A comparison shopping website takes root as one of the premier sites online. Once a pioneer in providing information on various products, Consumer Reports is now facing competition from various sites, with ShoppingBlog being the main one.
By Pamela Mortimer
Consumer Reports is legendary for supplying consumers with valuable information on a wide variety of products. The reports are based on a great deal of data collected over a period of many years, yet somehow manage to remain current in the trendier areas. Now, a consumer website has taken a different approach to the same type of information.
ShoppingBlog.com is a comparison shopping website as well. Like Consumer Reports, the site offers information on a wide variety of products and services, some of which have never been included in Consumer Reports, like pet products, jewelry, and photographers. Unlike Consumer Reports, however, the site is not unbiased. While CR is famous for completely objective data, not even taking ad money to promote a product regardless of its worth, ShoppingBlog is completely the opposite in that it has tons of ads, promoting all types of products. The ads are the only certain way in which a product will be guaranteed a spot by one of the bloggers. Otherwise, all products and services are critiqued on the whim of the blogger―good or bad.
The benefit of blogging is that anyone can do it. Certainly, there are products on the market that you cannot live without. Likewise, there are items that weren’t worth the gas it took to drive to the mall. Learn from the experience of others before you go out to pick up the latest ‘must-have gadget’.
In addition to providing information on the latest trends, ShoppingBlog also offers tips and hints on just about everything from shopping on eBay to curing a Halloween hangover (from too much candy) to choosing cosmetics at a drugstore. In other words, if you need to know how to do something, this is a good place to look. There are other features as well, such as celebrity dish, classified ads, real estate information, and environmental news and product lines.
The downside to the site is that I can spend hours looking at ‘stuff’. I’m a curious one, so that’s not really a surprise. So far, I’ve found some cool products, such as the gadget that works like modern-day bread crumbs and can help you find your way to any recorded location within 1,000 miles. Yes, this does include helping you find your car in a parking lot. (Don’t laugh. One day I spent at least 20 minutes walking through a mall parking lot, completely humiliated.) I’m fascinated by the most ‘walkable’ cities in the U.S., and have put some of them on my mental list.
However, some things are straight out of ‘Ripley’s Believe it or Not’, such as the solar powered bra. No, really. It even carries water in pouches to eliminate those pesky plastic bottles.
I think perhaps my favorite section is the ‘Unusual Auctions’ category. Nearly anything will sell on eBay, and these blogs prove it. One woman sold a mastodon that was hidden in the family garage, someone in Colorado actually auctioned off snow, and there were bids up to $3 million to purchase the window from which Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot JFK. The last auction fell through when the bidder couldn’t come up with the cash.
Last but not least, it is a well-organized archive where browsers can go to get the scoop on just about everything. What are you waiting for?