How to save money shopping online

Some people think that when they go to Google Shopping (formerly the much cooler named Froogle) and get a list of prices, that it is defacto, the lowest prices possible. Those of you who are Websitetologists, or just smart shoppers, know that Google isn’t omniscient.

To get listed in Google’s pricing matrix isn’t as simple as “build it and they will come”- there is a whole series of things to fill out, optimize and then, you wait.

Most serious ecommerce outlets spend considerable time working this- but, others opt out.

The two factors that can make the most difference are shipping and tax. Now that Amazon charges tax in Ohio- a little research can save you a lot of money.

So, when I first look at Amazon- I often check the “other sellers on Amazon” – and realize, they are paying Amazon at least 10% to list their stuff on Amazon’s site, so check out their site direct. Sometimes being fulfilled by Amazon now causes sales tax to be added in Ohio- and, going directly to their site will help you skip it.

There are also price comparison sites- Price Grabber being one of the oldest. But even these sites can have internal biases.

One of my favorite sites is Deal News, which started out as Deal Mac. Gotta love their tagline- “How to go broke saving money.” Often times, I go here and look at “expired deals” to find out what the best price has been as a good indication of what’s out there.

A new ecommerce clearing house, Jet, is trying to compete with Amazon- and to build that all essential “critical mass” are often losing money even more than Amazon used to. The membership fee they started out with- is now gone. Their gimmick- the more you buy- the more you save, and- if you decline “easy returns” they’ll deduct some more money from the cost.

There are browser plugins than can look up what you are browsing and tell you better prices, but I’m getting really wary of browser plugins spying these days- your CC info may be too easy to steal once you grant access to your browser. Plus, the prices weren’t always that great.

And, although it can be intimidating- for a lot of stuff that you know is made in some factory in China- you can try to go direct via Alibaba. The tough thing is sorting out the actual manufacturers from the many middle men- but if you are looking for quantity of any item- it’s the place to go.

Ebay is also another secret resource. Many manufacturers now have their own Ebay outlets, where they sell blemished, open box, refurbs or discontinued items. The stuff can be found with full warranty at a fraction of the price. And speaking of Ebay- if you bid any time other than the final split second, you are bidding against yourself. Look into a sniping application like eSnipe and always get what you want at the price you want.

And, of course, if you want to learn how to build a website that really works- don’t forget to take the www.websitetology.com seminar, now in it’s tenth year.

 

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How to win at E-bay without really trying

Some people give up on buying on ebay because they never win. I’ll tell you the secret to never losing. Never bid on an item until the very last split second, or you are bidding against yourself.Esnipe Logo - How to win at E-bay without really trying

But, you don’t want to sit at the computer when every auction closes? Here is the secret- use a sniping service like eSnipe.

Esnipe allows you to place as many bids on as many auctions as you want (in a “bid group”) where it will automatically bid your max dollar until you win.

Example- my girlfriend wanted a Sonicare toothbrush. These cost about $116 new, but plenty are available on Ebay auctions NIB (new in box). We bid on a bunch of auctions to end up at $65 with shipping. E-snipe kept bidding and losing, until, jackpot- we won one with free shipping for $54! Cost to us- esnipe sells credits for pennies on the dollar bid- so under $1.00 extra to get a toothbrush for half price.

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How to find out who is sharing your server

Most of us are on shared servers. One server, many hosted sites. We used to run our business on one until a Thai dating site was put on the server and our sites were constantly going down.

We now have our own servers- that we use for our clients. We host about 100 clients per server- and have had minimal problems. Many server companies excel at seeing how many sites they can stuff on one server- and that’s how you get cheaper hosting.

Use My IP Neighbors to see who is on your same IP- of course, a server can have multiple IP addresses on the same server which can obfuscate the answer to how many sites are on my server.

My IP Neighbors lets you find out if any other web sites (“virtual hosts”) are hosted on a given web server.

The tool is a great way to find out who your hosting neighbors are, or just to see how many other websites your hosting company runs from the same machine. Or perhaps you’d like to know if that flashy company still uses cheap hosting like the rest of us.

You can search by hostname or by IP. Search results include the neighbor’s website URL’s and titles, and links to WHOIS data.

via MyIPNeighbors Reverse IP Lookup (Free service).

Note, this service isn’t exactly fool proof- it also lists domains that are pointed to the same IP- and not all domains are hosted. It’s pulling out of Whois data instead of actually scanning the server.

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