People Love Free

On January 7th, 2010, Sparkfun, a Boulder, Colorado based electronics supplier, decided to give away free merchandise. Each customer who placed an order that day received $100 in free goods. No minimum order. No code needed at checkout.

Ten minute before the web store opened, Sparkfun’s servers were already buckling under the load. Their company name was appearing in four of the top ten search terms on Google Trends. It took one hour and 44 minutes for the company to pass their pre-announced limit and give away $100,587.

This extravaganza was originally announced on November 23rd, just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Founder Nate Seidle said in a blog post that he was inspired by Chris Andersen’s book Free and wanted to give back to his customers. I found out about this incredible offer from Chris Andersen himself that morning via his Twitter feed. In response to the offer Andersen said:

“Yikes, what have I done?”


You might be interested in the ebook Free to Flexible: Four Simple Lessons About Cost, Price, Margin and The Options Available to The 21st Century Business. You can download it here.

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