With hordes of pitches for online shopping tools pouring into the GigaOM mailboxes, I thought I’d take the opportunity today to hit the virtual mall today. Payment tools, shopping comparison, speedy delivery — whatever came my way, I was going to try it. And no, there was no Monopoly money or corporate expense account involved.
First up, I signed up for Google Checkout to take advantage of their $10 rebate on holiday purchases of at least $30. I didn’t have nearly as disappointing an experience as John Battelle did, but I didn’t get quite so up close and personal with the TOS to get timed out from my purchases.
I browsed until I found something I’d been thinking about buying for a while: a little $29 Nike hookup between your iPod and your shoes that picks up your mileage and imports it to a web interface (pictured). The whole process was painless and simple. However, after specifically following a Google Checkout button advertising the $10 discount (pictured), my order came full-price, for $31.47.
In the help section, I found this explanation: “The $10 bonus is offered by Google, so your credit may not appear on the merchant’s site, and it may not be reflected in any email communications you might receive from the merchant.” But when I checked my credit card receipt, I’d been charged $31.47 (plus a $1.00 separate charge; I don’t know what that’s about). I guess the $10 is applied before tax is added, so I missed the mark.
Rather than cry over spilled milk, I decided to cheer myself up by making another purchase. Same-day delivery service LicketyShip had told me it was giving away free four-hour deliveries for the next two days (normally $19.99, though it’ll be $9.99 for a while as part of another promotion). The LicketyShip search interface is absolutely terrible, but I guess the idea is you know exactly what you need, and you want it NOW. Browsers and window-shoppers need not apply.
But I toiled on, and found something I could use: yet another iPod accessory. This time, an FM transmitter (might as well get one before it’s illegal, right?). I liked the Griffin RoadTrip (pictured), but it cost a hefty chunk of change: $97.99. Before I hit “Add to Cart,” I turned to another new site that sent in a pitch recently: Boddit. It’s a Kayak.com-like site for both price comparison and deals, built by a Harvard junior in his spare time.Boddit (pictured) told me I could get the RoadTrip for $34.99, including shipping, if I went to Amazon. It didn’t provide a direct link to the product page, but I didn’t mind navigating the Amazon on my own to save 61 percent off the list price (which was apparently $89.99, eight bucks cheaper than LicketyShip). I took the detour and bought the RoadTrip (yeah, I know… sucker!), then went back to LicketyShip to try to find something else to buy.
Turns out, that wasn’t so hard, and by 10:40 a.m. I’d queued up a Nokia phone car charger for $28.28. Not something I need *urgently*, but I wanted to see how quickly it’d get here. Fast forward to 1:17, when my doorbell rang. The best part was, no extraneous packaging — just a dude with a clipboard in one hand and a car charger in the other.
Other things I checked out today:
- Uplisting, which is a bit of a Google Answers for shopping. You describe what you’re looking for, set a bounty, and wait for citizen shopping experts to help you out.
- GiftWisdom, a shopping list creator that’s pretty hard to use.
- Dealjaeger.de, a German site whose most redeeming factor (for English-only me, anyway) is its Indiana-Jones-cum-Crocodile-Hunter theme.
- PriceFight, a shopping comparison engine which overlays information about which online store a certain product was bought most often from. This could be useful if it had a lot of stores indexed, but there only seem to be about eight.