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- This Week's Free Computer Tip -

104 - Using the Internet to Comparison Shop

As we enter the holiday shopping season, I thought I would bring to your attention one of the better services offered via the Internet. Whether you actually make purchases over the net, or not, I highly recommend doing your buying research and comparison shopping on the net. If you are concerned about giving your credit card information over the net, please know that research and comparison shopping can be done without ever having to provide credit card information. It is only if you decide to actually make a purchase on-line, that you would give your credit card information.

Here are two Internet sites which fill the bill. These sites are easy enough to just jump in and try them on your own. If you want to read how I went about testing them, feel free to read the two brief reviews I've included below. The sites are:



Have concerns about on-line purchasing? Read this:

It has been my personal experience that buying over the Internet is safe, inexpensive, and very convenient. However, I do do my homework about the vendors I deal with and I shy away from vendors with poor reputations. These shopping sites include customer feedback which allows me to make an informed decision.

Trying a site is very easy. First, think of a product you are somewhat familiar with. For my testing, I chose Viewsonic brand flat-panel monitors in the 15' to 17" sizes. Just go to the site's home page and and look up the product you are interested in. A few minutes reading can save you substantial time and money. Hope you find this helpful for your holiday shopping!

Review of 2 recommended sites:

Site #1 - www.bizrate.com

At first, I thought this site would be my second choice, but I have since decided that each site has its own advantages. Either will do an excellent job of telling you what you need to know. Here's my review:

Using a Viewsonic brand of flat-panel computer monitor as my example, I first clicked on the tab for "Computer Hardware". On the left side of the next screen, I located and clicked on "Monitors". Here's where my initial preference for site #2's format started to develop. The next screen had choices down the left side of the web page. These included being able to specify the brand under one heading and the screen size under another. However, I could not specify both at the same time. This means that, as a buyer, I had to look through a larger selection of items to find the specific ones I wanted to compare. Having said that, I found all the other features of this site easy to use and well organized in their presentation. Once the product was looked up, there were reviews of the product, lists of the stores selling the product, and reviews of the stores. Search results could be sorted by price, store name, customer support reputation, amongst other choices. There were many more reviews than I would ever want to read so the summary of the reviews proved very helpful. This is an excellent site overall.

Site #2 - www.dealtime.com

As I mentioned above, each of these sites has its advantages. Again using the Viewsonic brand of flat-panel computer monitor as my example, I began by clicking on the "Computers" tab. I next clicked on "Monitors" to begin the narrowing process. Here is where I found my preference for this site. The left side of the next screen contained a section labeled "Refine your results". Here, I was able to enter a combination of search parameters. By choosing from lists of parameters which they provided, I selected the brand of monitor, screen size, price range I wanted, and the type of screen. Since they provided the lists of choices, there was no doubt about whether I had entered them correctly or not. Up came a relatively short list of 24 monitors, showing the stores selling them. I could sort the search results by price, store name, etc., and there were links to all the related information such as product reviews and buyer recommendations about doing business with a particular vendor. Bizrate seemed faster between screens but the information from both sites was very useful and just what I needed to make an informed decision.

Happy shopping!

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