How to find screaming deals using technology

How to find screaming deals using technology

How to find screaming deals using technology

WARNING! This isn’t going to be your typical Lifetime365 blog post. It’s going to be a bit more technical, and a lot more geeky, but don’t let that scare you off. I’ll try and walk you through it.

To start things off, you should know that I’m a computer geek, I’ll admit it. What I’m going to tell you now is something that us geeks have known about for a long, long time, but something that you “normal” people probably don’t know about – and even if you do, you’re probably not using it this way.

What is this “secret technology” of which I speak? It’s called RSS feeds. RSS is an acronym. I’d tell you what it stands for but people have been arguing over that since it first came out. Then “ATOM feeds” came along. All of this ties in with “RDF” and the “semantic web”. I’m not going to go into that much detail, just know that when someone talks about RSS, ATOM, or RDF, they’re probably talking about the same thing. These are different formats of XML data feeds – or “feeds” for short.

Still with me?

What exactly are feeds? Feeds are basically all the information or data on a web page without all the design, and you don’t even have to view them in your web browser.

Here’s where things get cool – and can help you save a ton of money.

Let’s say you really like the stuff that we sell on BuyLifetime.com and you’re always looking for a deal, so once a week you check out our Clearance Items. That’s a great way to get a killer deal on some primo Lifetime products! But, sometimes we only post a few of any given item up there, and by the time you check the item you want may be sold out. Ah! That’s where feeds come in!

Instead of visiting the BuyLifetime.com Clearance Items page every week (or every day), you can subscribe to the Clearance Items Feed (no, feed subscriptions don’t cost money like magazine subscriptions do).

Once you’ve subscribed to our feed (I’ll get to how exactly you do that in just a minute) every time we add a new item your feed reader (or “aggregator”) will notify you. Yes, you read that correctly: when we add something new, our feed will notify you!

If that wasn’t cool enough, we’re not the only ones doing it! That’s right, if you’re also interested in some other type of product that we don’t sell (fishing gear, for example), all you’ve got to do is find your favorite fishing gear clearance items site, and subscribe to that feed. Then any time any of your favorite sites add a new clearance item, you’ll know – and without having to visit a dozen separate website. Talk about a time-saver!

Of course, you can also get sports feeds, news feeds, photo feeds, and other kinds of feeds, too. But we’re talking about clearance items. :)

So, how do you subscribe to a feed? Go to the page that you’re looking for in your web browser (Internet Explorer 7+, Firefox, Opera, or Safari) and look in the address bar. Do you see a little, orange and white “feed flair” icon? If you do, click on it to see what feeds are available for that page. There might be more than one feed, and/or more than one format, don’t be confused, click on the one that looks like it’s what you’re looking for (when in doubt choose RSS 2.0).

Here’s what it looks like on BuyLifetime.com:

image

Give it a try, let me know how it works for you!

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Joe

Joe

Name: Joe

Position at Lifetime Products: Web Developer. What does that mean? I work with the rest of the web team to put great designs into industry standard HTML5, CSS3, ASP.NET MVC, and use other techno-jargon stuff to help our customers find what they're looking for, learn about our products, and have a fun time doing it.

Social Networks: 

How long at Lifetime Products: Since November 2005

Background: You’ve always wanted to know who on earth Joe is, and even if you haven't we're going to tell you anyway! He was born in Weber County, Utah, USA. He is a descendant of Paiute (Native American) heritage and is a member of the Kanosh (Utah) Band. He is a member of various community, church, and civic organizations, and is actively involved with local, state, and national government. He is concerned with customer service and is striving to educate businesses concerning proper “consumer etiquette”. Joe is a Thawte Web of Trust Notary and is involved with seamless Digital Signatures utilizing Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and similar technologies. He is a husband and father. He rides his recumbent bicycle to work every day. He enjoys gardening, houseplants, mobile computing, camping, authoring web sites, working in the yard, and spending time with his family. How does he do it all? We really don’t have the foggiest. Some have suspected he’s discovered the secrets of cold fusion, while others think he may be an android. We may never know for certain.

My favorite Lifetime Products: Lifetime Yard cart, outdoor sheds, camp tables, and picnic tables

Read all posts by Joe

Comments

Jan

7/22/2009 3:26:54 PM

Cool, Joe!  I kind of forgot you could actually subscribe to just one specific page of a website...like just a clearance sale page.  (Oh dear, do you have any idea what you've done to my online shopping habit now?!?)  I guess if I thought about it, I knew that it was possible, but it hadn't really sunk in until you mentioned it.  

What a great "dummy" explanation...you should write a book because your description made much more sense than half the books that try to explain RSS feeds! Thanks for the tip!

Reply

joe

joe

7/22/2009 4:18:39 PM

Of course, not every site has an RSS feed, and if they do, they may not have an RSS feed for each category like BuyLifetime.com does...

BUT, more and more companies are seeing the light and publishing their data in RSS format.

Lifetime Products has an RSS feed for current job openings, press releases, legal happenings, safety/recall notices, and Tips and Solutions articles. The Lifetime365 blog even has an RSS feed.

I just touched the surface with what can be done with RSS. There are so many readers, aggregators, applications, widgets, and websites that use RSS feeds for various purposes.

Once someone has a collection of RSS feeds they can export an OPML file (a collection of pointers to RSS feeds) and share it with their friends.

I'm glad you enjoyed the article! Let me know how it works out for you... and I'd be interested in what you've got in your OPML in a month or so... :)

- joe, Lifetime Products

PS: you can follow me on Twitter (and subscribe to my Twitter Feed, too): http://Twitter.com/LifetimeJoe

Reply

Jan

7/26/2009 5:51:12 PM

BTW, which feed reader do you prefer?

Reply

joe

joe

7/27/2009 9:46:15 AM

Jan,

I'm a geek, so my answer can't be simple and straight forward... ;)

I use Microsoft Outlook at work for my email and calendar, and I use it read the majority of my RSS feeds.

At home I am running Windows Vista (and Windows 7) and I use Internet Explorer to subscribe to feeds, which I then "read" in a sidebar widget that scrolls through all the feeds that I subscribe to.

I also use Google Reader so that when I'm reading my Gmail it scrolls though current feeds there as well.

I just replaced my Windows Mobile phone with a Google Android, and I am still looking for a good (and elegant) mobile RSS reader for it (anyone out there have recommendations?).

- joe, Lifetime Products

Reply

joe

joe

7/28/2009 2:48:34 PM

I've got some crow to eat. I just got done telling all you readers out in the innerwebs how cool RSS was, and all the while the RSS feed for Lifetime365 hasn't been updating for a month! YIKES!

Easy fix, I went ahead and threw a lever and the RSS cogs are turning once again.

- joe, Lifetime Products

Reply






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