Sporadic Sequential
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Sneaky Shopping Tips

Not sure how long this has been out there or how long it'll last, but right now Buy.com is offering new Google Checkout users $10 off $10. You read that right: $10 off $10. So you can basically order something and get it for free if you use Google Checkout. (You'd have to pay for shipping, but if you order at least $25 worth of stuff, shipping is free, too.) "But wait," I hear you saying, "I've already used Google Checkout before, so I can't get the discount!" Well, you can't with that account, but Gmail users can get around this by sending Gmail invites to themselves (even at their current Gmail address) and creating a new Google account. Apparently Google doesn't check to see if the email address is already associated with a Google account when the invites come via Gmail. (If you just tried creating a new Google account from scratch using an email address already associated with an existing Google account, it would flag the error.)

This feels a bit dishonest, but I couldn't find anything in Gmail's terms of service or program policies expressly or indirectly forbidding this activity. Right now it just looks like a hole Google didn't think of plugging, so if it doesn't violate your personal principles, I'd say take advantage of the glitch to stock up on some comics while you can. It's a great way to treat yourself to books that felt too indulgent to buy otherwise, especially considering Buy.com's already great discounts. For example, they have The Art of Bone for $23.97, the cheapest I've been able to find it anywhere. Add something small and you just got yourself The Art of Bone for only $13.97 with free shipping!! (And if anyone from Google is reading this, I was just, uh, performing some creative negative testing for you, so let's just consider all those additional $10 off discounts my consulting fee and call it even, OK?)

EDITED TO ADD some tips I forgot to mention last night:
  • Use a form-filling utility like Roboform or Google Toolbar to speed up the process of signing up for Google Checkout accounts.
  • Set up your new Gmail account(s) to forward emails to your old Gmail address so you only have to log in to one account to see all your order updates.
  • If you're only using the new Google account to get the $10 coupon, don't take a good account name that someone else might actually want to use; give it some dummy name like "buy.com000001".
At these prices, I'm tempted to buy stuff I thought I was immune to, like Absolute DC: The New Frontier for only $32.53 with free shipping.

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