Free-PC offers free Net access to boot

More free products and services than you can shake a modem at

US give-away company Free-PC is back and embarking on an IT freebie frenzy that promises to ship 20,000 machines by the end of the year. Starting in September, the company plans to shift 5,000 free PCs with Web access every month. The bonanza follows last month’s launch, where the US company shipped 10,000 such freebies. At the time, Free-PC claimed that over one million punters had applied to get a Compaq Presario Internet-ready PC. The company randomly selected 10,000 lucky consumers for its first shipment. As part of its latest scheme it is offering applicants waiting on the Free-PC list - but already have a computer - free Internet access. Customers will get the free Web access immediately, and get the machine delivered when one becomes available. Free-PC makes its cash through its advertising-supported service, FreePCNet. It also sells personal information about its users’ buying habits. Don LaVigne, Free-PC CEO, said: "The response to Free-PC by our initial customers and advertisers has exceeded our expectations." "We are moving ahead aggressively to scale our one-to-one marketing network with the distribution of more Free-PCs." LaVigne said the company eventually aimed to give all its applicants a free PC. Current advertisers using the machines include Amazon.com, Hewlett-Packard and Symantec. The company has also announced plans to launch in the UK this year. ®

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