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Redefining FREE*

"Congratulations! You've been selected to win a FREE* iPod Nano!"

How many times a day do you see that message or a similar one (Free gas for a year! Free XBox! Free frontal lobotomy!) in an obnoxiously flashing ad banner or pop-up window on your browser? Well after ignoring them for years, I finally decided to see what the asterisk in "Free" was all about. My task: throwing a football through a swinging tire swing. After a little practice (and I'm talking about maybe 30 seconds of practice) I was able to nail the throw every time. Wow! Wish I could do that in reality.

Each time, I was redirected to a page (accompanied by tinny applause to celebrate my deadeye-accurate cyber toss) that said something along the lines of "You must participate in 6 different things, which may involve making small purchases, filling out surveys, or applying for credit cards."

Read: Here's a shiny, shiny shovel. Start digging.

Define "small." Tell me how applying for a credit card that I did not do the rate homework on benefits me?

It's a little bit like saying "Free paycheck*!"

*in exchange for forty hours of work each week, hours to be determined by employer. Company dress-code must be adhered to. Participation required.

I'd like to see some control over the word "Free" by the folks that monitor truth in advertising. Free can be with no strings attached -- like when Fugazi gave away copies of their first CD and played free shows. Free can be "value-added," like "buy one, get one free" offers. Maybe these internet adverts think this is a "value add-on." If so, say so. But if I have to jump through hoops with my wallet conveniently splayed open, it's not free.

Yes, I'm advocating dreaded regulation: a regulation in service of truth.

Technology, Computers and Internet  
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The new, Halloween-themed one is "flick the spider." Someone call PETA!10/14/2005 12:36:19 PM
The White Horse DVD will be offered free (donations accepted!) at our upcoming show...10/14/2005 10:08:58 PM
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