Sunday, November 30, 2008


Hello shopping fans! Okay, so that headline is over the top and written with tongue firmly planted in-cheek. But we did come across some marketing advice this week from a LinkedIn connection, Gil Carson.

Copy Writing Secrets of the Masters

Gil's materials are pointed toward merchants, website owners and marketers, and seem to be proven-effective, based on his success. As shoppers, you should be aware of how websites and businesses market to you and use words and "copy" to seduce you or incite you to action. No judgment is meant by that, by the way... these are just techniques and are not "good" or "bad" in their own right (
"...for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so..." - Shakespeare). They can be used by the most ethical, trustworthy (and DreamWorthy) sellers - as Gil would suggest - or by the biggest hucksters on the planet. So as always, stay sharp and Caveat Emptor.

Caveat Emptor

Speaking of Caveat Emptor, here are a few watchdogs that may help make your online shopping experience safer, wiser and trouble free.

Consumer Reports

Like they need an introduction, Consumers Union (CU) is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. To maintain its independence and impartiality, CU accepts no outside advertising and no free samples and employs several hundred mystery shoppers and technical experts to buy and test the products it evaluates.

Better Business Bureau Online
Even less of an intro is needed in this case, but I'm surprised how few friends actually check businesses at the BBB. Here are some quick reminder links:
Check out a business or charity here
BBB Resource Library: Tips for Computer/Internet/Technology use is a consumer feedback website. Consumers share reviews about customer service and experiences, rating and reviewing the service they experience from businesses. The site is free and easy to use. You'll see positive, negative, and neutral reviews.
Epinions (a company, which is an
company). According to their site, they help "people make informed buying decisions. It is a premier consumer reviews platform on the Web and a reliable source for valuable consumer insight, unbiased advice, in-depth product evaluations and personalized recommendations."

Early Adopter Shopping
"is a user driven internet startups community. Entrepreneurs, investors, and bloggers are staying informed on up-and-coming internet startups using our blog platform, where internet entrepreneurs submit their startup to see what others think about it."

From their home page, scroll down and type 'shopping' into the search box on the right and voila'... you'll see some interesting new shopping-related sites.

Online Shopping Business Ventures

This is a topic for an entire blog, but here are some teasers for the week. Caveat Emptor applies here, too. We have reviewed these opportunities but are not involved with them and cannot personally vouch for their viability.

Shop to Earn/Shop to Earth This is an affiliate marketing 'get paid to shop' Website that is also a MLM/network marketing business opportunity.

  • Company tour and opportunity explanation
  • Official Company Blog
  • We have two LinkedIn connections (that we know of) who are working the business.
  • Rae's site is here and Jill's site is here.


"How would you like to be rewarded for every purchase you make online? At Market America, we do just that! ma Rewards™ is the program that gives back by rewarding you for the purchases you make online at"
  • That's the pitch from marketamerica, which posts a sharp-looking affiliate site for members.
  • ma also provides a business opportunity for those who want to pursue the MLM/network Marketing lifestyle.
  • Another LinkedIn contact of ours, Kim Hyson, has a site and speaks highly of the program.
  • A quick search for 'handbag' reveals a stunning 904 options in a surprisingly wide price range, including some Jimmy Choo handbags. Hmm. If you've been wondering what to get us for Christmas...

Ebates is another pre-arranged affiliate marketing site, with a ton of merchants involved. Like the others, Ebates allows you to earn cash-back rebates just for shopping online at their 1,000 or so stores. Here's a detailed review on by a trusted Ebates reviewer (for clarity, the reviewer is unknown to us, but voted as trustworthy by the Ebates community).

"mission is to provide you with an easy and convenient way to save money when you shop online. For every qualifying purchase you make from any of our participating stores, you will earn cash back. Recommend a friend to CostCritter and you can earn even more."

Rebate Shopping with a Caring Twist is the brainchild of another LinkedIn connection, Kevin Lee of At we-care, they say it's
"better way of shopping. You shop as you normally do, at your favorite online merchants, but by adding an extra click through or using their plug-in, you can donate a percentage of your purchase to the nonprofit, school, or association of your choice."

MyPowerMall - with this one, 6% of all corporate profits go into the One-Child-At-A-Time program, helping needy children all over the country.

Tips for Shopping Online Safely

Microsoft Corporation tips:

ArticleBase articles:

Quick Holiday Shopping News Updates:
Give a Gift of Meaning This Season For a Good Reason

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

Sponsorship transforms the lives of children around the world. You can help provide things like clean water, education, nutrition, and medical care for a child in need.

Ways To Give
And with that good deed done, we'll wrap up our Shop Talk for the week. Thanks for reading, and as always, happy shopping!

Until next time,

Your friends and Shopping Advisors at
DreamWorthy Gifts.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gift Ideas, Free Stuff and Shopping Trends

Hello shoppers! Here are our DreamWorthy thoughts for the week and a little Shop Talk. Take a peek, and if you feel so inclined, please write and let us know what you think.

Even Santa Needs Help Now & Then
Hey, we all know that Santa and his little elves get pretty busy this time of year, and even the best need help. Here's a company, Package From Santa, that will help Santa write letters to your little lovelies. I wish I had seen this one sooner, since orders need to be in before 11/27, but here's the info:

There are 3 packages, Basic, Standard and Deluxe. The Deluxe includes a letter from Santa, a 'Nice List' certificate, another letter from Rudolph himself, a 8x10 glossy of the big guy, reindeer food in a nice tin, a CD of Santa telling a story (there's an audio sample on the site), and a limited edition swatch of Santa's suit itself (while supplies last). They offer a 60-day money back guarantee, but it includes sending the goodies back, of course. Again, order before 11/27. Other quickie details:

Basic - $12.99 + $1.99 shipping
  • Personalized Letter From Santa Claus
  • Shipped in Shiny Green Envelope
Standard - $27.99 with free shipping
  • Personalized Letter From Santa Claus
  • Custom Letter from Rudolph
  • Official Personalized Nice Certificate
  • Autographed 8X11 Santa Claus Photo
  • Shipped in Shiny Gold Envelope
Deluxe - $59.99 with free shipping
  • Personalized Letter From Santa Claus
  • Custom Letter from Rudolph
  • Official Personalized Nice Certificate
  • Glossy Autographed 8X11 Photo of Santa
  • Authentic Collectors Piece of Santa's Suit
  • Personal Greeting From Santa Claus (CD)
  • Genuine Reindeer Food in a collector's tin
  • Shipped in Bright Red Box
They seem pretty legit, secure (TRUSTe privacy and digicert secure), and sport the BBB accreditation seal. (BBBOnline program standards description.) Check 'em out at:

More Coupons Codes

The price of keeping your family entertained and on the go can be more reasonable and even cheaper by using the promo and coupon codes given by reliable merchants. We at DreamWorthy Gifts offer coupons and support the bargain shopper's quest. The kind folks over at Family Coupon Codes understand, too. See their site for tips on family shopping, travel, gift ideas, and money-saving coupon codes.

Gift Card Legislation
Yup, you read that right. I suppose this is helpful consumer protection, but I do get a little surprised by what gets legislated sometimes. Consumer Reports reports that Michigan’s new gift card law is a step in the right direction. (
I must pause to say that I always wanted to write 'reports reports' and have it be grammatically correct. Crossing that off my bucket list...)

Okay, back to Consumer Reports, Michigan lawmakers, and gift cards. As of Nov. 1, stores must honor the gift cards and gift certificates they sell for at least five years from the date of purchase. According to CR, "the legislation, signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, also blocks retailers from imposing inactivity, transaction, or other service fees that would decrease the face value of the cards. Retailers are further required to disclose all gift-card terms and conditions to prospective buyers under the new rules, and companies can’t change the rules after the card has been issued." (Spoil sports.)

Michigan is not alone up there. They are "one of around 24 other states that has begun considering legislative measures to make gift cards last longer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Heather Morton, an NCSL spokesperson, alerted us to a site that explains in detail each state’s gift-card rules, and the latest legislation in the pipeline." Check out:

Since You'll Be Holding Onto Those Gift Cards Longer...

...You'll need a place to store them all, right? The folks at wishing fish have a solution.

They claim this holder is "the ONLY gift card wallet with a register for keeping track of expiration dates and balances remaining on your gift cards!" I didn't research further but Google does have 512,000 returns for
"gift card holders." Nonetheless, this one seems pretty cool. See it at:

African American Women Are Powerhouse Shoppers
I'm cautious in providing this because I'm sensitive to the always-present possibility for misinterpretation of anything racially-related, so I'll disclaimer (new verb) that I'm sincerely fascinated by demographic research and my intent is pure. I got this link in a Google Alert for "shopping." The folks at provide news for and about the African American consumer. There is some interesting data here.

This report includes additional facts about this powerhouse consumer - African-American women, who:
  • Account for 58 percent of all new car and truck sales made among African Americans, compared to 44 percent of women overall. Are also more likely to purchase prestige and luxury cars and trucks than women in general.
  • Spent $57 billion on food-related items.
  • Skew high on food-at-home expenditures ($36 billion).
  • Spend 30 percent more than the general market on personal/beauty products, an industry estimated at $7.5 billion
There is a ton of other research/demographic info on the links in the left pane of the site.

In agreement, Home Accents Today reports that
spending on home decor items by African-American women "has increased by 6% compared to a 21% decrease for Caucasian women and a 30% decrease for Hispanic women." (Hey, ladies, check out our Web store!)

Shop More, Spend Less

Now wouldn't THAT be nice! Shop4Freebies seems to be an ad-revenue/affiliate site with a good cause... making people aware of free stuff. Hard to argue with that. On the site they have Freebies, Forums, Free Magazines, Coupons, and Freebie Hunting Tips. Check out You can navigate to find:
  • Beauty Freebies
  • Food Freebies
  • Mixed Freebies
  • Health Freebies
  • House Freebies
  • Kids Freebies
  • Baby Freebies
  • Pet Freebies
  • Money Freebies
  • Magazine Freebies
You can also Download Free Stuff, view International free stuff and get Money Saving Tips!
You can link your site or blog to them here, if interested.

Do Working and Giving Mix?

Sure they do. But you should keep a few things in mind. Who better to give advice about being proper than our neighbors in the UK. The Office Connection helps businesses looking for new office space in the UK. And, they offer great advice in their Office Christmas Gift Guide. No matter where you park your briefcase, heed their advice this holiday season.

So, Does This Make it mShopping or iShopping?

The growing trend of mobile everything, including mobile shopping, will be a force to be reckoned with. On the iPhone Blog Forum there is a Holiday Gift Shopping Tracker application for iPhone that looks interesting.

You can easily manage a list of people you are shopping for, set your overall Holiday Budget and track progress toward each person’s Individual Budget. As you add Gifts to a person, your budget totals will let you know how much money you have left. Each gift has a checkbox to let you easily see if you have purchased the gift. An intuitive “Hide” button lets you mix and match different gift combinations to see how it will affect your budget, and more.

The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

My faith in humanity, Deloitte, or perhaps both, was confirmed when I read Deloitte's retail research that "seventy-one percent of consumers will purchase online, making it the #2 shopping destination; almost half willing to pay more for ‘green’ gifts." Additionally, the reports says, "almost four in 10 (38 percent) surveyed say they will use fewer plastic bags from supermarkets and other stores this year — a significant increase over the 27 percent who said the same last year. One in five consumers (20 percent) say they will purchase more 'eco-friendly' products this holiday season than they did in the past. A similar number (21 percent) say they will consider not wrapping holiday gifts to conserve paper."

“The big question around the green movement has always been how it translates into revenues for retailers,” said Janiak. “Our survey shows that a significant number of people will pay more for eco-friendly products, which tells us that this issue is becoming a key factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Like multichannel retailing, environmentally friendly strategies can help retailers differentiate their brands, capture consumers’ hearts and minds and increase share of wallet, particularly in this economic environment.”

Of course, in the very next paragraph, green gets shot just a bit:

"For the fifth year, clothing continued to be the second-most-popular gift category in the survey (gift cards have been #1 for five years); however, the popularity of clothing has fallen over the past several years. CDs/DVDs for music and movies were again #3 and toys and games were #4. Money and books were tied at #5.

The top gifts that consumers said they intend to buy for friends and family include Nintendo’s Wii gaming system, Apple’s iPod (which has been in the top 3 since 2005), Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox. Other top gifts included two computer games — Wii Fit and Guitar Hero — Apple’s iPhone, Barbie, American Girl and Hannah Montana merchandise. The top “generic” gifts mentioned were televisions (HD, plasma, flat screen etc.), computers/laptops, GPS systems and digital cameras. As previously announced, the survey found that gift cards/certificates continued to be the #1 gift that consumers plan to buy; the top venues for these gift cards were Wal-Mart, Amazon and Target."

Hmm. Maybe some of the electronic items come in green?

On that note, that wraps up our Shop Talk for the week. Thanks for reading, and as always, happy shopping!

Until next time,

Your friends and Shopping Advisors at DreamWorthy Gifts.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One Week Closer... Black Friday and Holiday Shopping Are Almost Here

Well, we are one week closer to Black Friday and the major holiday shopping season. Regardless of how the economy is affecting you personally, it certainly is affecting many, including retailers. As promised, here are some Shop Talk ideas that we hope will be helpful, whatever your situation.

Strapped for Cash This Holiday?
Other than the ϋber-rich, who isn’t? Here are some quick ideas that could help:
  • Follow the advice of blogger and China-shopping guide, Krista QQ, who offers some money-savings tips in her November 12th blog, where she recommends making lovely and economical handmade gifts.
  • Put your word processor or desktop publishing software to good use to make cool, personalized, homemade holiday cards and email them out for free. Pocket the savings or put it toward your gift purchase budget.
  • Review the 63 gift ideas for under $10, offered by Michelle Jones, editor of
  • Another option, if necessary, could be to re-gift your personal gift cards or turn them into presents for others. This one’s a little radical, and might be best reserved for immediate family or for ensuring kids have something to make the season bright, but we offer the idea for your consideration.
More on Gift Cards:
Speaking of gift cards, last week we mentioned three sites where you can buy, sell, or exchange gift cards. Here are some other gift cards options. Some are old news, I realize, but it’s hard to argue with success, and hopefully it’s a helpful reminder to have them here in one place:
  • Here’s another buy/sell site. This one also sells “GiftBux,” which recipients may redeem for any certificate on the site. They also have an affiliate program, which by way of disclaimer, we do not participate in, but maybe we should since we’re giving them free advertising!
  • Buy, sell, or swap ‘em at
  • Good ol’ has thousands of items these days and they are as reliable as clockwork. At their site, gift cards can be emailed, printed, or sent by mail.
  • Another well-established ol’ standby… American Express.
  • If you’re going upscale (one of those ϋber-rich, perhaps?), there’s always the Four Seasons.
  • Coming back to reality for most of us, the fun folks at (Visa/First Gulf Bank, N.A.)have some nice looking holiday cards
  • And the folks at Gift Card offer their own extensive list of participating merchants, including Old Navy, Macy’s, and a large ensemble of others.
  • I might quietly mention that we offer virtual gift cards, paper gift certificates, and online coupons at DreamWorthy Gifts. (Commercial over.)
The Other Side of the Coin (or Gift Card, in this case)
I guess there really are two sides to every coin. Lee Mark, who is listed as an Expert Author, cautions against purchasing gift cards this season.
  • Here’s why, in Lee’s words: “Many of your favorite retail stores are doing some major downsizing or even going out of business in the coming months. If you purchase gift cards and a store closes, then your gift card recipient cannot redeem their gift. Even if the retailer just closes a few locations, there is a chance that your gift card recipient may not be able to find a location that is close enough to drive to.”
  • Lee does proceed to rattle off quite a list of major retailer store closings and a list of bankruptcy proceedings, adding weight to his concerns. Sounds like a big downer until he ends with “This season I would predict that buyers will shop more online to avoid the impulse shopping and save fuel in the process.” Now obviously the fine team here at DreamWorthy Gifts believe that is the best option, and we’d add that many of the retailers listed in Lee’s article also have an online presence, and we’d bet that that portion of the businesses will survive, even if the overhead-laden brick and mortar structures suffer.
Mall or Online?
So this brings us back to the issue from last week, when we asked you to join our Squidoo debate on the price of shipping versus gas and time. (I’m sure you’ve just been busy, right?)
  • You can weigh in at in the ‘Sound Off!’ Section near the bottom.
  • The folks from Seven Somewhere who blog ‘All About Christmas’ seem to have made up their mind. Read their thoughts here. Like us, they’re a little partial…
  • …So, back to you… what do YOU plan to do this year?
Got Dog?
If you love your furry friend and are looking for the perfect stocking stuffer, our friends at Puppy have some unique items for your stylish pooch.
  • They offer a lot of nice stuff, actually, but one of the cutest things is the collection of holiday hair bows, which are solidly made, and of course, trendy and stylish with multiple holiday styles. Hey, ya gotta have some fun, and they are very reasonably priced.
Cat Feelin’ Left Out?
Sorry. We have cats, too, so check out Cats Play and buy kitty a nice gift basket for the holidays.
And just for fun, cat lovers, check out these sites…
Gifts for People Who Love Animals
Animal Den offers an extensive line of gifts for those who love animals. And we’re not talking just cats and dogs here, folks, but - according to their product categories - also ‘Bugs, Birds, Barnyard, Freshwater, Marine Life, Reptiles\Amphibians, Small Critters and Wildlife.’ Get your Octopus earrings here. All of which really raises only one question for us… someone likes bugs?

Got Crack?

No, silly, not drugs (nor plumbers), but the dreaded Crackberry. Blackberries were once hated only by executive trophy wives, but nowadays, everyone seems to have them.
  • As a user and abuser myself, I find this site to be a great resource. When you can find a case for an older Blackberry model that accommodates an extended battery, you know you’ve found a good site. Check them out at and read some reviews for the new Blackberry Storm.
  • You can also take the guided tour for the Storm at Verizon.
Well, that’s our shop talk for this week. (One week closer to Black Friday…. Make your own countdown timer at!)

Thanks for reading. Until next time,

Your friends and Shopping Advisors at DreamWorthy Gifts.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Shopping Online - Shipping Costs versus Gas &Time, and More...

Well, we said we'd try to add some value by sharing thoughts about shopping, especially Online Shopping, that we deemed DreamWorthy. Here are a few thoughts for today.

Stress Free Xmas Shopping
This blog entry is by XUP (exurbanpedestrian), a Canadian blogger from Ottawa, eh, who apparently shares our philosophy "aboot" Internet shopping. She was apparently having a curmudgeonly day when she wrote this blog [smile] -"
All the gates of hell open up and we get sucked into the fiery vortex of Christmas shopping anguish, torment and lamentations…" which echoes my sentiments on holiday shopping - especially in the offline world. Her thoughts on the benefits of shopping online, though, are on-target, bless her. Based on the responses from XUP's followers, many agree. Check it out.

Smart Shoppers Will Shop Online
Well, Shirley McNeal agrees with XUP, at least. Her piece on offer 7 reasons for online shopping, including going green. Shirley writes: "
In today's world we need to continually be aware of ways to protect our environment. Every time we travel to a shopping mall we are consuming energy and adding to the problem of air pollution. According to recent studies shopping online has shown a significant reduction of fuel consumption and air pollution." You go, girl! I'm not a Greenpeace member and I couldn't make it all the way through "An Inconvenient Truth," but I am tired of being robbed at nozzle-point for gas (Exxon's shameful profit record) and we need need to take care of Mom Earth, so our kids can have a place to shop when they grow up. ;-)

Sound Off! On Our Squidoo Lens
Have you been to Squidoo? It's a version of blogging, I guess, deftly formulated by the always-firing neurons of marketing guru Seth Godin. We just started a Squidoo Lens yesterday and created a Sound Off section to gather some opinions. As the old saying goes, "we gotta million of 'em," but we'd settle for a thousand (hundred? ten? Mom?) of yours. Here's the debate:

Paying Shipping Costs vs. Burning Time & Fuel
A. Why pay shipping costs if I can pick it up in a local store and save that expense?
B. Save that expense!? If I plan and shop smart online, I pay less shipping than what I'd waste in gas and time.

Which side do you fall on? Is your time worth something? Is the gas expense a big enough deal? Or are those outweighed by shipping costs? Or perhaps by product uncertainty ("a GIF not a product is," as Yoda might say)?

Weigh in here or check out our Squidoo Lens at:

Gift Cards Gone Wild
Have you checked out these gift card sites yet?
  • allows consumers to buy, sell or trade pre-owned gift cards.
  • gift is another card exchange, whether you want to buy gift cards at substantial savings, sell them for cash, or trade pre-owned gift cards with others.
Until recently, when we opened our store, I didn't know these sites existed. I ran a Google search for "gift card exchange" and these two have the best organic search results, but there certainly are others.

Black Friday Cometh
As a 2 a.m. nut-job who has been living for early-morning Black Friday shopping for years, I was ecstatic when these sites started up again. Some of my faves:
Interestingly, and a sign of our online-shopping-times, Wally-World (Wal* is offering some Unbelievable Online Specials this year, that are online-only. I may never forgive them for killing their lay-a-away program, but this is a positive move, for sure.

Well, that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by. Until next time,

Your friends and Shopping Advisors at
DreamWorthy Gifts.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Welcome to our Shop Talk blog about Online Shopping


Hello and welcome to our blog launch! Thanks for being here to check us out.

Blogging is a new venture for us and we have a lot to learn. Oddly, and uncharacteristically for us, we leapt in with both feet today without having any material pre-developed (hey, what can I say... we're living on the edge today).

If you're reading this before we have had a chance to kick-start properly, we hope you will return over time, to check us out and judge us properly.


Okay, set aside family, friends, eating and sleeping for a moment and our purpose becomes shopping. Yes, we visit Tarszhay (Target) and wander around a Nordstrom's on occasion, but the real thrill is shopping online in our jammies (bunny slippers optional).

So, "Shop Talk" will be about shopping, especially online shopping. We believe we have some things to say about the topic that will add some value. But we will also stand on the shoulders of giants and offer links to other great information on the Web, including other blogs, and oddly, including stuff from our competitors. While we do run DreamWorthy Gifts, an online shopping site, it's a big world out there and we don't think for a minute that you'll be a totally captive audience (hmmm... wouldn't THAT be nice for us!), so we'll face reality and try to provide good deals, good value, and take our slice from time to time, if you deem us worthy.

We'll end today with a rare commercial and an introduction to us. Thanks for stopping by today and please come back to see us in awhile, and be patient while we ramp up. We look forward to knowing and serving you. If you have any advice or feedback, we listen well. Write to us at and we'll put our ears on.

About DreamWorthy Gifts LLC

DreamWorthy Gifts is a Web store with thousands of products including giftware, collectibles, candles, bath and body, home and kitchen decor, garden and outdoor, toys and games, seasonal items, religious home accents, men’s and women’s accessories, eCatalogs, virtual gift cards, gift certificates and more.

We are dedicated to providing a safe, productive and enjoyable online shopping experience for everyone with a computer, an Internet connection, and a need to shop for something for someone for some reason (including themselves, and hey, even if the reason is just because!).

We are also family members, Moms, Dads, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, co-workers, neighbors, and everyday real people. We pay too much for gas, are far too busy with work and life, and sometimes don't know what to get that special someone, when it's time to show we care.

That's why we started DreamWorthy Gifts LLC. We want to help regular people like us find the right gift, at the right time, at the right price, in the right way... but also without a few things, too - without driving and wasting gas, without the hassle of rude service reps, and without losing so much of our precious time.