Scanning through television in the midst of a bout of insomnia, I stumbled upon an infomercial for the magicJack. Throughout the commercial, the following appears on the side of the screen: "FREE Local & Long Distance: $19.95 a Year!"

This product sounds pretty cool. Check the magicJack website for an interesting video where Herb Greenberg sings the product's praises.

However I'm writing about this because I want to describe one of my marketing pet peeves: companies advertising stuff as free when you pay a fee for it. $19.95 a year for local and long distance phone service is not free! It's $19.95 a year! Why not just say "Local and long distance: $19.95 a year"? That's still a pretty awesome deal, and it's more honest and less gimmicky.

You see this kind of thing all the time, and it's easy to fall for it. A common one is banks telling you all the free services you get for a monthly fee. If there's a monthly fee, it ain't free! That's what the monthly fee is for.

All that aside, the magicJack sounds intriguing and I might have to order one and report back to you.

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