UPDATE: The April dates are tentative.
In the grand tradition of offering the first taste for free, Microsoft and Verizon are teaming up to open the Xbox Live Gold service up to the unwashed, unpaying masses for a free weekend. For three days beginning April 1, 2006 every Microsoft Xbox 360 user can enjoy Xbox Live's Gold service for free. That's right, now you can play with even more trash-talking preteens than usual!
But seriously, free samples are always a good way to snag new customers. Cable channels such as HBO and Showtime have been offering free weekends for years (not so much anymore though, but it used to be done all the time). It'll be interesting to see just how many people decide to subscribe to the Gold level of service after this free weekend passes. Don't expect too many free rides though. No future freebie promotions have been announced at the moment.