People don't like free things

by Underxman 28 replies
How come people hate free things? I just started offering a free package (it has the same features as all the other ones except space) on my webhosting company for customers to try the services before they buy them and since i opened this package, none has picked it up. The funny thing is that i see people passing by it and buying the other paid packages. So my question is, why do people hate free things and just go buy pricey ones? It doesn't make since to me.

I have noticed as well that restaurants that start with high prices tend to accumurate more clients than the ones that start cheap (atleast in some countries of the world it is like this) Any of you have the same experience?
#offline marketing #free #people #things #webhosting
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  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    Originally Posted by Underxman View Post

    How come people hate free things? I just started offering a free package (it has the same features as all the other ones except space) on my webhosting company
    That's the problem, and free hosting is a nightmare. You could offer a free trial, you could offer a free package with limitations, but when it comes to hosting, free is a nightmare.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Free = no investment by the prospect = no value in the mind of the prospect.

    Free = no support = will cost me soon anyway, and probably more than if I got a paid service in the first place.

    Free = bare minimum = probably doesn't have the features I want included.

    This is how people really think.
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    • Profile picture of the author maricelu
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Free = no investment by the prospect = no value in the mind of the prospect.

      Free = no support = will cost me soon anyway, and probably more than if I got a paid service in the first place.

      Free = bare minimum = probably doesn't have the features I want included.

      This is how people really think.
      Well, you still can get good value for free.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarketMaster13
    If some one is serious about their business. he/she will consider a paid product
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Lessard
    It is one of the reason you often see the tactic of $1 Trial for 7 days followed by monthly billing etc... The $1 charge upfront makes it real in the prospects mind.
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    • Profile picture of the author jamesfreddyc
      We just have a really good entry price point for our subscription. Definitely not a free, or even $1 offer.
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  • Profile picture of the author MrFume
    There are what are called 'Freebie Seekers' out there, but they are of no value to anyone because they do not understand the actual 'value' of anything. Free is insulting, it is equated with not being able to afford anything, therefore people who are serious about what they are doing avoid Free offers because they do not want to be considered hopeless. This is the psychology.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by Underxman View Post

    . So my question is, why do people hate free things and just go buy pricey ones? It doesn't make since to me.
    The problem isn't that people hate free things. The problem is that you haven't created enough value in the prospect's eyes to trust you, and want to take the time to get your free offer.

    The big mistake made by newbies is that they think "Free" is easy to sell. It isn't. It takes just as much selling to move a free offer as a paid offer.

    You probably also didn't give a good enough reason, that you would make the offer free. It still has to show value. The prospects still have to want it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Underxman
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      The problem isn't that people hate free things. The problem is that you haven't created enough value in the prospect's eyes to trust you, and want to take the time to get your free offer.

      The big mistake made by newbies is that they think "Free" is easy to sell. It isn't. It takes just as much selling to move a free offer as a paid offer.

      You probably also didn't give a good enough reason, that you would make the offer free. It still has to show value. The prospects still have to want it.

      I don't see any downside of being able to try something before investing money in it....maybe thats just me but i appreciate anything that offers me a trial period or moneyback in order to try the services first.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by Underxman View Post

        I don't see any downside of being able to try something before investing money in it....maybe thats just me but i appreciate anything that offers me a trial period or moneyback in order to try the services first.
        There is no downside. But they have to be interested enough to take action. How you think isn't important, it's how they think.

        You are fighting the wrong battle.
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        • Profile picture of the author Jeff Schuman
          I like free things that are worth something to me.
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          • Profile picture of the author vschneider4
            In marketing, offering something for "free" is a tricky proposition.

            I work in advertising, and giving away free trials or free samples is something we tend to avoid except for very certain products, and tech offers generally aren't one of those.

            It's a lot of what was said above. It is easy to be noncommittal when something is free. Even just increasing the commitment to $1 will improve conversions between the cheaper option to the more expensive one. Why? Because the biggest hurdle is getting someone to spend ANY amount of money on a product. Once they have spent something, even just $1, they are already psychologically invested. Once they see the added benefits of a higher-priced product, it is much easier for them to upgrade.

            But your problem isn't upgrading, it doesn't sound like. You see people passing up the free option for the paid option. Well, good! It doesn't sound like the worst position to be in. Did you know that there is a lot of psychological research that has been done that shows that consumers often pick the mid-priced option for almost anything?

            It's because most of us feel like we are "too good" for the cheapest product, but are realistic enough to know that the most expensive product might not be necessary.

            So if you have a free option and two paid options, I bet you see the most sales going to the middle (cheapest paid option), yes?

            So you have two options you should consider. Make your free option your cheapest option (so instead of $0, $10, and $20 products, for example, make them $10, $20, and $30), and you will still see the most sales of your mid-priced option, thus more revenue.

            Your other option could be to make the free option cost just $1, as others have recommended. In the long-term, you will get roughly the same amount of subscribers to this option as the free option, and they will be more "psychologically primed" to upgrade.

            Which option, if any, is best for you is for you to decide. I admit I don't have much knowledge on the web hosting market, but the principles I have outlined in this post are pretty universal in my experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author domainarama
    There's an old series of social science experiments that show that people are much more loyal to something they pay for. And they are much more loyal to something they pay more for. If you believe social science experiments they run counter to your line of thought.

    When it comes to my experience with free stuff/programs on WF and most IMs, I avoid them like the plague. Sometimes they're ok, but sometimes they put so many bugs into my machine that I hate myself for falling for them.
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    • Profile picture of the author socialentry
      Originally Posted by domainarama View Post

      There's an old series of social science experiments that show that people are much more loyal to something they pay for. And they are much more loyal to something they pay more for. If you believe social science experiments they run counter to your line of thought.
      I think it depends on the demographic and their attitude vs. money.

      Markus Frind noticed (who runs PlentyofFish) that most of his traffic came from an older and wealthier demographic vs. the paid sites like lavalife who were younger, more 'hip' people.

      Strange eh how it goes against homo economicus and how two seemingly similar products can have very different pricing?

      When it comes to my experience with free stuff/programs on WF and most IMs, I avoid them like the plague. Sometimes they're ok, but sometimes they put so many bugs into my machine that I hate myself for falling for them.
      TANSTAAFL comes to mind.

      but over the years I did find really good 'free' stuff over the internet just not in hosting.
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  • Profile picture of the author TeamBringIt
    Originally Posted by Underxman View Post

    How come people hate free things? I just started offering a free package (it has the same features as all the other ones except space) on my webhosting company for customers to try the services before they buy them and since i opened this package, none has picked it up. The funny thing is that i see people passing by it and buying the other paid packages. So my question is, why do people hate free things and just go buy pricey ones? It doesn't make since to me.

    I have noticed as well that restaurants that start with high prices tend to accumurate more clients than the ones that start cheap (atleast in some countries of the world it is like this) Any of you have the same experience?
    The word "free" is one of the most popular words. The bad part is that people do not see much value in free stuff. They tend to associate it with cheap quality or not as good as a "paid" item. That's why no mentor, will guide a student for free, because they know that , the student will not take the mentor...or his course all that serious since it was free.

    Free Vs. paid, is like an "ebook" vs. "video", video will always have more of a perceived value, than an ebook. Even if you have to charge $1, do it. Anything that requires money, will get people to be more serious, than just getting it free (most of the time).

    Even in list building, it is better to offer the front-end for $1 and get a paid subscriber/buyer, than a freebie (tire kicker) that will expect free stuff and will not buy eventually (most don't).
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  • Profile picture of the author Kingfish85
    To be completely honest regarding hosting, "free" attracts abusers & spammers. Take a look at some of the other "free" hosts. Probably about 20-30% of the incoming SPAM to our customers originates from "free" hosts.

    1. Free attracts spammers

    People do not want their sites associated with this

    2. Free attracts abusers

    People don't want their sites going down every 10 minutes because of this.

    3. Support, or lack of.

    There's a handful of actual free hosts that are successful. Note "handful".

    4. Support expertise

    You generally either get no support (see #3) or clueless support because there's no money being made. Canned responses etc for those who do offer support. Most don't have an ounce of competence.

    5. Amateur, noobs & kiddies

    I've seen quite a few of these "free everything - no ads" pop up every year like clock work. The goal is to in hopes, get tons of "free" customers, then convert them over to paid. It never works. Ever. So, after the first couple months, the owner can't afford server bills, licensing etc and they get shut off.

    6. Hidden things, such as whois info

    Legitimate hosts don't hide their contact info. Keep that in mind. Some "companies" claim it's hidden for SPAM reasons...it's apparent those companies haven't a clue on how to manage SPAM & they shouldn't be running a "web hosting" service.

    I could keep going. We've acquired 4/5 companies over the past few years - 2 of which offered "free" plans. I can tell you, we'll never do it again. "free" servers are full of scammers, pirated software, abusers, spammers, phishing sites, hacked websites/accounts, fraudsters, malware infected crap etc.

    Both companies were acquired a year apart and had no relation to the other.

    If you value the reputation of your company, I'd recommend staying away from anything "free". In the end, it'll do more damage than good.

    No matter what you're told about how to market it, present it or whatever, the facts are still there about the technical side of it & what's bound to happen regarding the content/customers.

    Come back in 6 months, I can guarantee you that 1 out of "5" of those "free" customers is legitimate.
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  • I posted earlier about restaurant I assisted in opening and still associated with. Opening day I was asked to go out through the mall and tell patrons the we were feeding the mall free of charge from 12 to 4. I was dress in full restaurant uniform and roughly 9 out of 10 people did not believe me. I was I pure shock. A one point I had to physical walk people to the food court, though the serving line and have the cashier tell them it was free of charge. People were able to eat at all 3 restaurant with no questions asked. Yet turn out was minimal compared to the amount of people at the mall that day. I was so perplexed I started asking people why don't they believe me. The most popular answer was , " It's gotta be a catch to it". So in short, free now means trickery! Of some sort that is.
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  • Profile picture of the author Peak Curiosity
    People think it's too good to be true.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by Underxman View Post

      I don't see any downside of being able to try something before investing money in it....maybe thats just me but i appreciate anything that offers me a trial period or moneyback in order to try the services first.
      How about lost time if it doesn't work out? How about lost sales if the site doesn't perform well? And then there's this...

      The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become. That is why I wish to pay fair price for every value. If I have to pay for it or earn it, that makes something of me. If I get it for free, that makes nothing of me.
      - Jim Rohn
      By the way, if you want to start a thread and talk about hosting, you might want to disable your signature or the thread might be deleted as sig bait.
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  • Profile picture of the author malik
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      How many here have not been on a free webinar?

      It's the offer and timing for the prospect
      which makes the difference as to whether
      people take you up on it or not.

      Best,
      Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author nettiapina
    I bet every one of us is bombarded with "free" offers. The products that are just bytes on a hard drive are easy to copy. Most free web design or internet marketing packages I've seen are just some half-assed crap slapped together. It's also a valid point that free hosting isn't usually worth the time and effort you put into trying it.

    It's harder and harder to get people invested.
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  • Profile picture of the author shane_k
    Just like others have said it's not that people don't like free things - People love to recieve free things!

    But...

    It still comes down to a bunch of others things like trust, relevancy, value, beliefs and past experience with free items, skepticism etc


    Do your prospects trust you?

    Do they trust your product?

    is it relevant to what they want or need?

    is your ad copy or sales copy hitting their hot buttons? In other words are you eliciting desire, curiosity, scarcity, etc?

    Maybe you need to change your perspective and ask better questions.

    Instead of asking, "Why don't people like free stuff?" instead maybe ask yourself, "What would these people line up around the block for in order to get free?"
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery Moss
    Maybe it's possible your customers looked at the free option and decided they wanted the more upgraded version as it wasn't really so much more money. Could just be a pride issue as some people see accepting freebies as a sign of taking charity. And, for some taking charity is a personal offense to pride. However, it's viewed, at least you know your customers are not interested in freebies. So just offer a reduced price version for your starter package and then several higher priced host packages to cater to all budgetary needs.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Lee
    People do not value "FREE" anymore. Similar to how people are blind to PPC/Banner ads the same holds true with "free" offers. 9 times out of 10 the "free" offer isn't all that great anyway so you need to gain attention somehow other than just relying on the fact that it's free to get signups.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Tyler
    Mark Zuckerberg: What about we call it free gifts?
    Sean Parker: Drop "free". Just "gifts". Its cleaner.

    People like free stuff, just not the ones you say are free. Who wants a gift that is free? It don't need to cost anything, just needs to be something you yourself believe and appeal as valuable.

    To summary in four words; people like to be sold.
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  • Profile picture of the author karolinaboy
    I guess it depends on what it is that you are giving away for FREE. When I'm at the mall I definitely love eating those free samples at the food court. I love the samples so much I change wigs every time so I look like a new person so I won't break my cover.

    Now, I'm guessing that if it has a higher value then maybe people would look at the things you offer for FREE as being cheap maybe. I guess it's a psychological thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author sanusense
    Free hostings are not trustworthy ! Low bandwidth, no customer support. And you never know when they exclude your full database from server and slow server is the main issue.
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