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3 surefire ways to save money when shopping online

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

I realize that the online holiday shopping season is drawing to a close, but I thought I would share these three money-saving tips that I discovered this year when shopping online. I hope that they will save you some cash. Oh, and if you have any other online shopping, money-saving tips, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks!

1. Group a lot of items into one order to take advantage of the free shipping deal. I hate paying shipping costs. Paying for shipping is actually the only reason that I do ANY of my shopping at the malls these days – I just can’t bear to pay $20 in shipping for my $20 item. A lot of sites offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount. (my favorite online retailer) offers free shipping for orders over $25. Crate and Barrel has free shipping on orders over $100. If you group a lot of items together and buy them all from one place, the shipping charges are erased.

Crate and Barrel free shipping

2. Comparison shop using awesome online tools. There are a number of shopping sites that will allow you to comparison shop if you know what you want, but not necessarily where you want to buy it. For example, I bought Chris (my husband) a Ray Allen Celtics t-shirt for Christmas. To find the best price, I used a number of sites to compare prices. I looked up Ray Allen t-shirt on Amazon, I checked out prices on Google Product Search (which used to be called Froogle), and BizRate, which is an online shopping comparison tool. This not only let me get a quick look at all the various styles of shirts, but it also let me find the price that fit my budget. (Don’t worry, I can write this with no fear of Chris seeing it because he doesn’t read my blog. If you know him, please feel free to give him a hard time about this fact when you see him next, as long as it’s after Christmas!)

Ray Allen Comparison shopping

3. Make sure you do a search to find coupons. I’m not a big coupon clipper. Don’t get me wrong, I love when I have a coupon. But it’s rare that I take the time to pour through ads to find a coupon for something I might be buying at some possible time in the future. I am, however, a huge user of online coupons.

I was turned onto the online coupon tactic through buying domain names. I always register my domain names through, and it has a perpetual coupon (code: OYH3) that lets me buy .com domain names for $2.50 off. Since my company owns almost 400 domain names, you can see why this cost-savings is appealing.

UPDATE: The “perpetual” coupon is no longer working! So try this one: OYH7. Although if this doesn’t work, make sure that you search Google for “GoDaddy coupons” before buying. (Hat tip: @longest)

This year, I tried out this tactic with online shopping. Online coupon hunting doesn’t have a 100% success rate – sometimes I could find a coupon, and sometimes I couldn’t. But if you do find a coupon that works, it will be worth the time you spent looking. There are many sites that are dedicated to online coupons (, CouponCabin and CoolSavings are just some of them). But I prefer to use Google and type in my search, such as “Coldwater Creek Coupon.” In that real-life example, I found a coupon that saved me 40% off my entire order, which was as good as $20 in my pocket.

Coldwater Creek Coupon code

Happy shopping!

How to get the domain name you want

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007


The basics of domain name registration are relatively straightforward. You contact a domain name registrar (my favorite is and you do a search to see if your domain name is GoDaddy logoavailable. If it is, you pay a small fee (anywhere from $8-$25, depending on the registrar), fill out a form and it’s done, you own the domain.

But things rarely go that simply. First of all, it’s difficult to find the domain that you want. There are currently millions of domain names that have already been registered, and there is a vibrant community of domain name speculators who are also bidding on domain names, so the pool of available names is shrinking. But there are some strategies that you can use to give yourself a better chance of getting the domain name you’re after.

If the domain name is available, buy it immediately
About a year ago, I found  a really good domain name in one of my searches, made a note about going back the next day to buy it, but when I went to make the purchase, I found out that it had already been registered and was now unavailable. This experience is not uncommon and it is happening because
someone is monitoring domain name searches. The way to avoid it is to do your brainstorming ahead of time and be prepared to buy when you find a name that is available. If you’re not sure if you want a domain name but you find out it is available, buy it anyway unless you are OK with losing it completely.

Set up an account with SnapNames so that you can bid on the domain name when it becomes available
SnapNames is a service that lets you “back order” a currently registered domain name. The idea behind this service is that when a domain name expires the expired domain name goes back on the market for anyone who wants it to buy. But, without a service like SnapNames, it would be difficult to monitor the domains SnapNames logothat you want, and depending on the demand for that domain, very difficult to get the domain at all. According to the SnapNames Web site, “about 25% of currently registered domain names–now an installed base of more than 100 million names worldwide–expire and delete each year.” This is a big pool of names that you will have access to by using this service or one like it.

Buy a domain name from a speculator or the current owner
Buying a high-price domain might not seem like an attractive option when you can buy a domain name for $8 from a registrar, but sometimes paying a little (or even a lot) more is worth the investment. There are many Web sites that offer domain names for sale at inflated prices – theoretically the price climbs the more valuable the domain. These sites include
GreatDomains or Afternic, where, for example, today you could purchase for $20,000 and where just sold for $10,100. These prices may seem high, but even one of the most notoriously expensive domain names – – which sold in late 1999 for $7.5 million, was bought in July 2007 by R.H. Donnelley Corp. for between $340 million and $360 million. The current purchase price includes the fully developed directory business, of course, but it does underscore the ability to build a huge business around a simple multi-million-dollar domain name.

Another option if you want to find out who owns a domain name is to do a WHOIS look up. Typically if there is any chance that you’ll be able to buy the domain from the owner, their contact information will be included in the record, and you can contact them directly and try to work out a deal.

~Today’s view: