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Black Friday Archive
One of the deals that Living Social ran on Black Friday was a deal offering a year of the Shoprunner service for $30 with a $20 rebate for a net price of $10. Shoprunner is a service that is similar to Amazon Prime where you get free 2-day shipping from a number of online merchants including Newegg and Lord & Taylor. Shoprunner is offered for $79 so the $10 LS deal was considered pretty good and seemed to attract a number of buyers – for example, in Dallas, Living Social notes over 3,000 purchases.
Today Shoprunner posted their own deal which bests the Living Social deal! I am not sure I have ever seen a company that just ran a deal on a national deal site run their own deal with even better terms. If you hit “like” on the Shoprunner Facebook page, they will give you a year of the Shoprunner service for free. Of course you already know, as with most “like” deals, that you don’t actually need to hit Like to get the deal- here’s a direct link to the signup page.
There’s only one problem – clearly Shoprunner wasn’t ready for the “deal effect” (kinda like the Digg effect but bigger) and so the site is barely functional. In fact there have been over 1,200 comments on the Shoprunner Facebook page regarding the deal and people complaining that they can’t get the signup page to load. I am disappointed that Shoprunner is requiring a credit card to signup – and so far I can’t get the signup to complete – keep getting all sorts of error messages.
UPDATE 3pm Eastern: Shoprunner has posted the following message on their Facebook page:
Folks – this is Mike Golden. I am the President of ShopRunner. We are so sorry for the aggravitation we have caused today. We just got more overwhelmed with traffic than we ever anticipated. I have made the decision to keep this open all day because it simply wouldn’t be fair after you tried so hard to deny you a free membership…Once again I want to give everyone an update. There is no question our systems are still struggling to keep up with the load. While the majority of attemps are successful, there are still plenty of folks experiencing error messages.
Again, there is another option. You can send an email to Promo@ShopRunner.com and we will send you a unique PIN# that will allow you to set up your ShopRunner membership for Free when things have settled down. No reason you should have to spend your valuable time filling out forms and getting error messages, so feel free to take us up on that offer. Again – that address is Promo@ShopRunner.com
I wonder if today’s deal will push the new crop of deal sites including Living Social and Groupon to force merchants who use the services to sign agreements that they won’t promote their own deals for a period of time before and after their deal runs on the deal sites. Today’s Shoprunner deal makes Living Social look bad because a consumer may opt to wait to see if a better deal might come along rather than running for their credit card as soon as LS posts a deal.
This might be the biggest deal of all of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. Amazon, the company known most recently for the launch of a brand new tablet called the Kindle Fire, is running a lightning deal for VHS tapes. Amazon, the company that powers the web infrastructure for thousands of major Internet companies through Amazon Web Services, is running a lightning deal for VHS tapes. Amazon, the company that allows you to watch television shows and movies instantly, is running a lightning deal for VHS tapes.
Specifically, the lightning deal is for, “Maxell T120GX/8PK VHS Cassette Standard Grade T-120, 6 Hour, 8 Pack”. I would be all over this but the tapes are only standard grade. I always look for premium grade in my VHS tapes.
I don’t know about you but when I think VHS tapes the first thing that comes to my mind is recording Kelly Kapowski on Saturday mornings back in the late 80′s.
You might be wondering why anyone would want to buy this 8-pack of VHS tapes. Well, first, they make great stocking stuffers. Second, they are great to teach your children about what life was like pre-Netflix. Thinking creatively, you could use the film as party poppers by offering a tape to each of your New Year’s Eve guests!
If you want in, you better hurry – the lightning deal ends in just about one hour! And in a shocker, over 15% of the quantity is already gone!
Today is the biggest shopping holiday of the year here in the U.S. known as Black Friday. It’s an exciting time for deal hunters who are generally willing to spend more than normal and on stuff they wouldn’t normally buy. This is the first Black Friday since the two new deal sites, Groupon and Living Social, have come onto the worldwide stage. And I have to say that I am very disappointed in the deals on both. The deals are just blah – nothing exciting, certainly not something worth waiting on line for if either company were a brick and mortar store.
Both had a chance to make an absolutely huge impression – neither did. Living Social has more national deals while Groupon has more electronics. I was hoping for some amazing national retailer deals – LS does note that more deals are coming for Cyber Monday.
Here’s an interesting offer that Amazon is making on some products for Amazon Prime members. If you aren’t in a rush to get your product, Amazon will give you a $1 coupon to use in their MP3 store instead of the free two-day shipping that comes with an Amazon Prime membership. The items will be delivered in 5-7 days which is the standard shipping option generally offered on an Amazon product.
It looks like this trade offer is only available in the U.S. and the coupons for the MP3 songs must be used by the end of January so I assume this offer will be available until the end of the year. You can read the full terms here.
My guess is that the products that will offer this shipping-for-mp3 trade will be those where Amazon has to use the real 2-day Fedex/UPS shipping rather than the ground shipping they use for a lot of their 2-day deliveries. For example, I ordered an ink cartridge for my Canon printer with 2-day shipping. The ink showed up in 2 days but was shipped from a very close location so Amazon was able to effectively ship it overnight to me (they shipped it after the first day) using the UPS Ground delivery method.
Someone on one of the deal boards said, “sell people Amazon Prime and then pay them not to use it.”
In all my years of online shopping around the Black Friday-to-Cyber Monday weekend, I’ve never seen Amazon so aggressive in their pricing. First Amazon drops the price on the new 4th generation Pod Touch to less than $200 (it’s at $200 now). I have to believe Amazon is eating a lot of the discounts since Apple rarely provides such heavy discounts from their base retail pricing.
Now I’ve found the brand new 11.6″ Macbook Air for $899 on Amazon. This is $100 less on the base price of the Macbook Air at the Apple Store. If you add in a typical 8% tax rate (sorry NY’ers!), the total savings is $172 by buying today at Amazon versus buying at the Apple Store.
Most of the reviews I’ve read suggest that the 13″ Macbook Air is the way to go because it has an extra USB port. Yesterday I was doing some Macbook Air research and noticed that the device has no Ethernet port (an extra $29 gets you a USB dongle) and you will also need to spend $29 extra for the Displayport-to-VGA adapter if you plan to hook up the Macbook Air to a projector for presentations.
My suggestion is to head to your local Apple Store and play with both the 11.6″ and 13″ versions of the Macbook Air to make sure which one you will be comfortable so you don’t have to deal with returning an open laptop.
Tomorrow in the U.S. is the special online-only holiday of Cyber Monday. I just left my finger workout class at the local gym to get ready for all of the exciting and quick moving deals that will be available. If you are new to Cyber Monday or are looking for information on how to find the best deals, I’ve shared a bunch of tips and techniques on my InformationWeek column.
Some online retailers have started their Cyber Monday sales early so if you are waiting until tomorrow to start searching, you might try searching tonight.
On Friday we reported that office supply retailer Staples was having issues with their website and ordering during their Black Friday sales. Today’s issue is even more fun than if the Staples website was down.
Staples posted their Cyber Monday deals a day early — one of the deals is for $25 in free Sharpie markers and pens. The purchase should be simple…add $25 in Sharpie products to your shopping cart, apply the coupon code 96140 and bingo — $25 in free Sharpie products. The deal was to begin at 6am this morning. The deal hunters lined up in massive lines with their products chosen just waiting for 6am. When 6am came, the code was not working. In fact, as of 5pm Eastern, the code is still not working.
The coupon issue sent the deal forums into mass panic. SlickDeals shows over 115 pages of replies related to this deal and over 155k topic views. Other deal forums show hundreds of reviews and tens of thousands of pageviews. So while Staples gets some egg on their face, the deal forums make out well in ad views. I guess we can say that for today, Staples was the Digg for the deal forums.
Big kudos to the customer service team at Staples – so far I haven’t read one complaint with how the coupon issue was handled. I sure hope that Staples management provides a bonus for the entire call center. At one point there were over 2,000 people on hold. The greeting on the phone line tells customers to call back later if they are looking for the Sharpies coupon and it will be validated later in the week.
Many of us are wondering why they didn’t just fix the coupon code so it worked. I grabbed a bunch of markers and pens – I wonder how long they last before they dry out.
Online deal hunters are a bit upset that the online website for office supply store Staples is down and not functioning on the busiest shopping day of the year. Staples is my favorite store in the world and I was hoping to score a Logitech illuminated keyboard which was supposed to be reduced from $80 to $30.
There’s no doubt the Staples website is getting hammered with people looking for deals ranging from computers to printers to even the most basic paper clip.
The site is providing the following error message:
An error occurred while processing your request.
For now, eat your breakfast and get your credit cards ready to shop, shop, shop.
Update 7AM Eastern: Staples is back – that was easy!