Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review of "MasterCard MarketPlace - A Smarter Way to Shop Online"---and a $100 Gift Card Giveaway from BlogHer

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and MasterCard MarketPlace.



This is a review of MasterCard MarketPlace - A Smarter Way to Shop Online.

The registration process required a full name, an email address, and a zip code. It also required me to choose a title (the choices are Mr., Ms., or Mrs.), which didn't seem like it should be necessary.

Next it asked me to choose at least three of my favorite stores from their options, and there was also a way to mark stores I DISlike, which was fun. You drag the store icons into shopping baskets marked "I like" and "I don't like"---and as you choose, more stores appear for sorting. I could have played that game all day. Altogether it took well under 5 minutes to register (if you don't count the extra time I spent playing with the shopping baskets--WHAT?).

When I was done, it took me to the home page where I saw it was already reminding me of sales and deals at stores I'd said I liked, and also telling me about related offers (deals it thought I might be interested in based on the ones I said I'd be interested in). When I clicked over later, the deals it was displaying were instead the current Hottest Deals, which included deals at stores I had put on my Dislike list---so you don't have to worry that disliking a store means you'll miss out when it's something super-awesome.

There were tabs to see lists of the newest deals, the deals ending soonest, and the most popular deals---I love that kind of thing, because I love the feeling that I'm not going to MISS something accidentally. Also, sometimes I might think I'm not interested in something (like a tool store), but then it might show up on the most-popular list with something that would make me think, "Oh! Actually, we need one of those!" And there are other tabs for looking at the top deals by category, like in Electronics, in Home, and in Kids & Babies. That would be fun for browsing.

(It looked like this.)
(Screenshot from http://marketplace.mastercard.com/.)
(You can click the picture to see it bigger.)



In addition, each day at 1:00 p.m. EST, until December 24th, there are special daily Holiday Overwhelming Offers, available only to MasterCard cardholders and only for 24 hours each.

You can sign up to have deals emailed to you if you don't want to poke around on a web site every day or if you might forget to check. You can also customize it so it doesn't bother you with deals that aren't at least 25% off, or at least 50% off, or whatever. Each deal makes it clear how much time you have left to act on it.

To participate in a deal, you click the "Shop Now" button and it takes you to it. Some are sales that the general public can also participate in; some are deals only for registered users. Some deals are improved if you use a MasterCard, or available only to MasterCard cardholders.

Overall, it looks like a good "deal center" for keeping track of all the places you like to shop and all the deals they have---and a good way to get EXTRA deals while you're at it.


BlogHer is giving away a $100 MasterCard gift card. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post by December 31, 2010, saying which store's deals (ANY store) you'd want to be able to track.


Rules:

No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. Read the official rules for alternate form of entry.
Sweepstakes ends 5 PM PST on December 31, 2010. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. For 19 more chances to win, visit the BlogHer Special Offers page.


From the client: "Overwhelming Offers (OO) are limited in quantity, reservation only and limited in time. Participating merchants and offers are subject to change. The OO discount is provided as a statement credit. See www.mastercardmarketplace.com for restrictions and complete terms and conditions."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winner! (Tassimo)

The winner of the Tassimo giveaway is Velocibadgergirl! I'll email you for your mailing info!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Winner! (SmartyAnts)

The winner of the Smarty Ants and Phonics Reading Pup giveaway is AStarrA! I'll email you!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tassimo Review, With TASSIMO GIVEAWAY MAYBE IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS

Please imagine how exciting it was to get a Tassimo to review. Then please imagine how much coffee I have had in order to "collect data." Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I am going to make this quick (by which apparently I mean lonnnnnnnnnng), because I think we all know what a Tassimo is, right? It makes one single cup of coffee or tea or hot chocolate at a time. You put in a coffee/tea/cocoa disc, and the Tassimo reads the barcode so it knows what it's making and you don't even have to mess with settings. You just press "go."

So all you want to know, probably, is does it WORK, and is it FUSSY to use, and is the coffee GOOD, and HOW DO I ENTER TO WIN ONE OMG TELL ME QUICK!!


First, here is how I was compensated for this review:


1. One Bosch Tassimo Single-Serve Coffee Brewer.
2. One 8-drink package of Starbucks Cappuccino Primo.
3. One 16-drink package of Gevalia Signature Blend (Mild).
4. An additional Tassimo to give away.


Second, it is easy and non-fussy to use:

They know you're not going to read the whole manual first, so they just get on with it.



You fill the water reservoir.


You run it through the cleaning cycle a few times.
(What, you don't have self-promoting mugs at your house? Sad.)



If you do need the manual, it looks a little intimidating at first,
but in fact it's easy to use and understand.




You put a disc in.
(I did the cleaning the night before, so that's
why it's a different mug now.)



You close it with authority, and you press the start button, and it makes you coffee.



The coffee is good. I first tried the Gevalia Mild, and found it strong---but I always make my coffee kind of weak, so my coffee palate is off. There's a button you can press to make it brew a little longer, which adds more water and makes it a little weaker; I'll do that next time.

My mom came over and we tried the Starbucks Cappuccino, and we both agreed it was EXCELLENT: exactly what we'd expect if we went to a Starbucks and ordered it. Perfect sweetness (i.e., BARELY, so that we had to check to make sure it really did have sugar in it), really good-quality cream taste, just perfect. We were trying to have a conversation but kept instead turning back to how good the coffee was.


To me, some of the highlights of this thing:

1. The fun of the whole deal. It really is fun to choose a disc, put it in, etc. It's even more fun than you might think. I feel eager to go out and buy lots more discs so I have more choices. It would also be fun to have a friend over and let her make a drink.

2. The way it brews into your cup. The platform comes completely out to make room for larger cups or travel mugs.

3. The cup platform has a container that catches spills.

4. The water reservoir, which means that unlike my coffee pot, I don't have to add water every time.

5. It is FAST.

6. It is EASY.

7. It is WELL-DESIGNED: little details like a place in the back to tuck the cleaning disc so you don't lose it, and the way the platform is designed to catch spills and be completely removable, and the way the disc tab helps you line it up so you put it in the right way, and the way the water reservoir has a nice comfortable handle to make it easy to carry and re-install, and how easy both the long- and short-version instructions are (with good pictures, too). It really feels like someone was trying to make it RIGHT.


Some of the lowlights:

1. If you're used to making coffee in a regular coffee pot, the T-discs seem pretty expensive. (But if you're used to getting coffee at a drive-through, they will seem unbelievably cheap.)

2. You might find yourself drinking way too much coffee, just because it's fun to make (though I suppose eventually the fun of it wears off a bit), or because you have to make a full cup when maybe you otherwise would have just topped off your mug with a little more.


Various deals to be aware of:

1. If you register your Tassimo, you get two free packs of the T-discs of your choice.


2. Right now at Amazon (and I'm not sure how long this deal lasts), if you buy a Tassimo, you get a $50 Amazon gift card. Scroll down on the Tassimo product page until you see "Special Offers and Product Promotions," and there's a button to add both the Tassimo and the $50 gift card to your card. You DO have to add the gift card; it won't add automatically. But geez, that whacks FIFTY BUCKS off the price, bringing it from $130 down to $80. It's still not exactly FREE, but I can swing $80 in a way I can't swing $130. This brings it into what I consider "spouse gift" and "gift for your parents" range, too.


Finally, FINALLY, the giveaway part:

I want to do this FAST: I asked Tassimo, and they said that if I can give them the winner information on Monday, they might be able to get the Tassimo shipped to the winner by Christmas. So the contest will be open only until Sunday, December 19, at 5:00 p.m. U.S. Pacific time. It's open only to U.S. residents---or of course if you're NOT a U.S. resident you can still enter if you know someone in the U.S. you want it shipped to as the best Christmas present ever.

To enter, leave any comment. If that makes you feel tongue-tied, here's the optional prompt: say what you'd make first, if you had all the options in front of you: tea, hot chocolate, coffee, cappuccino, latte?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winner! (Similasan)

Do you remember the Similasan contest from long ago, with the $100 Visa gift card giveaway? A glitch at headquarters meant I couldn't announce the winner until now, but finally I can: the winner is fostertam! I'll email you!