This week’s review is about TechBargains.com, which is one of the top ten deal websites in Yan’s popular website series. I should here note that, except for AnandTech which is a not really a dedicated deal website, every other website above TechBargains.com has been reviewed in the past.
Here is my first impression on visiting the home page, lots and lots of information in a single page. But there is a limit to it and this is too lot, to call it overloaded/cluttered. Doing a print preview (A4) on Firefox shows that there are 20 pages of content, which is about 11,500 words! Wow, that is just too much for any homepage. Added to this are the advertisements (banners, block of Google text ads) etc.
The homepage has a 3 column layout with the left side listing pretty much all the popular items in most categories while the right side is a listing of coupons for most of the websites they deal with. The center column lists deals for the past 2 days (no pagination) followed by two blocks titled “More News” and “Non-tech News” and which are nothing but again deals. A quick reading of the FAQ shows that they refer the deals as bargain news.
On continuing to read the FAQ, it shows that this website aspired to be a website like AnandTech (guide people on making decisions on tech products and additionally help in buying them) but then a visit to Product Reviews section of the forum shows that, this aspect of the website just does not make any appeal.
Before seeing the actual main content, we will see the items in the top menu of the homepage. The menu item “Coupons” takes to a page with all the coupons in a single page (no pagination) followed by a list of all the vendors who have a coupon. Interesting that Calvin Klein Underwear, ProFlowers and Yahoo Personals are listed on this “Tech” Bargains website. I should here tell that several deal websites have this habit of just listing every online vendor out there.
Next item in the menu is “Deal Request”, this page already warns- “don’t expect us to really respond, but will try to steer towards the deal you wanted, in the future”. To me this is translates as “You idiot, submit your request. I have no time to work on finding a deal for you nor do I have time to reply to you. However, as a coincidence, if there is a deal which comes up in our website, which remotely matches the deal you wanted, just think that this deal was made just for you and feel happy and don’t forget to buy it through my website and make me also happy.”
Next item on the menu is “Rebates”. The top of this page has featured rebates in a table with one column titled “Price without rebate”. It is interesting that all these products cost 0.00 without a rebate. Wow! The comments column is also interesting, which just says “Various”. After this “Featured Rebates” is “Recently expired and Expiring Soon Rebates” – why should they list the recently expired rebates.
Next item on the menu is “Vendor Info”, this page lists 346 vendors! There is this useful feature which lets you shortlist vendors who charge no sales tax in your state, as well as vendors with free shipping/international shipping. The tax free listing, just omits vendors from your state. Quickly seeing the list, I saw that Target was listed as tax free for me, just because they have Target listed from Minnesota (Target’s headquarters). These “Tech” wizards need to know that internet taxing is not based on just where you headquarters is but based on states you operate.
Final item on the menu is “Low Price Search” which is just a PriceGrabber page with the look of TechBargains.
Finally down to the main content in the home page, deals are listed with the newest deals on top. Each deal includes an image, small description, with a link to search pricegrabber for the lowest price, email the deal, find similar deals, find more deals from the same vendor and see for historical deals of that product. Now I randomly check 10 different deals on the home page. All 10 were just perfect, again this is one other website with just no great look/features but just solid deals listed.
A quick trip to the forums shows that it is pretty active and is just like any other deal website forum, heavily moderated to cut out spam and self promotions. Have a lot of deals listed and one big good thing, does not duplicate items listed in the home page (some websites duplicate pretty much every deal).
Overall, content wise good, but pretty weak when it comes to usability, look and cool features.