Hey! Guess What? Ebooks aren’t “FREE!” – You’re Stealing

Free ebooks, white papers, webinars etc. are not really “free.” They have a price. That price is our personal information and it’s stealing when false or inaccurate data is given.

I’m seeing this a lot lately with my clients and on my own website, A Sales Guy U.

When a company offers an e-book on How to Get the Most out of Facebook, or a white paper on Cold Call Techniques in exchange for our information we are obligated to share it if we want the ebook.  It’s that simple.

Content marketing is a legitimate and less intrusive marketing medium. Companies invest a lot of time and money into creating valuable content they are willing to share at no “financial cost.”  However, it’s not free. The “price” is some of our own and our company’s information. We don’t have the right to arbitrarily withhold it.

The information is normally not very intrusive; name, email, company name, phone, and sometimes a couple of qualifying questions.  That’s it.

When a company offers insight in exchange for our information we have to give it.  The ebook, whitepaper, etc is the offer. Our, name, email, company name, etc is the consideration. We have the right to accept or refuse the offer, but not accept the offer and ignore the consideration.

I dont’ think any of us would walk into a store and say, “hmmm, that’s interesting. I’d like to have that. But, I don’t want to give you my hard earned money, cause I’m not sure it’s worth it, so here is my fake credit card, and fake name.  When someone downloads an ebook, whitepaper etc by filing out a form with fake or inaccurate data, that is exactly what’s happening. They are stealing.

I’m not sure why we feel we are entitled to something for free because we don’t want to be hassled by sales people or don’t want to end up in their database? That’s the price of the information.  We can accept it or not, it’s our choice.  But, providing false information, that’s stealing and that isn’t OK.

What do you think, is it “stealing” when fake or inaccurate information is used to download and ebook or white paper?

I’m very interested in what this community thinks.  And, if there are brave souls who have done this and would admit here and share why, that would be frickin’ awesome. I’d love to hear your thoughts.