This will come as a surprise to no one, but apparently the word "free" drives up internet traffic.
I don't employ it much myself - ever, really, until just now - but I have heard more than a little anecdotal evidence from other bloggers (especially Examiner writers) about the magical power of "free." These are often complaints, and I understand them. While it's easy to get caught up in writing stuff that will drive traffic, I know that I certainly don't get excited to read blog posts that are nothing more than ads for free ice cream cones or whatever.
But here's something I do find interesting: the restaurant trend towards offering free food to bring customers in the door. It's a lower end promotion - Denny's is most notable - but somewhat similar to higher end promotions like half-price wine nights and two-for-one entrees.
By early accounts, it's working, too. So it'll be interesting to see how that plays out as the economy improves and if customers' expectations will shift over time.