Wow, I have to say I didn't see this coming. I didn't realize my giving away spare parts for free could be a bit polarizing. Honestly the "tactic" wasn't one of marketing, but one of trying to be nice.
I think it's safe to say that I have a rather large collection of components that I'm not currently using nor do I have plans to use. Attached is a picture of one corner of my office area with 10 bins filled with "spare" parts many of which have never been used.
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Believe it or not this is not all of them, I have probably another 4 or 6 containers like this in other spots around here. I basically get at least one of everything new that comes to market. I do this with the intent of testing it to see if it's something we want to carry. However due to too many new products coming to market and a lack of time, I don't get around to using everything. I realized recently that I just have too much stuff around and needed to thin it out. I tried several different ways to find good homes for the products, but the one thing that kept bothering me was the number of people that were trying to get free stuff that had no intention of using it, some people clearly didn't even own or ride a bike. I can only guess they planned on selling anything they got. That was when I came up with the idea that anyone who wanted something would have to write a review of it. What this did was at the least show us they had an existing account at any cycling forum which meant at the very least they owned and rode bikes. The other reason we required them to write a review was that it created something they had to do that we could check on. This means that any new products became used and if they were trying to get stuff just to re-sell they at least had to make it used first, or not write the review which disqualified them from any future give-a-ways. The winners were chosen by using a random number generator and were told their reviews could be good or bad, but should just be honest. No other instructions were given. The idea was that I'd give away one or two items each week for the rest of this year and that while thinning my stuff out it would also at least provide some basis for discussion on the different products.
Seeing as how only a couple of reviews were written and the result of each was pretty similar, I guess this wasn't a great idea, and one that we won't pursue anymore.
However having said that I do still have a desire to get some of the my extra parts into the hands of those that can use and appreciate it and don't have a ton of other ideas. My only other thought is to do a pay-it-forward box, but unfortunately that would likely be U.S. restricted and we'd still need to find a way to ensure that each person sends it on to the next.
I'm open to ideas if anyone has suggestions. Otherwise it's all going to the bike swap meet or to the Juniors team.