't free at all, of course: you're entering into an agreement to spend your time trying the product, reading the book, watching the film, and then finding something interesting to write about it, all of which can take up a fair bit of your free time.

Having said that, I can't fault Essex's evident enthusiasm, and I can vouch from experience that companies are willing to enter in to arrangements like this. If you have a good set of web pages, they may even seek you out and make you an offer.

As with many self-published books, there are some spelling mistakes, but the content is well-written, if slightly repetitive. There's nothing strikingly new, but if you think you might like to try this sort of thing, it gives some good ideas about how to start, and it might also give you the confidence to give it a go.
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This book was an eye opener but it took me time to realise it. The start was either too basic for me or contained unnecessary advice (e.g. creating a persona) but some people will find that information useful so it has a place in the book. Things for me started getting interesting about 25% of the way through the book.

And that is the nature of this book - you are looking for the diamonds in the rough. What will help one person will be irrelevant to you, and vice-versa. Occasionally you come across a nugget of information which really helps you.

As I read further I realised that actually the slow start to the book is indicative of the author's approach - he goes above and beyond the call of duty. He hasn't simply hammered out a book in order to sell it, putting in the bare minimum of effort. Quite the contrary - he shares tips and advice to help you emulate his success, and when you think he's given you enough he gives you some more.

There's a good little snippet on the ability of emails to be misinterpreted (location 1014 on the Kindle) ['We will review any product we are sent for free' implying that the products will be returned. He changes the wording to make it clear, politely, that products will not be returned].

Of course, what you receive isn't truly free - there is a price, and that price is your time in writing the review.

I loved this paragraph of the book: 'Contrary to popular belief, walking into a shop and asking to be give something for nothing is not the best method of getting freebies'. Popular belief? I would have thought it dead obvious that doing that is a quick route to being asked to leave the shop to the sound of laughter. (That doesn't reflect badly on the author - I assume that people have suggested this method to him, or assumed that this is what he does).

A few comments about the Kindle version:
* Pressing the 5-way controller right or left normally skips to the next/previous chapter respectively. It does not work on this e-book.
* I tried to get around that by using the 'Go To' menu, accessing the 'Table of Contents' and using the links there to skip to my chosen chapter. You can't because there is no 'Table of Contents'. The only option is to skip to the start, end or a location. The latter is clumsy as it involves guessing.
* If you use this book to set up a website then you will use it as a reference book so the ability to skip chapters as above is essential.

It's a good book, and the price of the Kindle version is a bargain. I look forward to reading the author's second book.
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on 4 October 2011
I recently purchased and read "Free Stuff Everyday" and am genuinely impressed with what it has to say. Everyone is looking for free stuff and rather than the usual rip-off's and scams you get this book tells you honest ways to get free stuff from pretty much anywhere. In hard times like these a book like this is an absolute gem, full of great ideas and tried and tested methods of getting freebies. The book is well written and the pages pretty much turn themselves. I don't normally leave reviews but in this case think it would be rude not to, hopefully the author will follow up with a sequel on how to get free Ferraris next! If you read one book this year, read this one. Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 20 October 2011
Free Stuff Everyday reveals how anyone can get free products or services from businesses. It's all legit and above board, though!

The approach Mike advocates doesn't involve trying to trick or defraud companies, but rather seeking out mutually beneficial ways you can work with them. In exchange for giving you a free product or service, for example, a company might receive free publicity and/or valuable consumer feedback.

You don't need to be especially pushy, either. Mike sets out a wide range of possible approaches, and most don't require 'the gift of the gab' or even any particular self-confidence (one such possibility, which Mike himself has done, is creating a product-review blog).

I did, however, like the idea of creating a more extravert 'persona' for some of the more outward-facing methods, a technique Mike discusses in Chapter 7.

There are plenty of examples throughout the book, based on Mike's personal experiences. He talks about the different 'unique offers' you can make, the different types of organization you can approach, and the different methods you can use to contact them. There truly is something here for everyone.

The book concludes with a 30-Day Challenge, which is pretty much guaranteed to bring you a steady stream of freebies in whatever niche you favour.

Overall, I was very impressed with Free Stuff Everyday. It's a concise (128 page), practical guide, which contains all the advice and guidance you need to begin a lucrative and enjoyable freebie-seeking sideline.

It would, incidentally, also make eye-opening reading for businesses and PR agencies, by showing the many benefits they can accrue through partnering with selected individuals in this way.

Free Stuff Everyday would be especially relevant to someone with an expensive hobby or interest, who might welcome some 'help in kind' to defray their costs (as well as gaining access to all the latest kit, perhaps even before it is officially released). Anyone, however, could benefit from applying the techniques in the book (most of which would, incidentally, work anywhere in the world).

In my view, at its low Amazon price, Free Stuff Everyday is a real bargain. You would only need to 'blag' a single item using any of the (many) approaches Mike suggests to be well in profit. Highly recommended for anyone looking to make their paycheque last a little longer every month!
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on 27 July 2012
Ill admit when I first saw the title of this book I was slightly skeptical about the concept of getting stuff for free. This is because most the free stuff or freebies (on the web at least) tend to be small, low value items such as mouse mats, pens or a food sample of some sort. If you search "free stuff" online these are the kinds of items that you will invariably be offered on free stuff websites.

However Mike's book shows that you can get big ticket and more desirable stuff for free as well, you just have to put more effort in and think about how to get a company to donate to you one of their products. The author claims he got his entire Christmas paid for one year, including presents which is quite incredible when you think about it. The book outlines various tactics for getting stuff for free some of which are more complex than others. Depending on the amount of effort you want to put in, it seems there really is no limit to what you can get. One of things I like about the book is that it outlines the pitfalls of getting free stuff mentioning lots of things you should avoid, showing that the author really does not want you to make the same mistakes he has.

Overall a fascinating read, if you have got the time and inclination to get stuff for free then this is an invaluable "how to" guide.
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on 1 August 2015
Well what a great insight into getting those little or sometimes large freebies through your door, I've loosely followed these principles are I'm getting to get the ripened fruits of my work so far i've received crisps,razors,shampoo. One of the things I'm trying to get is more electronics but I know through using the principles in this book I will succeed. Mike outlines everything you need to do and more

Thanks
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on 5 January 2013
I downloaded this on a friend's recommendation and I'm so glad I did! I am about to start reviewing products and services on a blog to help people with breast cancer. Whilst I have a great deal of experience in writing reviews, I had no idea where to start when it came to asking for freebies. This book is packed with useful information on how to achieve this and has proved invaluable in helping get me started. Thank you Mike!
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on 10 April 2012
It strikes me as slightly ironic that I got this book, about getting free stuff, as a freebie. And maybe that just demonstrates that I'm not quite in the target demographic: I've been looking for freebies for about as long as I can remember, and since I started blogging (in 2008), I've had PR companies approaching me to offer their products.

So there was a lot of this book that I skimmed over, particularly in the introductory chapters, as it wasn't news to me that brands will give gifts and samples in exchange for exposure. On the other hand, I found plenty of useful and eminently practical information in these pages. I've never been to a trade show, I don't use my blog to badge myself as a journalist for press tickets, and actually, it's rare that I approach a company directly to ask for something. Essex gave plenty of examples of little ways that I could up my game, and make more of the presence I've already built.

This is a concise, helpful guide which I'd recommend as a great starting point for anyone new to the freebie scene - but may be worth a look even if you already know your way around PR agencies and marketing departments. Especially if you can get this book for free!
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on 27 July 2012
This is an all round good 'business' book, as the message and methods can be applied to all sorts of different situations, the chapters on making contact alone show you how to best leverage emails, social networks, phone calls, face to face meetings and even (snail mail) letters.

I believe the author when he says that anyone can get things for free. If you think you have no angle, or no reason why people would give you something for free, you are wrong. The author explains loads of different approaches (which he calls 'unique offers') to help convince companies to send you out a freebie.

The most important thing that this book taught me is how to create an online 'persona', and how you can use it to your advantage. Even if you aren't interested in blagging free stuff, this book will teach you how useful and powerful it can be to have an online voice.
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on 12 October 2011
Everyone occasionally gets things for free that they didn't expect, but very few people explore why they got that thing for free and look into scaling it up. In Free Stuff Everyday Mike does exactly that and explores how you could potentially furnish a house by understanding what makes brands give away free products. I tried some of techniques from FSE and the results were pretty surprising - I run a music marketing blog in my spare time, and it's amazing how willing music companies were to send free samples of instrument products for me to try out. Definitely recommended!
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