Free razor?
April 21, 2003 7:40 AM   Subscribe

What's a company to do? Imagine this. You are the mighty Gillette corporation. You wish to promote your Mach 3 Turbo razor. You send free razors in the mail on an unsolicited basis. Guess what? There is another company out there that is giving away YOUR razors for free. It turns out that they are pretty aggressive- they ask consumers for their credit card number when they sign up. Those who sign up get eight replacement blades every two months. [You can sign up five friends and not pay for life, by the way.] You know what? There is nothing you[i.e., Gillette] can do about it. Oh, what's a company to do? You start calling them renegade and urge consumers to complain to state authorities. Will consumers care enough to complain?
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy (25 comments total)
I don't get it. How do you get free razors for life?

Just complete the sign-up form and the next page will give you details on our special Free Blades For Life offer.
posted by tomplus2 at 7:55 AM on April 21, 2003

Giving them my credit card number is the deal breaker for me. I don't mind using it to pay for things online, but "just for a unique identifier" makes the sirens ring. However, I don't see where Gillette's got a legal leg to stand on in all this. Of course, they could just try to cut off the supply of blades (though I'm sure that's hard to track).
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:06 AM on April 21, 2003

I'd change the blades :D

And have my marketing department killed, of course.
posted by UncleFes at 8:10 AM on April 21, 2003

but "just for a unique identifier" makes the sirens ring

Especially on a form that isn't secure...
posted by nicwolff at 8:22 AM on April 21, 2003

Did not see that, trharlan. I just got some error on my post. I don't work for FreeRazor. Thought they were despicable, BTW.
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy at 8:30 AM on April 21, 2003

not trying to say this company is great.. it's pretty deceptive advertising.. but the credit card portion of the form IS, in fact, piped through https, contrary to the post deletion method and someone nicwolff's post...

the first page (address, name, etc), however, is not.
posted by twiggy at 8:33 AM on April 21, 2003

Isn't this called capitalism and free markets?
posted by gramcracker at 9:02 AM on April 21, 2003

AdAge: "Consumers who get five friends to sign up can get free blades for life."

If you don't get five friends to sign up you are automatically charged for eight blades every two months. It is the initial razor that is free.

You need to look hard to see this info in the FAQ. Sounds like the standard pron 'free trial' offers that roll over into recurring billing.

[not that i'd know about pron billing]
posted by DBAPaul at 9:05 AM on April 21, 2003

But someone is, ultimately buying the blades, right? So...the problem is?
posted by agregoli at 9:09 AM on April 21, 2003

My son got the free razor from Gillette on the occasion of his eighteenth birthday. I'm wondering how they got his address to begin with.
posted by konolia at 9:09 AM on April 21, 2003

My son got the free razor from Gillette on the occasion of his eighteenth birthday. I'm wondering how they got his address to begin with.

Selective Service records, maybe. But also, if your son had a bank account, ever paid taxes, or subscribed to just about any magazine, then his information is out there.

I got the free razor on my eighteenth birthday too. I hope Stoli sends me a free bottle of vodka for my 21st...
posted by SweetJesus at 9:25 AM on April 21, 2003

my question? how do I get a free mach3 in the mail? when i turned 18 i didn't get one -- what the hell? it should come with your selective service form. sign up for the army, get a $10 razor... what a deal!
posted by ruwan at 9:39 AM on April 21, 2003

i'm pretty sure selective service has nothing to do with getting the razor, I got my razor on my birthday and I didnt sign up for Selective Service till several months later.
posted by philcliff at 9:53 AM on April 21, 2003

Extended warranty? How can I lose?!?!?

But seriously, within two clicks I had this info up:

We will send the first set of refillable blades 7-14 days after you sign up for your free razor. Our price for the refillable blades is below the manufacturer's suggested retail store price and we always have FREE SHIPPING AND NO SALES TAX. If you choose this convenient option of having your blades refilled every two months, do nothing and we will automatically mail your blades to you every two months and bill your credit card for the blades at our low price.

If you're giving our your CC# to strangers without looking close at the fine print (and it isn't even that hard to find, or read) then you deserve whatever happens, IMHO.

Seems totally legit to me, and relatively convenient, although I'm not sure if you need a new blade every week.
posted by shepd at 10:17 AM on April 21, 2003

Sounds to me like a pyramid scheme, using a loophole of a non-monetary commodity and a one-time payment (free razors 'for life') that is easily resold as a monetary commodity to advertisers and spammers.

They should consider using that as a basis for fighting it.
posted by rich at 10:23 AM on April 21, 2003

Did not see that, trharlan. I just got some error on my post.

i'm confused, sandeep. you posted this on the 18th, matt deleted it. when trharlan pointed this out, you said the above. wtf? trharlan speculated that you rewrote the post so it didn't sound like spam, which it wasn't and isn't. but you seem to be claiming that you did not see the prior post even though you made it, or that the previous post never existed due to some posting error? all in all, i find this far more interesting than one bunch of theives (freerazor) screwing another bunch of thieves (gillette)! enlighten us!
posted by quonsar at 10:28 AM on April 21, 2003


I did not realize matt had deleted it. When I posted, I got a technical error message. When I went to the home page, it was there for a while- which surprised me. I returned later to see it was not there. I presumed it was because of some technical problem. Now, I see that Matt did not like it. I was not trying to get around Matt. Serious.
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy at 10:39 AM on April 21, 2003


All I was trying to do was convince people that I was not trying to trick the community. I am glad you and others thought it was interesting.
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy at 10:40 AM on April 21, 2003

Oh, please. Did anyone stop to think that Gillette could be doing this because they're trying to attract attention to They're not complaining about the company itself; just the spam e-mail being sent out by Gillette isn't going to somehow suspend from selling razors; there's no legal reason why they could, other than the possibility of misleading advertising (and they are providing a very clear disclaimer in both the e-mail and on the site.)

The guy who registered, Steven Vachani, also works for a company named Qool Media. Qool Media is an affiliate program management company with links to many companies including - you guessed it - Gillette.

I'd suspect that either this was a marketing plan gone awry, or that (more creepily) this is how it's supposed to go...
posted by FormlessOne at 10:46 AM on April 21, 2003

Why is Gillette mad? If someone's giving away free Gillette razors for life, they're still buying them from Gillette.

I'm not the first person on this thread to say this, but I'm surprised people just ignore it.

This whole thread is a nonissue.
posted by kfury at 10:49 AM on April 21, 2003

Er, anybody notice the bit on Matt's deletion notice thingy about the credit card page being unencrypted? At best, that's piss-poor security on the part of, at worst, scam-ola. Either way, free anything makes me go, "What's the catch?"
posted by arto at 11:49 AM on April 21, 2003

So, arto, what's you enlightened opinion on the open source movement?
posted by Ryvar at 2:35 PM on April 21, 2003

As twiggy pointed out when I made the same complaint up top, arto, the CC form submission is https, even though the form isn't. They're idiots, but they're secure idiots.
posted by nicwolff at 4:06 PM on April 21, 2003

"It's like those record-club offers where they keep sending it to you until you tell them to stop," the Gillette spokeswoman said. The Freerazor site's implication that Mach 3 and Venus are so popular that there are shortages at retail "is so not true," she added. "We do a very good job of keeping our retailers supplied." But she said Gillette is uncertain it can do anything legally about the site.

"At Gillette, we think spamming is, like, totaly not cool. These scam-artist so suck. As if we'd be in bussness with them!"
posted by delmoi at 10:07 PM on April 21, 2003

Want free stuff? Look in the trash. There are much better things than razors there, no strings attached. (usually)
posted by pekar wood at 6:37 AM on April 22, 2003

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