Freebies: Who benefits most, and are they really worth It?

the truth behind tax day freebies, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox
the truth behind tax day freebies, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox

Companies all across America are offering Income Tax Day freebies today -- supposedly to help ease your pain of dealing with Uncle Sam or writing a big, fat check to the government.

But let's be honest: Who are these "freebies" really benefiting the most?

In virtually all cases, it's the company doing the "giving," not the recipients of that free cup of coffee from Starbucks or those free cupcakes from Cinnabon.

Tax Day Freebies -- like all giveaways -- are marketing gimmicks first and foremost. They're not designed with consumers' best interest in mind. On the contrary, these limited-time promotions are clever ways to generate publicity, and in the process nab market share too.

By offering something free, businesses get a low-risk, high-value chance to market their products and services to both new and existing customers.

The Freemium Business Model

It's all part of what Chris Anderson, author of Free: The Future of a Radical Price, describes as the "freemium," or free-to-premium business model used by many corporations.