The internet has truly revolutionized comparison shopping. Thinking back just a few years, I find it hard to believe that we ever made truly informed buying decisions. But now that you have the world at your fingertips, it’s important to sort through all of the noise. To that end, I though I’d share some of my favorite online consumer-related resources.
- PriceGrabber.com — This is one of the best known price comparison sites on the web, and one that I use quite heavily.
- Google Product Search — This is Google’s price comparison engine. While is can be useful, it can take a good bit of patience to wade through the results and/or fine-tune your search parameters.
- PriceProtectr.com — This is a great (free!) tool for taking advantage of price protection guarantees at 124 different merchants. Simply paste in the product url and they’ll notify of you price drops.
- Amazon.com — More often than not, Amazon.com is my first stop when looking for random product reviews. Lots of useful insight to be had on books, movies, toys, electronics, and more.
- TripAdvisor.com — If you want to avoid blindly booking a skanky hotel room in a bad neighborhood, then TripAdvisor is for you. In fact, I just used it last night to plan a (relatively) last minute trip to the beach.
- TireRack.com — If you’re looking for tires, you can’t beat TireRack as an excellent source of user reviews. We just used it to find a great (so far) set of new tires for our Honda Odyssey.
- IGN.com — While I also use Amazon.com for this sort of thing, my “go to” site for detailed video game reviews and ratings is IGN.com.
- Steve’s Digicams — I started using this site back in 1999 and haven’t stopped since. It’s a great site with tons of detailed reviews.
- IMDB.com — I’m a huge fan of the Internet Movie Database. Beyond being a great source for movie reviews, it’s also a fantastic resource for looking up movie-related trivia. And they even have a TV section.
- ConsumerReports.org — For appliances and such, we still rely fairly heavily on Consumer Reports. The beauty of an online subscription is that it gives you access to their fully searchable archives.
- BBB.org — Before hiring a contractor or other major service provider, we always check them out with our local Better Business Bureau. This is also a great tool for disputes — if you get the shaft, file a complaint.
- ResellerRatings.com — If you run into a great price at a reseller that you haven’t heard of, check them out and see what others think of them. Note that a number of price shopping sites also offer reseller ratings.