Sparkfun Announces Free Day 2012

We got word that it was coming, and now SparkFun has just announced that Free Day 2012 will take place on January 11th. This is the third time around for the purveyor of goodies for electronic enthusiasts. Each year the offer is a little different, but like in the past you stand to get $100 of free stuff!

The first Free Day back in 2010 saw a lot of hammering which left the SparkFun servers a steaming pile of slag. In 2011 they bolstered their bandwidth handling and tried a quiz-based system for the giveaway. This time around they’re not asking questions but leaving the awards up to chance. Each person has the opportunity to win a $100 credit during the contest window (not specifically announced yet, but definitely starting at 9AM MST on 1/11/2012). There will be some type of bot monitoring, but other than that you can try to claim your credit as many times as you want, with the awards being randomly assigned to a pool of entrants. We recommend you keep an eye on their announcements for more details, but we’ll try to keep this thread updated as we hear more.

Not wanting to wait that long for your components? Don’t miss some of the sales that are going on over this Holiday weekend.

[via Reddit]

22 thoughts on “Sparkfun Announces Free Day 2012

  1. After having spent hours and hours last time refreshing, fiddling, refreshing, waiting, refreshing, getting one step further, refreshing, fiddling, finally reaching the final step and promptly get booted right back to the start… no thanks.

  2. I tried the first year and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I thought the second was not really quiz based, but more based on past purchases you had made…

    I hope they clear up what they mean for this year. It sounds like you either have to keep refreshing the page until you win, or you have to buy something and you are told if you win at checkout.

    1. To be clear, there is no purchase necessary – you’ll likely have to fill out a captcha or something to be sure you’re not a bot, and there will be some sort of source of randomness that decides if you win or not. If you don’t win, you are welcome to try again as many times as you want until you do. The only thing you need is a SparkFun account, which you will be able to make on the day of.

      But don’t hole me or SFE to it -as Nate said the terms are subject to change, etc…

      1. Same here Nathan, left a terrible taste in my mouth. I think what got me was all the tries from noninterested people just out for bargains they can peddle on Ebay. It happened.
        I was even trying it from my fast University internet connection, and I barely got past the starting point. I am surprised anybody outside the US and with an Uber fast (50Mb cable), low latency connection succeeded.
        @Dave, I sincerely hope not, I thought the point of the 1st to 2nd year tweaks were to reduce repeated connections to their servers. But with a random reclicky, itll drag everything to a halt again.

  3. I felt the first year was a failure of their goal of “giving back to their loyal customers for making them successful” when really it was a big lottery for who got it and who didn’t.

    Second year addressed that concern and warded off the non-tech moochers with quizzes and loyalty checks. Success in my book.

    Looks like third year is going to be a lottery again, which I am fine with as long as they don’t pull out the “giving back to our loyal customers” bs again.

    I’m not complaining about a company giving away free stuff; only with how they approached it. Sparkfun turned into that one family member that buys lottery tickets for your Christmas/birthday presents. Don’t say you are giving us a present, when really it’s only a ‘chance’ for a present. And don’t expect a thank you card in return!

    1. Yeah, its not about the customers, its a really cheap ad campaign. They couldn’t care less who gets the stuff (or like me, you are one of the ones who gets to order, then you wind up with getting nothing at all when they refuse to honor the discount and later retroactively charge full price anyway.)

  4. Sure is a great way to use your marketing budget to get new customers to load test your server! I do have to wonder how many of the new customers come back, though, after such a frustrating experience with their website.

  5. They should just limit the contest to existing customers that have had previous purchases. Wouldn’t that solve the whole problem? Otherwise they will only likely only reward the greedy and botting masses. Not that gaming a system isn’t ingenious, it is a hacking site after all. :D

    Although maybe they themselves are greedy for new customers, and the contest is more of an advertisement. :/

  6. UK electronicists: Rapid Electronics are now having a 2-day offer on, 24 & 25 Nov 2011, spend a minimum of £70 (ex.vat) and you pay the last column price for the item no matter how many you order of the item. use the code ECNOV, you’ll also get free postage as you’re spending over £30

    Some good savings to be had if you can find things you want, just a shame they don’t have the same range of items as Farnell & RS.

  7. I like the idea of this, but the reality leaves something to be desired.

    Last year I was one of the ‘lucky’ people to get $100 off my several hundred order. Item was defective. I returned it, and wished to exchange for a working model. They agreed the item was defective, but didn’t have any more, so they offered a lesser (and lesser cost) model in exchange. Then wanted to charge me the extra $100 for the replacement. Because it was no longer free day.

    WTF Sparkfun? You really went there?

    I have gone on to dealing with reputable companies since then.

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