How's your holiday shopping going? Spending more than you like? Here are a couple of mobile web sites to help you find the best deals.
CheapenGadget (cheapengadget.com) is a new site from MechaWorks, publisher of PhoneNews.com. It's a blog style "Deal" site that's updated several times a day with the best deals on consumer electronics, computers, mobile phones and accessories both on the web and in stores.
Christopher Price and his team at MechaWorks did a great job of leaking the Black Friday ads of the major retailers days and even weeks ahead of time, now they are doing the same thing for CyberMonday which is tomorrow.
The mobile version of CheapenGadget uses the same template as PhoneNews. It does a decent job of making the site easier to use with most phone browsers. The front page has summaries of the last 20 posts, a search box and a list of categories. It's 30 KB of text, which is too large to load on some feature phones and takes a lot of scrolling to get to the bottom. Cutting the number of posts per page in half would make the site easier to use and compatible with more phones. Individual posts are smaller but watch out for the links to the source of each deal. They go directly to sites like BestBuy.com, most of which are not mobile friendly.
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Mobile Link: cheapengadget.com
GottaDeal (gottadeal.mobi) is the new mobile edition of GottaDeal.com, a five year old online deal and coupon site. It's similar in concept to CheapenGadget but covers deals on pretty much anything rather than focusing on electronics and gadgets. The mobile version has three tabs:
- Deals, which has headline links to the most recent deals posted on the full site, 20 to a page. The links lead to a mobile formatted detail page describing the deal. Although there are the same number of deals per page as CheapenGadget, the listings are just links and the total page weight is a mobile friendly 9 KB. Like, Cheapengadget, links to source of each deal tend to point to non mobile pages.
- Coupons, a huge single page list of over 100 coupons offering discounts on online merchandise.
- Forum which links to GottaDeal's very active (over a million posts) vBulletin user forum where members discuss the merits of deals, post tips on using products and suggest alternative sources for bargains.
GottaDeal.com is a useful site, but the mobile edition is less so. It could be much better with a few simple changes:
- The Coupons page is huge, 118 KB. You will need a full-web or smartphone browser to even open it. It needs to be paginated like the Deals page.
- Gottadeal.com on the full web has topic areas like Shoes, Jewelry and Cell phones plus a search box to help you find what you are looking for. The .mobi has none of these, it's just a list of deals and coupons sorted by date added. It's fun to browse for a few minutes but good luck finding anything specific. Navigational aids like search and categories are even more important on the mobile web because scrolling and browsing much slower on a phone than a PC.
- The forum works pretty well in mobile format although some pages are a little on the large side. A bigger issue is that once you drill down into the discussions there is no way to get back to the deals and coupons pages except by pressing "Back" multiple times. The forum pages need links to the other parts of the site for easy navigation.
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Mobile Link: gotadeal.mobi
For more sites like these visit the Shopping Category of the WapReview Mobile Web Directory which has 27 more mobile shopping sites including Amazon, Ebay, PriceGrabber, Yahoo Shopping and Overstock.com.