Innovative Online Marketing Firm Has Given Away More Than 16,000 Free Apple iPods Since June 2004
Five-Year-Old Company on Track for Strongest Year Ever
Gratis' network of Web sites host advertising offers from a variety of highly rated companies such as Citibank, Blockbuster, AOL, Columbia House and BMG, among others. When a visitor to a Gratis site signs up for an offer from one these advertisers, Gratis is paid by that advertiser for delivering a customer lead. Using those revenues, Gratis pays for the items it gives away.
Gratis' high-quality giveaways are attracting record numbers of new users and, as a result, large businesses are acquiring a steady stream of new customers from the valuable demographic that comprises the Gratis user base. Last year, Gratis was named the 95th fastest growing company in the U.S. in Inc. Magazine's prestigious Inc. 500 ranking.
"In the last five years, Gratis has revolutionized the online customer acquisition sector," Gratis co-founder Peter Martin said. "Online giveaways used to revolve around low-value items such as t-shirts, caps and tote bags. As a result, the level of consumer interest was correspondingly low. We thought there was a better way - one that offered more value to both consumers and to our own customers, the online advertisers."
"Our vision was to increase dramatically the quality and value of free goods available - giving away Apple iPods, flat screen televisions and video game systems, instead of low-value items - and, by doing so, drive radically higher levels of traffic. The concept has proven to work well for our advertisers, who are looking to acquire high-quality new customers, and our users who enjoy getting something really cool for free," Martin said.
Addressing the natural skepticism that exists around "free" offers on the Internet, Gratis co-founder Rob Jewell said it is important to understand how Gratis' business model works. "Gratis succeeds when we attract people to try our advertisers' online offers," he said. "In order to do that, we decided to offer expensive, high-quality, sought-after items to our Web visitors - the things people really want, such as desktop PCs, designer handbags, and gaming systems."
"Our system is simple and straightforward," Jewell said. "For example, to get a free Apple iPod from us, simply go to freeipods.com and register. Try one online offer and refer five friends, each of whom need to try one online offer. When the fifth friend's offer is completed we send you your free iPod. There's nothing complicated about it. Right now, we're sending out between 400 and 600 free iPods every week."