"Sad ako" posts: The pros and cons of asking for freebies online

“Sad ako” posts: The pros and cons of asking for freebies online

You can always count on Facebook to bring out new trends on the internet, and one of the most recent ones is the “sad ako” or “I’m sad” posts. So, what is it all about? Does it really work, and what are the pros and cons? Here’s my take on it.

What is it?

People would use their Facebook accounts then send direct messages or post comments to Facebook pages of preferred brands and businesses with “sad ako” with the hope of getting freebies. If they’re lucky, the brand or a business would give in and provide them with freebies. Those fortunate enough would screenshot the chat conversation and post it on their Facebook accounts, making it a trend.

The concept is not new, though, as Facebook users have already done something similar in the past. Some of them even included peddling the idea of receiving a product in exchange for Likes and Shares or retweets. Thus, it’s been called internet begging, cyber-begging, or online ‘limos.’

However, this is different from asking for aid or ‘ayuda’ online, which asks for funds to buy necessities, which was common during the pandemic when many people lost their jobs. It’s also different from fundraising platforms that seek funding to help people who actually need it, like those who need to pay for huge medical bills. In “sad ako” posts, it’s mostly asking for items we can consider as ‘luxury’ like gadgets.

Does it work?

In some cases, it works. Some businesses have taken advantage of it as part of their marketing efforts. Lucky Facebook users were able to win free food and services. People would post on their accounts that it worked, which makes the practice trend more on Facebook.

In some cases, it doesn’t work. Either you’re not the lucky one to receive a freebie, or the brand simply doesn’t engage in that kind of trend.


The pros and cons

While I don’t think it’s wrong to try your luck on asking freebies, people should realize that there are pros and cons to this kind of practice. I have read multiple “sad ako” messages here at YugaTech asking for gadgets, and for valid reasons like online schooling needs. While we understand where they’re coming from, and as much as we want to help, we just don’t have the means to accommodate everyone. That’s why we hold giveaways as much as possible so that everyone has a chance.

But how about those big brands and businesses, you ask? Well, it’s not easy for them as well. We reached out to a few marketers to ask for their insights, and here’s what we learned.

Many people easily believe what they see online. Whenever someone sees a successful “sad ako” post, people are quick to try it out for themselves, even when, in reality, it’s fake. Several brands have already issued reminders to customers not to believe everything they see online as some photos of accommodated “sad ako” posts are manipulated. Big brands can easily handle this, but what if it’s a small struggling business? It will do more harm than good.

Asking something for free, in a way, can also devalue the hard work and goodwill of the person behind the products or services. A restaurant owner, for example, can’t pay his employees’ salaries and bills with likes and shares. On the other hand, you might say, “Hey, I’m helping promote his/her business.” Yes, that’s true. These trends can gather engagements, increase traffic, and drive awareness, but they can also backfire. In a way, it might lead people to think that the business is some form of charity that can easily giveaway products and services. It doesn’t work that way.

Another downside to this trend is that sincere inquiries about products and services get overlooked as Facebook pages get flooded with “sad ako” messages. It’s a nightmare to filter those messages, especially if you’re a small business waiting for legitimate inquiries and orders.

Based on these insights, the “sad ako” trend is something that some brands and businesses can use for marketing, but it’s not sustainable and can do more harm than good. These are still businesses, meaning they need to turn a profit for employee salaries, pay taxes, and create more jobs. If you want to support a business, the best you can do is buy their products.

Trends like this come and go. There will be a new one, that’s for sure, but I hope people can find better ways to support businesses and livelihoods in a healthy manner, especially now that we’re still suffering from the effects of the pandemic. If you look around, there are more serious reasons to be sad, and people who really need help.

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2 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    The actually sad part is, this trend makes it harder for those with depression to express themselves online since some folks would think they’re just pretending and/or begging for money.

  2. joberta says:

    This is a pathetic attempt to get free stuff. Begging is pitiful.

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