I’m not averse to a gadget, so the boysstuff.co.uk proposition had
instant appeal. What’s more, the section on personal transport promised
the gadget I’d most been hankering after. I need one of those scooter
things like now.
Cashing in on the whole new lad thing, this site targets all us sad
chaps who have nothing better to do with our dotcom millions than invest
in the latest widgets and gizmos. Or to quote the about-us: ’Boysstuff
is a completely unique concept in offline and online shopping. Our
promise is to offer you the finest independently tested and recommended
big boys’ toys at lower than high-street prices.’
Fine as far as it goes, but the combination of the boo.com-style Flash
graphics and the slightly Innovations-catalogue nature of the
merchandise left me a bit cold. It had that old feeling of being stuck
in yet another get-rich-quick.com fantasy, which might not exist next
year, next month or next week. The really sad part is that I just
couldn’t bring myself to part with dollars 499 for ’The original
California Sports Go-Ped’ scooter that I really need badly, and I guess
that’s the true test of any shopping site.
Now if you’re looking for a really fun way to blow your dotcom dollars
then I recommend treating yourself to death using zagat.com.
Zagat Online is a must-surf for any discerning digerati and the site is
one I actually use in my own time. A real test. It is basically an
excellent guide to the great places to eat and drink around the
In the past few months, I have used it in Boston, New York, Venice and
Paris and I haven’t had one experience that has given me pause to
question the veracity of the guide’s information.
The guides, for those unfamiliar, are an idea really made for the
Rather than rely on reviews by a jaded journalist on yet another
freebie, the reviews and ratings come from an aggregation of comments
from real punters spending their own hard-earned cash.
These guys have been organising this kind of what we internet people
call ’community content’ in print for years, and therefore understand
about creating content from a vast selection of user comments. They do
it really well - mostly by good writers reading the stuff and
summarising the comments in a way that is accessible and enjoyable to
read, rather than a long list of posts that takes ages to wade
If Zagat is supremely useful then hangerhouse.com lies at the other end
of the spectrum. This is a great example of what our creative director
has termed ’Flashtabation’. This site for the eponymous architectural
practice has all the classic symptoms: beautiful design and animations
executed in such a way that it renders the content completely
impenetrable and void of meaning. I still have no idea what it was
about, but as five minutes of eye-candy it was really cool. Bound to win
Flash site of the day.
If it’s house and home you’re after, try foxtons.co.uk. This site proves
that good branding and good functionality can go hand-in-hand. I found
it recently while looking for a flat and it really stood out in the drab
wasteland of other estate agent sites, so much so that it was the only
site I actually checked into regularly while in the market.
It has a nice front end, a really simple and clean interface and good
search functionality, with photographs of the properties as the rule
rather than the exception, maps for every property and even the odd
virtual-reality walk-through. Someone really cares about this site and
So the dotcom booty spent, the restaurant booked, the flat purchased and
my new scooter at the ready, the only problem is now I’m too hooked on
the unfolding drama at onlinecaroline.com to leave my computer.
I found Caroline via a company called XPT, whose promise is ’Total
Fulfilment Assured’. XPT has established a webcam in Caroline’s rather
well-appointed front room so that now I can tune in and see how she, her
boyfriend David and her so-called friend Simon are getting on. Caroline
sends me e-mails regularly and we are getting to know each other quite
well. I have even used it3c.co.uk to send Caroline a gift, but it hasn’t
arrived yet. Tune in and find out.
Tim Carrigan is the managing partner of OgilvyInteractive.