Portland business based on freebies trades “complimentary products for candid feedback”

Portland business based on freebies trades “complimentary products for candid feedback”


“Like free products? We thought so. Welcome to SamplingLab,” reads the unique company’s website.

SamplingLab is located on Williams Avenue in North Portland and opened last December. After joining as members, customers can sample one free product every day in exchange for providing feedback to the producer. Members who return daily and faithfully complete reviews can earn up to three free items per visit.

“It’s like a personal invitation from brands to have your say in what they make,” the company’s website reads.

A free SamplingLab app allows users to submit their input anywhere, anytime. “It’s a very cool technology that will make you wonder how you ever shopped without it,” the site reads.

SamplingLab is decorated in a homey, inviting style, with chairs, rugs, and lamps. “Check-out” consists of scanning the item and emailing a survey to the “buyer” who can then enjoy the item at his or her own pace.

Items range from peanut butter cups to shampoo to dog biscuits, all full-size and 100 percent free. SamplingLab currently carries about 20 brands, many of which are local, and has a long waiting list of potential products.

SamplingLab has enjoyed popularity, especially among young people. Within ten days of opening, the store had 800 members. “We have many people who come in daily,” said a SamplingLab employee. “This is their morning stop.”

“Wow, wow, wow. What an amazing first day at SamplingLab,” founder Jeff Davis said following the opening. “Nothing but positive comments, which made me breathe a lot easier. Day one. The concept worked.”

Microsoft announces Office Suite is now free

Microsoft announces Office Suite is now free

Microsoft recently announced their comprehensive mobile edition of Office is now free.

The free software is for iPads, iPhones and Android tablets and it will do most of the essential functions as the computer versions of the product. Microsoft previously offered a free iPad version of Office for reading documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, while editing and printing required a subscription fee.

Mobile-functionality is becoming the most popular choice in the tech-world. Microsoft felt the effects of this reality last year when consumer revenue rose a mere 2 percent, according to The New York Times.The company is in tough competition with Apple, Google, and Evernote, who offer free and cheap mobile alternatives.

“We’d like to dramatically increase the number of people trying Office,” John Case, corporate vice president of Office marketing at Microsoft, said concerning the new offer. “This is about widening the funnel.”

Microsoft announced that by providing a complete mobile of version of Office for free more people will begin using their software. But their gain should not take away sales from the PC and MAC versions of the product.

The free offer is predicted to have little risk, since only about 13 percent of the company’s revenue comes from consumers. The greater risk remains that the similarity of mobile Versions of Microsoft and Office  and premium versions will decrease the sales of the latter.

Case said the company’s decision comes with some risk, but he expects the impact will be positive.