I have a collection of bookmarks that I load as a group every day and woot.com is on that list. Not familiar with Woot? Skip the list and read my review of the site. Those that are “in the know” might dig this list: my “Top 10 Signs You're Addicted to Woot.com”
10: You check the site several times a day just in case they screwed something up and are offering a different product than they started the day with.
9: After a woot-off, you find yourself refreshing the page every 45 seconds for an hour because you don't notice the flashers are gone.
8: You participate in the contests despite the fact that you're not creative in the least, and check every hour to see if anyone has commented on your “masterpiece”.
7: You've bought an item, not because you needed or even wanted it, but to keep the woot-off going (semi-hardcore).
6: You've bought three of an item just to keep that woot-off going (totally hardcore!).
5: You laugh at the most inane of product descriptions.
4: You think Brave Woman should be in every contest entry.
3: Same with Hasselhoff.
2: You make up your own Bag of Crap replacement phrases.
1: Your child's first name is Jason and her middle name is Toon. Poor girl.
For the uninitiated, Woot is a company that specializes in selling one product per day. Each day at midnight (Central, as they are located outside Dallas, Texas), a new product goes up for sale. That product will remain available for purchase until the following midnight or until the product sells out (quantities are always limited). The quality and source of the items vary. One day the item might be a refurbished 22″ LCD monitor from Acer ($199), the next it might be the “Santa Fe Fajitas & More Buffet Griller” ($19.99) from Salton, Inc. You just never know. One thing is always for certain though. You won't find a lower price (okay, a much lower price) anywhere (okay, mostly anywhere) else. Generally, Woot has the absolute best deal on the product you're looking at. Shipping is always a flat five dollars, no matter the item. A plush monkey (yes, they've sold those) and a 40″ LCD HDTV (yep, sold those, too) will each ship for only $5. Interested in seeing more of the things they've sold? There's a handy section of the Woot forums where they list 'em all (going back to July, 2005).
Woot has a certain number of products available on a daily basis, so what happens if a product doesn't sell out? It goes to the Woot-Off! I am absolutely addicted to Woot-Offs, and I do a little dance everytime I discover one is running. For a period of time, anywhere from 24 hours to a few days, Woot will offer a product, and when that product sells out, they'll offer another immediately. Sometimes an item will take less than a minute to sell out (witness the “Bag of Crap”, one dollar plus shipping for three random items chosen at Woot's discretion), sometimes it can take hours. However long it takes, nothing else goes up until the current product sells out (though there is a clause for a 12 hour maxium up-time for a product during a Woot-Off, it's never had to be enforced). You'll recognize when a Woot-Off is going on by the flashing alert graphic. They're rare – maybe once a month or so – but they're well worth the wait.
Image Contests at Woot
There's much more to Woot than simply selling a single product a day – after all, what would keep someone on the site after seeing the daily item and making a decision about it? Well, for the weekends, it's the image contests. It would be easy to call these contests “Photoshop contests”, but I don't do that for two reasons. First, I don't like the trend of using “Photoshop” as a blanket term for all image editing or manipulation. I have too much respect for Adobe Photoshop. Second, this is what is posted by Woot as part of each contest's directions:
Use Photoshop, pen and ink, collage, MSPaint, scrimshaw carving, tattoos, ice sculpture, whatever, but it’ll only be judged if it’s visible in our forums as a jpg, gif, or png.
It's an image contest. Each week (usually on Thursday nights at midnight), a new contest gets announced. It's usually (but not always) a challenge related to the product that was up for sale that day, or one from earlier in the week. The challenge is to use your image creation tool of choice to create an image that fits a theme. A few that have been used already include:
- Show us your ideas for a new anti-piracy police force.
- Create a picture showing graffiti on the back or side wall of our new building.
- Show us a city built out of MP3 players – including, but not limited to, the SanDisk 512MB MP3/WMA Player we're selling today.
- Take a winning entry from a past Woot contest and incorporate today's Soundblaster Audigy 2 sound card in a way that makes us laugh.
I've participated in a few myself when time has allowed, and it's a blast. I've even done pretty well, taking first place, third and recieving an honorable mention on seperate occasions. Unfortunately, it's been a while. I think the last one I entered was contest number 76, and they're up to 121 as I write this. Many of the contestants use images like these in their signatures when posting in the Woot forums, so show off their achievements.
But how are they as far as the ordering process, getting your items, and the entire process around actually getting something from Woot? I've ordered only two products for myself because frankly, I don't want or need most of what they've had to offer so far. I'm usually in a position where I've already got something similar or simply don't want it (plush monkey, anyone?) or don't want to spend the money (despite the great deal). That said, when the Razer Pro 1600dpi Gaming Mouse and the Logitech Wireless USB Music System for PC came around, I hopped on them. Ordering was extremely easy (your standard web ordering form), communication from Woot was timely and exact with my order number and tracking information, and the items each arrived on time and in perfect condition. Can't complain!