How is this free?

I received this ad in an email:

free

Now I’m a member of the SSWUG mailing list, I get their daily lists and they know that I’m a registered member, but not a paid member. I don’t feel that their service is worth paying for since the majority of the content is available free on the web, I have a ton indexed on SQLServerCentral, and don’t see the value. I don’t dispute the service is worth something, and if it’s worth $79/yr to you, feel free to subscribe.

However I clicked this link and went to another page where I was informed that this webcast was actually $29. It’s free for paid members of SSWUG, but not for registered members.

I went back to the email and saw the fine print below this ad:

free2

I suppose this is adequate disclosure, but it feels deceitful to me. I was thinking that I’d hear Ryan speak, who I met at SQL Saturday #63, and see if there was something about CMS that I’d missed, or could learn.

Instead I feel a little cheated, and a rather annoyed that I wasted my time with this. I don’t blame Ryan, and think this is a poor business practice on the part of SSWUG.

If you want to give something away for free, do it. If you advertise something for free, but then have fine print that it’s only for certain people, I think you’re fundamentally being a little dishonest with the people with whom you’ve communicated.

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