Online Shopping Research Made Un-Easy

christmastreeAs we move full-force into the holiday season, even we geek-techs are looking for bargains. I am no different. This year money is tighter than ever, as we are now a one-income family. Kids don’t understand that, though, so I’m still trying to make the holidays special and give them a few things they want, and a few they need. So, I’m online doing some bargain-hunting, specifically looking for a decently-priced, dependable netbook for my 16 year old daughter. She hates the iBook she has, it is too slow, and she needs the portability a laptop offers. But her mama doesn’t have the budget to replace a Mac, or even add another laptop to the mix. A netbook would be perfect for her. But as a geek-tech, I also want something easy to work with, and sturdy. That pretty much knocks out the Acer brand, and I hate the Dell netbooks I’ve seen.

So off I go looking for sites to give me some online Black Friday deals, and Cyber Monday deals, because I am not one of those crazy people that will go to Target or Best Buy or Americas Electronics at 4 a.m. just to get a “deal.” No, I’m too lazy for that, and anyway, why go in a store at all if I can just buy online?

The first site I hit was one recommended by our local news television station. CyberMonday.com was touted as the place to go to find those Cyber Monday deals that we all keep hearing about. Cool, everything I need on one place! Well, sort of, maybe. Since I knew exactly what I was looking for (a netbook) I went ahead and drilled down through electronics, computers, to laptops, then asked it to show me prices from low to high. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a category for netbooks but I thought that by sorting by prices I’d like find the netbooks at the top of the list. Instead, the first item on the list was:

DVI-D M-F Dual Link Digital Video Extension Cable, 5m

Last time I checked, a cable is not a computer. On that same list of “search results (and I never typed a thing in a search bar), were alkaline batteries, power cords, RAM chips, and many other things. All, again, not anything like a laptop computer. I decided to go for broke and put “netbook” in the search bar, let it search, and then sorted by price low to high. I got netbook sleeves, wireless mice, external drives, and finally, on page 8 of the results, the first of the netbooks, all of which were out of my price range anyway.

Turns out the cybermonday.com is just a shop.com property, and is simply an ad-based link farm. So much for an easy search for the item I’m looking for.

There are plenty of other sites just like CyberMonday out there. Nextag.com is one of them, as is techbargains.com, and there are plenty of others. And worse, when I use these sites to search and compare prices, I know that not all retailers are being represented by the results. It’s a huge waste of time if I can’t see true results, linking me to the best bargains out there. And I aggravates me that my local news’ website is touting one of these locations as the “clearinghouse of cyber deals.” Not so much so, actually, as far as I can tell.

Looks like I’m going to spend considerable time doing real research to find what I’m looking for. I’m sure that’s time I could be using for other things.