“Say, anonymous person-in-tune-with-culture, what’s the best part of the Internet?”
“Pornography, for sure.”
Wrong. Pornography existed and was a pretty big business before computers started talking to each other — go ahead, mention “Beta” to someone at Sony, I dare you. Myth busted!
“Fantasy Sports, definitely.”
No. While it’s a much bigger business now and figuring out scores (see also: mathematically, how much I suck at Fantasy Sports) is a lot easier when a robot saves me the 14 hours and tallies everything up in a millisecond, the culture did most definitely exist before the late 1990s.
“Downloading free music.”
That one… all right, that one I really can’t discredit – it’s pretty awesome. I mean, I’ve heard that it’s pretty awesome… from a friend. You don’t know him.
“Faster communication. Duh.”
For a little while there, I would have given you this one. But now? Umm, Text Messaging is on Line 2, says something about you being ungrateful and rude? Instant messaging went out with powdered wigs, as far as cell phone companies are concerned (and they’re not all that far off-base in that thinking).
Again and again, whether it’s eBay and craigslist (two revolutionary sites that this column, unfortunately, cannot praise due to their ever-changing merchant status) or Amazon and Buy.com, the Internet proves itself most useful in the realm of saving consumers copious amounts of money. While online stores clearly do not have infinite supplies of products (seriously, there are no more disheartening words to read on a computer screen than ‘Out-Of-Stock’) they do provide a retail experience that is far easier-to-navigate than an actual store, and when a friend gives you a web address in lieu of an attempt to remember where exactly “somewhere in Chicago” he/she got that t-shirt and how much he/she “thinks” it cost… well, that’s just gravy.
Now obviously, since everything in shopping is subjective, pointing out specific items that appeal to me – like, say, Star Wars Shop’s Bargain Bay — may serve no greater good. However, in an effort to be as thorough as possible, I finished the Internet for you (it dragged a little in the second act and the final boss was way too hard but overall, I’d say it was enjoyable) and I now feel very confident in my ability to point you in the direction of places that most consistently save me money.
So, in lieu of any additional unnecessary bombastic wordplay, I give you the Five Best Sites for Great Deals on the Internet.
Amazon Gold Box
The absolute best of the absolute best. Many of these offers are for a limited time only (some last for 24 hours, some for a week, etc.) but every single one of them lives up to its “gold” status. Usually, they’re grouped by category like “Save on all Logitech products” but there are plenty of single-product deals (like the unbelievable $1300 savings on a Swiss Legend gold watch).
Add it to your bookmarks, check it everyday, and thank me later.
A little nerdier than anything else on this list, Newegg tends to specialize in electronics and accessories (most notably computer-related). Their prices on processors, video cards, and memory are already amongst the lowest you’ll find anywhere and in the Daily Deals section, you’ll save even more.
Don’t think for a second, though, that because you don’t put together your own computers, Newegg has nothing for you; they carry an abundance of laptops, digital cameras, cell phones, video games, and other products that everyone looks for, at some point.
The number one place online for DVDs (because their prices are the lowest) is definitely tops on my list – most notably around the time of their frequent and much-ballyhooed sales. If you’re not familiar with their work, here’s just a taste:
- twice a year, they take 20% off everything in the store
- they recently held a “buy one, get one” deal on Criterion Collection discs and “buy two, get one” on Blu-ray movies
- free shipping on nearly everything
Does that sound like something you might be interested in? Saving massive amounts of money on fantastic and/or high-definition movies? They have new and different deals just about everyday so constantly visiting their front page is never a bad idea.
Barnes & Noble Bargain-Priced Section
This one is exactly what it sounds like; the “please buy this” section of the bookstore with arguably the best selection on Earth. The only thing better than perusing the clearance section at the front of the local B&N is being able to do it online at 4 AM in my Iron Man underwear while eating a Chic-O-Stick. It’s also superior to its real-life counterpart in that I do not have to worry about remembering the appropriate shelf to which I must return How Hitler Could Have Won World War II after I decide that Universe: Stunning Satellite Imagery from Outer Space would be a better purchase.
This four-year-old site’s tagline tells you everything that matters: “One day, one deal.” Each day at 12:00 AM, Woot drops a gadget/electronics product (usually refurbished) for far less than retail. The deal runs until they sell out of that product (there is always a limited amount) or until midnight that night. Make it a part of your daily internet routine and within a month, I guarantee you’ll buy something from them.
Don’t depend just on these sites and my word, however. In addition to providing useful information and educated opinions on news and fresh products, well-run blogs like Gearcrave, /Film, and Gizmodo will highlight great deals found all over the place when they come along. The internet is a magical place, if you know where to look and/or know who to consult, regarding where to look.
Finally, I feel like I should point out that I just wrote 1000 words about the world wide web and did not once ironically say “interwebs” or “a series of tubes” nor did I include any snarky mentions of Al Gore. Now THAT’s a great deal on the Internet. You are welcome.