I was somewhat surprised when I received an email from ReviewMe last week with a review request from Computer Shopper, the computer magazine. Yes, the very same one that in 90’s was as thick as the Bible and featured prices on computer products from hundreds of merchants. It has significantly gone down in volume ever since (100 pages in May edition) but still remains a very well recognizable name among computer enthusiasts in the US.
A little bit of history. The magazine started in 1979 in Florida and was the first nationwide classified advertising newsletter devoted entirely to the computer hobby. Think of it as the pre-Internet price comparison tool for mail order computer merchandise. Stan Veit who became the Editor-in-Chief in 80’s has added more meat to the product price tables and turned the magazine into a successful publication that would rival TV Guide for newsstand circulation. The Shopper changed several owners in the following years and is currently run by SX2 Media Labs, a VC-funded startup.
The growth of the Web is probably the main factor that contributed to the magazine decline, and judging by this ReviewMe request, the new owners recognize it by betting on the online version, which I personally prefer over the paper one. So why would you want to read the magazine now, and what does it offer for the bargain hunter type of crowd?
Besides the daily computer and periphery reviews, which is the magazine’s main strength, there is a rubric called ShopTalk which features daily news bits for gadget junkies with money. I especially like the DealHunter page where the editors post daily picks for budget oriented consumers. Another interesting place to visit on Computer Shopper is the downloads page which is one of the largest available portals for free software downloads on the Web.
The email I received with this review request also mentions the recently launched Deals and Coupons section for computer products. After examining it I do not recommend you spending your time on it. Not only it is hard to navigate, it also doesn’t seem to offer anything else but a product feed from affiliated merchants, some of which can barely be called deals.
My overall impression from the website is not very positive, mostly because of the overwhelming amount of display ads. Being a shopping magazine it can and must have less ads to remain a growing online business. Do you subscribe to Computer Shopper? Have you been to their website recently? Please tell me about your own impression in the comments.
This is post is sponsored by Computer Shopper via ReviewMe