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scrottie (4167)

scrottie
  scott@slowass.net
http://slowass.net/

My email address is scott@slowass.net. Spam me harder! *moan*

Journal of scrottie (4167)

Friday March 14, 2008
05:26 AM

Go save your half.com wishlist *now* before they delete it

[ #35903 ]

Two emails came in, back to back, while I was out on errands: that half.com was going to delete items from my wishlist unless I updated it; and that they deleted "old" items from my wishlist, and in the future, I should "keep it up to date". FUCK!!!

Looking at it, sure enough, it's down a few pages from what it was.

Every book in there, I seriously intended to *probably* buy, and even though I had twelve pages of books on the wishlist, I'd already bought on the order of 30 or 40 books from them. Every few months I go on a bender and drop $100 there. It wasn't as if part of my wishlist was "old"... what I bought off my wishlist when I went on a spending spree there had nothing to do with when I added the book to the wishlist.

So, now, things expire off your wishlist, and they have little clocks that run down, and you can add more time to them, manually. If you don't ask for more time every few months, it gets deleted. They implemented this feature and didn't warn me until after some of the timers already went off. Again, FUCK!

It's really my own fault for trusting a site with data, but half.com was my master list of books to buy. Along time ago, I dabbled with a proxy service that would show you your entire half.com wishlist on one page by scraping their site, but they changed their interface so that you can't view other people's wishlists, so it got scrapped. I had output from it so I had a snapshot of a very early wishlist. I spent the last three hours piecing together what I could of what was missing, printing out the raw wishlist pages (in fear that more timers would go off in the next few minutes), opening each page, and cutting and pasting book titles and URLs into a text file, and then finally, deleting the entire wish list so I wouldn't be getting these horrific emails that my data is being deleted.

Another reason they cited for deleting from my wishlist: their preference engine does a better job finding things for me when the wishlist has fewer things on it. So, wait, they want me to buy more stuff, but stuff that they suggest, rather than the stuff that I actually *wanted* to buy, so badly that they'll delete my wishlist items to better find things to spam me with? Bloody hell. Morons!

Maybe most of their customers add vast amounts of things to their wishlists and never look at them and they're losing tons of money buying storage space, but honestly, that's hard to imagine. Each thing in my wishlist is one record in a hinge table: it references the item, and it references me. That's two 32 bit integers. Maybe a datestamp too. So my whole wishlist was a few K, even though it was 12 pages long. Is risking pissing off their hard-core customers worth reclaiming these few K from their deadbeat customers? Wouldn't it have been nearly as effective to send people an email asking them if they really want their wishlist, giving them 30 days notice, rather than ten minutes?

eBay (the owner of half.com) is a great big monopoly and it treats its customers like shit. So, I'm now in the market for another online used book store/market. Suggestions?

-scott

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  • I've been using NerdBooks.com [nerdbooks.com] for my discount book needs. If I remember correctly, the Dallas Perl Mongers meet there (as well as a few other user groups). They're super fast with shipping orders out. They have a wishlist feature, too.
    • Yes, D/FW PM meets at NerdBooks.com quite often (or at least we did when we meeting). Dave may be a bit eccentric but I have no complaints about the way he runs his business.