FreeSamples Signs Snapfish as First Service Sampling Program

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FreeSamples.com Inc., a product sampling and research firm, last week gained free film provider and developer Snapfish as its first service-based sampling program.


Consumers can go to www.freesamples.com, register by volunteering demographic information and request a free welcome kit from Snapfish. They can later send their film rolls to Snapfish in a prepaid envelope for free developing and can upload the photos at www.snapfish.com.


Snapfish hopes the deal with FreeSamples will push traffic its way. FreeSamples attracted more than 2 million unique visitors in October, according to PC Data Online. These visitors sought to sample goods from an array of consumer packaged goods marketers.


"It's always been our goal to conquer the sampling market within the consumer packaged goods industry, but also to expand sampling into nontraditional sampling verticals," said Jeff Malkin, CEO of FreeSamples, San Francisco. "These categories include verticals like Snapfish, entertainment, small office/home office, business-type services and digital content."


Snapfish is FreeSamples' first client outside the consumer packaged goods arena. Based in San Francisco, Snapfish is privately held and funded by Eastman Kodak Co., Mayfield Fund, CMGI Inc.'s @Ventures arm, Trans Cosmos, Audax Ventures, BellSouth and Compaq Computer Corp., among others.


The FreeSamples deal aims to boost awareness of Snapfish's offerings in a cluttered online photo sharing market, which includes players such as PhotoPoint.com and Yahoo.


While many competitors encourage consumers to upload their photos online, Snapfish offers consumers who mail in their rolls through a postage-paid envelope free developing, scanning, negatives and prints on Kodak paper. District Photo, the country's No. 1 photo finishing lab, is Snapfish's film processing partner.


These photos are posted online for password-protected family albums. Photos can be e-mailed. Digital cameras can also upload, store and share photos for free.


For customers who would like hard-copy prints, Snapfish charges $1.69 per roll for shipping and handling for up to 24 rolls every 12 months. Snapfish site advertisers will pay the rest of the cost.


FreeSamples offers samples of brands such as Pamprin, Drypers, Castrol, Oil of Olay, LifeSavers, Mr. Clean, Benzodent and Nutella. Competitors include StartSampling.com and Sampleville.com.
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