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Your Take: Free Services Supported by Advertising

One of my favorite free services is Credit Karma, which I use to help monitor my credit score and is a cornerstone of my do-it-yourself identity theft solution [3]. Credit Karma gives you a free TransUnion credit score along with credit report change notification, which makes it perfect for keeping an eye on your report. It’s absolutely free because it’s entirely advertisement supported.

When you check your score and review their comments on your report, you’re shown credit card and financial services advertisements. Some people sign up for them, some people don’t; net result is that everyone gets a great service for free as long as you’re happy with the advertising.

When you think about it, much of the web is built on this principle. Mint.com, which was acquired by Intuit, was built entirely on this model and everyone loved them. Your favorite search engine, Google, is funded by the advertisements in the search results.

What do you think of these types of advertising supported services? Do you love them because you get a great service for free? Or do you think there’s just too much advertising and you’d rather pay?