Monday, December 04, 2006

giveline

Giveline is an online retailer, similar to Amazon, except that giveline donates an average of 16% of its revenue to a charity of your choice.

Before recommending giveline, I wanted to try it out for myself, so I used the service to purchase Mountains Beyond Mountains for a friend, which I was already planning to purchase anyway.

List Price: $14.95
Amazon Price: $10.17 + $3.99 shipping = $14.16 total
Giveline Price: $11.21 + $3.98 shipping - 10% discount for code "give44" = $14.07

So, without the 10% discount, Amazon is cheaper, but with the 10% discount giveline is cheaper. (Note: at least as of 3 Dec 2006, giveline did not offer free shipping for orders over $25, but Amazon did).

Amounts that giveline gives to charity are misleading, in my opinion, because when you select a book, a noticeable yellow box at the bottom of the screen reads "Your charity will receive up to $4.93 when you purchase this item." The reality is, if you're willing to pay list price for the book, giveline will donate $4.93. However, assuming you want a more competitive price for your book (in this case, $11.21 + shipping - discount), your charity only receives $1.19.

I ordered the book the evening of W 11/29/06, and it arrived M 12/4/06 (three business days later) in excellent packaging and in perfect shape.

So in this case, I paid 9 cents less than Amazon, my favorite charity (Room to Read) got $1.19 as a result of the purchase, and the book arrived quickly and in perfect condition. It was a great purchase.

However, giveline is not always cheaper, especially for orders greater than $25, and the order interface is not as slick as Amazon's. For example, I couldn't figure out how to add a gift message, and I almost accidentally sent the book to myself rather than my friend, since the interface did not seem as user-friendly and as obvious as Amazon's.

I'll still continue to shop for price, and when giveline's price is competitive with other alternatives, I will give them my business since they'll donate a portion of the proceeds to my favorite charity.

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