Gains With Government Shutdown Publicity

TROY, Mich. — For a week now, has been giving away at least 200 vibes a day as part of its latest promo.

“Yesterday was the craziest — 200 vibes went in less than six minutes,” PriveCo President Tom Nardone told XBIZ. “We don’t run out of vibes, we run out of the ability to ship.”

Last Friday, Nardone announced it would show support for furloughed federal employees by offering them a free vibrator, shipped privately and discreetly to their door, no purchase required.

“The first couple of days we were on Cosmo, Howard Stern — and a lot of legitimate people came to our site,” Nardone said, “but in the days that followed, a lot of coupon sites picked up on it so we’ve had to come up with ways to make it more civil.”

Nardone said the new strategy for its giveaway includes making the offer live at different times each day and withholding its announcement of that time until an hour before the promo goes live. also changes its promo code every day.

“It’s been fun,” Nardone said. “It’s cost a bit of money but we’re also seeing a pickup in regular sales.”

It’s evidenced by the fact that now more than ever before visitors are also taking advantage of’s free gift with order offer, Nardone said. While previously few shoppers were willing to pay $3.95 for shipping of the free toy, now is shipping 100-150 of them per day.

“It’s an interesting phenomenon,” Nardone said of the publicity stunt’s effect, which he says is costing him approximately $800 per day.

“The publicity is worth way more,” he said. “In the long-term it will pay off through SEO with all of the online media mentions and links to”

Another non-economic benefit of’s promo is the building of a stronger fan base. Nardone says a lot more Facebook fans have come to the defense of the e-tailer when free vibe seekers have become unruly.

“Karma points,” he said. “People are feeling more entitled to the free vibes within the last couple of days, complaining on Facebook — fans have been defending us whereas two weeks ago they wouldn’t have cared.”

Nardone said the un-premeditated idea for the promo came to him last Friday afternoon and quickly made the announcement. He says he is adamant about sticking to his offer.

“We’re going to keep going for as long as the shutdown lasts,” he said. “I’m not going back on my word.”