Best Buy gets it right

A couple years ago, I almost wrote off Best Buy for good. Then about a year ago, they started pulling things together as Circuit City and CompUSA went out of business. Things have been continually improving ever since.

I have been a part of Best Buy's RewardZone program since its inception about 6 years ago. And apparently I spend so much money there that I am part of their Premier Silver membership, which comes with some special perks and benefits (like free shipping from their online store, no restocking fees on returns, and a more liberal return policy in general).

Tonight I received an email from Best Buy, announcing their personal shopper program. The program provides a dedicated phone number and email address for Premier Silver customers. I'm assuming it's a similar service to what Apple offers in their stores (except Best Buy's service is via phone and email), and I have yet to try it, but it's a nice touch for such a large retailer to start offering more personalized service to their customers.

-------- Original Message --------
From: Best Buy Reward Zone <>
Subject: Personal Shoppers and 500 Reward Zone® bonus points for our most valued customers
Date: Tue, 18 May 2010 07:14:24 -0600

Make your shopping easier and earn 500 Reward Zone® bonus points with a Personal Shopper
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Best Buy Reward Zone Premier Silver Welcome,
Member #: | | Program Rules | Contact Us | FAQs | Community
Personal Shopper

Get a personalized shopping experience—plus earn 500 Reward Zone® program bonus points with the purchase of $100 or more.

Call or e-mail a Premier Silver Personal Shopper for a Best Buy® shopping experience that is customized just for you.

Our Personal Shoppers offer many services:

        •  Dedicated support for all of your shopping needs

        •  Easy, over-the-phone ordering—including free shipping using your Premier Silver benefit

        •  Pre- and post-purchase product support

        •  Assistance with order and account questions

Take advantage of this opportunity and earn 500 Reward Zone bonus points with a purchase of $100 and up using your new Personal Shopper between May 18, 2010 and June 30, 2010.

Contact your Personal Shopper Monday through Friday, 7 A.M.—7 P.M. CT, or leave a voicemail after hours and your Personal Shopper will return your call.

Call 1-866-

1 Reward certificates are discounts off future purchases.
This e-mail is a Best Buy advertisement. If you no longer wish to receive our marketing e-mails, . You may also send an e-mail to or send a letter to Best Buy Corporate Campus, 7601 Penn Avenue South, Richfield, MN 55423-3645, Attention: Customer Care/Privacy. Please include your current contact information (name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address), and indicate that you wish to stop receiving Best Buy marketing e-mails. For more information, read our Privacy Policy or call 1-888-BEST BUY.

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How often do we drive by the same people and never realize it?

A few months ago, I posted about a blue Nissan Sentra that was driving around with a Tustin Lexus license plate frame. [original post here] It caught my eye because I thought it was odd to see an older model Nissan driving around with a Lexus frame.

Well, as it turns out, today (4 months later) I happened to find myself behind the same car, except almost 20 miles away.

Today in Fullerton, CA

December in Costa Mesa, CA...

And here's a map to show where I came across the same car.

View Larger Map

With the 3 million people living in Orange County, what are the odds? Maybe it happens more than we think.

Thoughts on the Posterous/VigLink affiliate link debacle

A couple days ago, it was discovered that Posterous modifies links that users place on Posterous blogs and adds an affiliate code when the user doesn't provide one. For example, if I link to a product on an e-commerce site and the website I'm linking to has an affiliate program, Posterous will drop in their affiliate code so if you end up purchasing that product, Posterous will take the affiliate cut for the referral. Then TechCrunch picked up the story and the internet has been up in arms ever since.

Unfortunately, it seems like people don't really understand the issue.

Here's what Posterous is NOT doing:
  • Adding links to your posts
  • Overwriting an affiliate link that you might add (if you have an affiliate link in a post, Posterous doesn't touch it)
  • Endorsing a product or service that you're linking to, or speaking on your behalf

Here's what Posterous IS doing:

  • If you link to a site where an affiliate program is in use, and if you didn't add your own affiliate code, Posterous will add one and take the cut if a purchase is made.

The only potential problem here is for journalists who are reviewing products or services. The thinking is that, if there is an affiliate link attached, someone is making money if a conversion is made. And that's the moral issue being debated. But since the author of the post isn't making any money off the link, it really doesn't matter.

But to me, it seems like most of the upset people are just mad because Posterous didn't inform them of the change, and has nothing to do with the potential issue I see above. It's because they just feel like they have a right to know. The question I pose to them is...who cares? If doesn't affect users at all. Posterous CEO Sachin Agarwal even said that they had been using VigLink for 4 months before anyone even discovered the deal. And for a site in the Alexa top 500 (in the US), it just goes to show how transparently the service worked.

The following comment was left on the original post about the discovery of the partnership by "Electronic Foodie":
"Will Posterous be disclosing how much it made from its experiment with Viglink? Where will this money be directed towards? We believe the money Posterous made with Viglink, up until the time it officially notified its users of Viglink, should be donated to charitable organizations voted upon by its users."

Umm.....WHY? This might just be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Contrary to what you believe (and what the government may have told you), Electronic Foodie, nobody (even Posterous) owes you anything. Sure, it may have been nice to know about this change, but I'm not shareholder and neither are you, so if Posterous wants to keep this info on the DL for whatever reason, they have the right to do so.

So what do I think? Posterous is a free service, has to make money somehow, and is trying to come up with ways to monetize that DON'T involve sucky banner ads. Good on them for being creative. And kudos to VigLink and other companies who are thinking outside the box to help monetize the web in unobtrusive ways. Hello, web 3.0.