Free Advertising: Microsoft $200, Google $50, LookSmart $300, & Ask $50

Tis the season for online advertisers to attract new customers. If you have a website, blog, etc. and are looking for the perfect time to build exposure while freeloading, then these offers are for you. This is likely to be the best compilation of free offers available for some time; if interested, make your move now, as most these offers expire within a month. Here are the details and links for each company and offer:


Go to the $200 free offer page to get started with Microsoft AdCenter and use promo code DM-2-1106 (also listed on site) before January 15, 2007. This $200 of free advertising requires a charge of $5 (so I lied, that makes it actually $195 of free advertising).


Click here to sign up for Google AdWords and take advantage of their Christmas season $50 advertising coupon. No expiration date seems to be listed for this one (but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one).


Follow this link to sign up for LookSmart and make sure to use promo code SESCHQ4 at check-out for your $300 credit. This offer is good for first time LookSmart advertisers only and your daily budget must be set to $10 or higher, meaning you can only freeload for a maximum of 30 days. Also, this offer expires December 25, 2006.


Go to this sign up page and enter promo code SESCHI06 during the check-out process.

So there you have it, $600 of free advertising to get you started with whatever online presence you might have. Thanks to ProBlogger and Paul Allen.

  • Bob Caswell


    I have signed up successfully using all of these offers and am willing to answer any questions.

  • They all require credit card info though, I expect this, but I don’t want to enter it in case they have some sort of contract -where you get $50 dollars free, but you are committed to advertising with them for x months/years.

  • I tried the Microsoft promotion and got error after error and gave up.

  • Kevin

    For the unintiated, let me warn you: Microsoft AdCenter is *terrible*. Save yourself the heartache. It’s not worth it for $1,000 in free clicks.

    Stupid, tiny iframes; mis-sized columns; poorly sized data-entry fields, *useless* slow-loading charts, endless loops of error pages that go no where, help pages that are completely or all-but blank…. I could go on, but why?

    It’s a M-E-S-S. (Who built this crap anyway?)

    Need to exclude a bunch of words? (Want to bid on ‘English language lessons’ perhaps but not ‘free English language lessons’, and need to exclude a couple of others?) The box you enter those phrases in is LITERALLY no bigger than the ”

    A text field that small is a barrel-of-monkey’s of fun to go scrolling back and forth in to see what you’ve entered and haven’t. Then you’ll hit a string limit somewhere, and the form won’t submit. You won’t get a useful error; it… just… doesn’t… work… anymore. (Did I enter something wrong? Or is the system broken? Let me… ummm… scroll… back… and try finding it.)

    It is a DISASTER. It’s so bad, I would guess that two entry-level developers whipped it out one weekend as a proof-of-concept, and it was mistakenly pushed live to the world as if it were an actual working production system.

    I had *such, such* high hopes from Microsoft. I’d hoped that they’d actually throw some talent at the project in the hopes of someone FINALLY locking horns with Google. I mean I REAAAAALLY *wanted* to see MS make a great contender.

    Pfft. Was I wrong. 🙁

    Microsoft AdCenter is laughable… just laughable!! And I have *tried* to suffer through the inexcusable design flaws just to push through and get the traffic. No more. I’m done with it. Back to being stuck with Google and Yahoo.

    Thank goodness Google gets it and has a solid UI; and at least Yahoo!’s isn’t horrible.

    I am *not* exaggerating: MS could have done better outsourcing it to a couple of teams of meat cutters with zero HTML experience. At least then we’d expect it to be bad and be pleased when it wasn’t. Intead it’s just piles of fresh, heaping steaming dung. And those are the good parts.

  • Tried to pay for but they kept saying they have problem processing the card!

  • Yeah, I signed up for Microsoft successfully, after a couple handfuls of errors. I guess I just had to wait it out. Ask wouldn’t accept my credit card, for some reason. But, it’s all good, I’m now $500 worth of advertising paid for $5. Thanks, good find.

  • Anonymous

    You’re my hero! I was about to plop down some money to start advertising on google in the next few minutes and you saved me! <3<3<3 What do you want for Christmas! =)

  • Will be using this on my blog and will also be linking to yours cheers i had the microsoft one but this is rocking 🙂

  • Bob Caswell

    Glad to hear this is helpful for some… Just to clarify, yes, you do need a credit card for these offers and some of them (like Ask and LookSmart) will auto-renew once your free amount is used up. So that means that you need to watch your advertising campaign closely and cancel the service before you use up your free amount (unless, of course, you like it and want to actually pay; that’s what these companies are hoping).

    It’s all still free, but you will be charged if you sign up and then forget about it. And thanks to all who are linking here!

  • bob

    I have not received the money in my microsoft account. How long does it take to get?

  • bob

    Actually nevermind, I was looking in the wrong spot. The 200 is in my account 🙂

  • Hey great post I will definitely use this money to help get some exposure to my site (

  • I was just wondering how they plan on making money from this. See trackback entry from … Thanks if you could answer that.

  • Bob Caswell


    Inevitably some customers will forget to cancel before their credit card is charged. A less cynical answer to how these companies might make money: maybe, just maybe, someone who signs up for a free offer will actually like it and *choose* to keep using it (gasp!).

    It’s your standard high upfront investment for longterm returns (if it works).

  • I need to promote more online and I think these are worth trying since it is free anyway. Thanks for the great article.

  • Thanks for this tip. I read somewhere that BidVertiser is offering $25 in free clicks. I don’t like BidVertiser but I leave here this information in case some of your readers are interested.

  • I thkn I gave you my web address instead of my mailing address for the Google coupon. So please send the Google coupon to or

  • Tsk…Looksmart same deal. Credit Card failure (4 different card, all are valid) , and customer service is closed. Not worth the bother.

  • Not having much luck so far. For some reason isn’t running our ad even though it is setup and “on”. I’ve set the CPC very high but nothing has happened. On google .. they haven’t mailed me back yet. I’ve never heard of looksmart and they are pretty pathetic so I won’t bother there. The MSN is pretty pathetic but I’m desparate so I’ll try them. I’ve read that google no longer offers the $50 coupon and won’t respond =( I found another google link though:
    Apparently you sign up and they give you $50 instantly? Someone said they used the link and they never got credit for it.
    Secondly, I found a code for yahoo!
    Google REALLY doesn’t want to give free credit it seems =P

  • The google link I posted doesn’t work, I guess I’ll try emailing their customer service and seeing if they will credit me.

  • Pity you have to be in the US/UK to take part in some of the offers i.e. Microsoft 🙁

  • Kevin

    Sooo….none of these work?

  • Bob Caswell

    Kevin (and others interested),

    All of these do work. Some talk about issues they’ve had with credit cards while others are disappointed that some offers only work in the US/UK.

    But I have personally used every single one of these offers successfully, as have others…

  • I can’t get the Google one to work which is the only one I’m really interested in. Clicked the link, signed up with a new account, and my balance is 0.

  • Awesome stuff! I just got $200 for M$ and $100 for Google (and … some amount for CitySearch) for having a 1and1 hosted server, and I was telling some friends about that and they pointed me here. Now I’ve got Looksmart and Ask set up, and I’m eager to see how they work out.

    One piece of odd/interestingness — As part of cc validation, since the order came out to $0, it looks like ask jeeves and looksmart … each _gave_ me a $1. Status is still pending, but would be nifty if it’s true.

    Also funny is the fact that LookSmart and Ask are using the same software for their ad management, with just minor css tweaks between them (and different settings selected–looksmart lets you have really long titles and descriptions).

    Greatest Uncommon Denominator Magazine
    — 200 pages of literary + genre fiction, poetry, art, and more. [[ $3.50 PDF, $10.00 Print ]]

  • And hey, thanks for that Yahoo link in the comments (though I’m still waiting on their $50… but I’m still just waiting on their introductory email after creating the account, too, so maybe they’re slow).

    Speaking of, I’m kind of slow, too. I misread my statement. Those $1 credits were _not_ credits, but they weren’t charges, either. Just Auths, and I compared them with a “refund” when trying to figure out which way the negative was going. A friend tells me I’m just tired/overworked as opposed to a complete dork.

    Greatest Uncommon Denominator Magazine — 200 pages of literary + genre fiction, poetry, art, and more. [[ $3.50 PDF, $10.00 Print ]]

  • We use the promotional coupon to try LookSmart but have found it quite ineffective when comparing to other PPC engines, especially Google’s AdWords.

  • When i tried to use the Microsoft promo is said

    This particular Promotional Code has already been redeemed.

  • Wooo, thank you so much! I knew about the Google Voucher [Sign up via Lycos Partnershop – on going for over a year now], but the others… Gems! 🙂


  • WARNING!!!! Look smart just charge my credit card 300 bucks and i only had the account open a week my balance wasnt low

  • I signed up for the free $300 on Looksmart but did not activate the account before the 25th so they took away my $300 credit. I called to complain and all they could do was give me a new coupon code for $150 off of $300 here is the code. I think it expires on the 7th of next month or sometime soon. Enjoy

    looksmart code for 150$ off of $300 code:0307wp150

  • What no Overture bonus, with Panama rolling out I would expect something.

  • Eric

    I also get an error for the Microsoft code, and FYI the ASK code for $600 only shows up as a $50 credit.

  • Interestingly enough I am also getting errors. I think I see a bit of a trend here.

    YTB Travel Presentation
    YTB Travel Booking

  • now this can’t user
    i want hao a new google’s,thanks!