Free! Free! Pick Me!

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Our Favorite Places for Freebies | Thrifty Below

Supposedly “nothing in life is free.”  I’m calling the bluff.  There are LOTS of things in life that are free.  One of my favorite things to do is product test–earning tons of awesome freebies for myself, and often to share with friends!  If you haven’t joined one of these free product testing sites, you’re missing out.  As someone who has been doing this for about eight or so years, I’ve probably received well over $300 worth of free products.  I’ve listed the top FIVE free product “club” sites (sites you join in order to gain samples), but  there are many many more out there.  If you’ve got favorites that aren’t listed here, be sure to share them in the comment section below with our other readers!

Our Favorite Places for Freebies | Thrifty Below

1.  BzzAgent BzzAgent is, in my experience, the tried true freebie site.  Some sites come and go, but BzzAgent has been around for a while, and is generally consistent with their offerings.  This is a site that truly encourages sharing not only news about products with your friends, but  the actual products and coupons.  Many “bzzcampaigns” will ship your “bzzkit” with samples for you, and up to eight or nine friends.  I’ve gotten everything from lipstick, to nasal spray, shampoo, alcohol coupons/vouchers, shoe insoles, and much much more.  A few times I’ve received emails about specific campaigns in which I wasn’t the target audience, but I was someone who they thought might know people in that target.  One such time, they were targeting men in their twenties and thirties, so I referred several male friends.  They were given free vouchers for whole handles of whiskey to test.  The alcohol campaigns are often some of  their best, but are pretty dependent on the state you live in, as there are some state laws that prohibit the mailing of alcohol or the mailing of vouchers for alcohol or something like that.  I was in a campaign for a brand of gin a couple years ago, and they shipped everyone free bottles except residents of Illinois. Best Freebies:  I once was included in a campaign for a Draftmark Tap System!  Not only was it just a really really cool product…but it was also almost a $50 value!  I had to purchase the beer “keg” to go in it, and they have since stopped carrying it in the area (Chicago was a test market) but it was especially cool at the time.  I’ve often thought about one day getting a keggerator, and this was a step towards that. Pros:  It is somehow a big operation with a very intimate feel, which I think is pretty unique to the site.  The user-interface is also super easy to navigate, and everything is pretty simple. Cons:  This site changed the way they score their agents a couple years ago, and it often makes it difficult to get a high score or to remain in the top percentile and continue receiving samples if you don’t participate in everything to the absolute fullest.  It is also a bit unclear how bzzscores actually work, and sometimes it feels like the number just comes from nowhere.  They truly encourage tweeting about the products, and sharing things on social media, which to me often feels like I’m prostituting myself  for the freebies, and I don’t like to do that.  I’ll absolutely share a product or coupon with someone face-to-face, but going the social media route often feels forced and I’m not comfortable sharing that way.  This lack of social media sharing can have a pretty heavy negative effect on your bzzscore. Their surveys both, pre and post, are almost exhausting, and take quite a long time.

Our Favorite Places for Freebies | Thrifty Below

2.  Influenster
I’m still somewhat new to Influenster, and haven’t quite seen all they have to offer, but since their introduction of the VoxBox, I’m in love. Best Freebies:  I received my first VoxBox and it was full of Hershey Kisses, Kiss eyelashes, Red Rose tea, a Botanics clay mask, and Frizz Ease 3 days straight.  The box was huge and the products were all full size and high quality.  It felt like Christmas! Pros: The products Influenster is working with are products you actually WANT and would buy even if they didn’t send them to you.  Also, the idea of sending multiple products in one box I think is unique and interesting.  The pairing of products thematically (my box was J’Adore and was just in time for Valentine’s day) is creative and a lot of fun!  The box check-in is easy, and so are a lot of the product badge tasks (sometimes, if you complete the product badge tasks, you get MORE of that particular product). Cons: There aren’t a whole lot of opportunities out there, or at least I haven’t received very many.  The site is also a bit confusing, and has far too much going on.  It wants you to earn expert badges by writing product reviews (for products you aren’t even getting for free, but that you just use in everyday life) and asking/answering questions about products.  These sections are kind of a joke, and you can tell everyone on there is just trying desperately to get more points but not really doing anything of substance.  It is actually pretty difficult to raise your score, especially when they aren’t offering you more products to do brand badge activities for.

Our Favorite Places for Freebies | Thrifty Below

3.  Smilely360 Smilely360 began as one of my favorites, but quickly faded. I actually don’t know anyone who has done more than one “mission” with Smiley360. Best Freebies: My first Smiley360 samples were INCREDIBLE.  I got about a dozen tins with Durex condoms in them (called the Durex Love Box).  These were the coolest, and I absolutely loved giving them away to friends.  The tins were so cute too! Pros: As stated above, the product I received was great, and there were so many to share!

Cons: Their grading scale is pretty unclear, and they don’t let you “complete” a mission unless you do EVERYTHING they ask.  Basically they don’t credit you for anything unless everything is done, which means you don’t gain that many points (“smiles”) and you aren’t considered for future “missions.”

Our Favorite Places for Freebies | Thrifty Below

4.  PinchMe PinchMe is by far the easiest/simplest of all of the sites.  However, the samples aren’t always the greatest. Best Freebies: I’m a coffee fan, so I’d have to say my free sample of Gevalia cappuccino K-cup (complete with froth packet). Pros:  This site is easy to navigate, easy to order products, and the surveys are only a question or two.  This is by far the easiest site to get free samples from. Cons:  The products are just that…SAMPLES.  This isn’t a site where you can expect to get a whole box of coffee K-cups, like perhaps you would with one of the others.  Instead you get a single K cup.  However, the site asks very little of you, the recipient, so it is worth it.

Our Favorite Places for Freebies | Thrifty Below

5.  House Party I cannot speak too much on the subject of this next site, House Party, because I have never actually won a party!  In fact, I never won, so I haven’t tried this one out in years.  It seems they’ve incorporated a new model, similar to many of the other previously named sites, by sending what are called “chatterboxes.” Best Freebies: I’ve never received one from them. Pros: The site is easy to navigate, and has been around for a really long time.  This new chatterbox feature is promising. Cons: Highly selective, and limited quantities of products.   What have your experiences with these freebies sites been like?  Let us know in the comments below!

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