Now that we got the free gift card issue out of the way there are legitimate ways to win gift cards, and they all have nothing to do with the draw contests or lead generation offers. But remember, there is no such a thing as free lunch.
There are some file sharing sites that host your files for you for free and even reward you for sharing your link with as many people as possible to download your files. A famous example is rapidshare. Rapidshare gives you points for every 1 mega bite of download through your links. And when you accumulate a certain number of points you can claim those in the forms of either physical gifts or a gift card. There are other websites that offer you the same reward, a gift card, when you spend your time taking their surveys.
That was the most straight forward method of earning a gift card for your efforts or time. But there is always a catch.
To earn those points from file sharing sites like rapidshare you should not share copyrighted, illegal material or anything that might be offensive to any group of people. So you can’t download a movie or rip it from a DVD and upload your files to rapidshare and expect to get rewarded when people download that movie from your link. The files must be original and you must have the right to share this material with others in order to qualify for the rapidshare points that you can redeem as a gift card.
Another catch related to survey sites. Most of the time they’ll find a way to avoid giving you your gift card. Some times they send the gift cards out but most of the time they don’t. That’s why this kind of sites is banned in some areas and their domains are black listed by most internet service providers.
There are local events when you can participate and earn a gift card as a token of appreciation to your efforts. Again it’s not free unless you consider your time worthless. You earn those gift cards by doing something that’s appreciated by those who need your service. An example is as I explained in the opening post on this website, when my wife participated in the panel of a workshop to help parent students manage their lives around their children. At the end she was surprised by the gift card that she used to buy me a gift. So it’s not free because she’s spent some time on the panel and preparing for it. She earned it.