Tuesday, April 13

Introducing Woot Avatars, You Freaked-Out Maniacs

by Jason Toon

Ever wished you could put a face to a username on our message boards? And furthermore, have you wished that face would be bizarre, unsettling, and maybe a little cute? Then you and your similarly-inclined pals are going to love our new Woot forum avatars. Someday, when people talk about 2010 as the post-avatar era, it won’t have anything to do with James Cameron.

Yes, from now on your forum posts will be accompanied by a unique cartoon grotesquerie created by slam-bang all-star illustrator Will Guy, aka Goopy of goopymart and Sea Chimp fame. You can choose from five different designs on your shiny new member profile page (oh, yeah, you can read about that whole deal in another blog post). They’re automatically generated from heads, arms, legs, tails, antlers, tentacles, beards, claws, and other parts drawn by Goopy, so every avatar is completely unique. Goopy gave us enough parts for something like 70 quadrillion combinations (seriously).

No, you can’t make your own. You didn’t get to choose your real-life face before you were born, did you? But those who prefer to live in a Huxleyan dystopia of embryo engineering and designer cheekbones can also choose your flattering Facebook, Twitter, or Gravatar avatar instead, right there on the member profile page. Again, see the other blog post for more about that.

What does your forum avatar look like in the wild? Just post below (like we needed to encourage you to do that) and take a look. To see a higher-res version of it, or to choose a different one, get thee hence to your profile page: go to http://members.woot.com/ and, assuming you’re logged in to Woot, it’ll default to your profile page. To see someone else’s profile page, add their username to the URL after the last slash, like this: http://members.woot.com/Jason Toon.

OK, you’ve seen my pink-eyed, bouffanted, fuzzy-faced, insectoid self – now show me yours!

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Wootership Has Its Privileges: New Member Profile Pages, Facebook, OpenID, And You

by Jason Toon

Hey, if you're looking for info about Woot avatars, or you just want to show yours off, see this blog post right here, 'K?

Stalking your fellow wooters just got a little easier with the launch of our new member profile pages. To see yours, go to http://members.woot.com/ and, assuming you’re logged in to Woot, it’ll default to your profile page. To see someone else’s profile page, add their username to the URL after the last slash, like this: http://members.woot.com/Jason Toon. Now let us tell you what all that crap is.

  • That hideously ugly, uproariously funny cartoon on your member page is your custom Woot avatar. Generated from component parts drawn by the famed Will “Goopy” Guy, nobody else has one quite like it. If you hate it, you can click “change avatar” to choose another from your bench of five custom avatars. Read more about avatars in today’s companion blog post. And if you really, really hate the whole idea, and you also hate fun and joy, you can choose your Twitter, Facebook, or Gravatar avatar. You also do this by clicking “change avatar” on your member profile page, and then a bunch of other stuff that we’ll explain later in this blog post.
  • The Recent Activity stream shows your recent forum posts and whatnot. You can see activity across all Woot sites or choose a specific one to see activity on that site – with a couple of exceptions. Our Everything But Woot forum isn’t connected to this system yet. We’re working on it, believe me, since almost one-third of all Woot forum posts are in there. And Deals.Woot isn’t quite tied in yet, either. For now, choosing Deals.Woot on the Recent Activity drop-down will take you to links to your Deals.Woot user page. Again, we’re working this out, so expect a 360-degree summary of all your dot-Woot activity soon.
  • We’ve also enabled you to log in to Woot using your Facebook account, your Twitter account, or any OpenID account like Google, Yahoo!, or AIM. On our humble little login page, you’ll now see options for all of those services. Click one and take it from there. Or, if that’s too confusing, read the instructions later in this blog post.

We’re so anxious to roll this member-profile system out that not all the edges are softened yet. All this account-connectin’ and avatar-selectin’ will be more seamless and less confusing pretty soon. Advanced users, go nuts. If you’re a little less comfortable with all this login business, follow the instructions after the jump. If you just want to keep your Woot experience simple, do nothing. And, as always, pelt us with your questions in the forum thread below.

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Friday, April 02

The End of the Adventure

by Jason Toon

It was a bold experiment. But just 24 hours after we announced our Woot Your Own Adventure business model, Woot decided to revert to our more traditional deal-a-day format. The change takes effect today, April 2. It's not easy to back down so soon after launching a new venture like that, but it's some consolation to know Conan O'Brien isn't affected.

Oh, but what a time we had. If you missed all the fun, or just want to re-live it, play Woot Your Own Adventure right now, or whenever you get around to it. No hurry. It's not like the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance or anything. Just be prepared for the kind of excitement that made Woot Your Own Adventure the #4 trending topic on Twitter.

Our community was all abuzz about it, too. Some adventurers found that playing the game cost them more than the reward was worth. Some forgot what game they were playing. And some, clearly driven mad by the hunt a la The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, offered dubious advice.

More enterprising crap-hunters made - SPOILER ALERT - their own maps and guides. We liked billmoney's hand-drawn ones best, because they looked the most like the ones we made while planning this whole thing:

wyoamap3

But even with maps like those, and with people sharing links on deal sites and in our forums and whatnot, it took 40 minutes for the ultimate prize - a Bag O' Crap, of course - sold out. Now, if you successfully choose your way through the whole adventure, all you win is the satisfaction of having found a correct path to the end.

What will you always remember most about Woot Your Own Adventure? What memories will you share with your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren, and (future medical advances permitting) your great-great grandchildren? First, share them with us below...

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Thursday, April 01

Woot Changes Business Model To Text-Adventure Format

by Jason Toon

Almost six years ago, we were the first pioneers to settle in the remote backwoods of deal-a-day ecommerce. We cleared the underbrush, chased off the critters, and installed the plumbing. And other settlers followed our lead. A lot of other settlers. Now this country’s gotten a little too crowded for us. So we’re moving on to a completely different approach that is certain to revolutionize online shopping all over again. Today, a new adventure begins.

Woot Your Own Adventure, that is. Instead of offering one boring old sale a day, we’re offering more choices – and not just product choices. To find that really awesome deal every day, you have to play your way through a text adventure to successfully reach the big prize. C’mon, real wooters aren’t going to let a few frog-men or barbarians or desperadoes stand between them and that cheap netbook.

So get yourself clicked over to the Woot front page and start living the adventure. Our web wizards have made it impossible for you to skip ahead, so no cheating. And no using your browser’s BACK button, either. Each page offers links to back up a step or go back to the beginning, if you take a wrong turn. Ecommerce has never been so aggravating or time-consuming!

But don’t bother whining at us about how “it’s too hard.” That’s exactly the point. If you want to take advantage of our deal acumen and our economies of scale, you’re going to have to quit being so lazy about it. We already find the products and store them in our warehouse and ship them out – why should we do all the work in this relationship?

Yes, we fully expect to drive most of you away in frustration and disgust. That’s fine with us. As Michael Jackson and Prince have taught us, what good are a huge fanbase and massive public goodwill if you can’t squander them on crazy acts of ego-driven insanity? Happy adventuring!

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Thursday, March 11

Woot Happy Hour: No, You Can’t Run A Tab

by Jason Toon

We’d love to have a drink with all of our Twitter followers after work, but we still haven’t found a bar big enough for 1.6 million people. So we’re showing the love the only way we know how: by selling even more cheap stuff. Introducing Woot Happy Hour. Every so often, after a particularly rough day on the job, we’ll whisk you away at 4 p.m. Central to a mini-Woot-Off that will last exactly one hour before it turns into a virtual pumpkin. But when, exactly?

There’s only one way to find out: follow @woot on Twitter. We’ll be announcing Happy Hour there and only there. Yes, we’ve finally discovered a compelling reason to join Twitter. Turn up your nose at your peril. While you’re sitting in splendid isolation on Superiority Island, the more pragmatic of your fellow wooters will be feasting on deals the likes of which you can scarcely imagine.

(Unless, of course, you can imagine a condensed Woot-Off without the Woot-Off killers.)

To further encourage the Twittification of America, Happy Hour sales will not be accompanied by the usual discussion forums. If you want to shoot your mouth off about a deal, tweet about it using the #woot hashtag. You can dive right into the flow of comments yourself, or wait for our forum moderators to scour these tweets for the best and most insightful. We’ll feature those on the front page of the sale a la our Quality Posts. But shorter. And faster. And with an extra helping of Web 2.0.

Woot Happy Hour is better than your regular old happy hour in one important way: it’s much less likely to lead to an awkward, regrettable make-out session with one of your co-workers. Wait, maybe that means it’s worse than your regular old happy hour.

Whatever the case, we hope to see you following our Twitter feed (@woot, remember?) and getting happy with us once or twice a week. Just do us a favor: if we get a little carried away, take away our car keys and call us a cab.

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Thursday, January 21

Woot + Blippy: Put Your Mouth Where Your Money Is

by Jason Toon

Used to be, if you wanted to tell your online pals what you were buying, you had to go somewhere like Facebook or Twitter and type something like "Just scored a sweet new nose-hair trimmer - look out, ladies!!!" Then you'd have to field questions about how much you paid for it, and what brand it is, and the awesome deal-a-day site you scored it from, and before you know it you've got an unpaid part-time job as a nose-hair-trimmer consultant.

Not anymore. Woot has struck up a partnership with Blippy, a new social-commerce site that lets you sync up your customer accounts at places like Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix so you can effortlessly show your friends your consumer side. (Blippy is also founded by longtime wooter and F'ed Company founder Philip Kaplan, so we're a natural match.)  We're the first retailer to get on the Blippy partnership train, and we're also the first to allow account integration using the secure OAuth methods. Which, for you English speakers, means you can connect to your Woot account without sharing your Woot username and password with Blippy. And we're looking into developing a button at the end of our checkout process to let you click over and start sharing purchases right away. For now, sign up at Blippy, start an account, and connect to Woot from the Accounts page. If you'd like a preview, here's what other wooters are currently sharing.

Of course, many of you will think it's crazy to reveal what you're buying. Maybe it is. If the idea freaks you out, RUN AWAY! (Or just sign up to shop-stalk your friends.) Blippy does gives you the ability to temporarily turn off sharing, or to only show your purchases to your approved friends. But don't come crying to us if you use it and give away that birthday surprise or alert thieves about that BOC waiting on your porch. That goes double if you're also a fan of all those other social-networking apps that tell the world where you are at the moment and what you're eating and where you hide your spare house key. As for us, while we'll try Blippy, we might not quite be ready to attach it to our bank accounts just yet.

If there are any other social-media projects like this that you think need a little dose of Woot, let us know in the comments. Woot was the first retailer on Twitter, we were among the earliest to offer RSS feeds, and now we're the first to join forces with Blippy. Like the guy with chronic halitosis at a square dance, we're always looking for partners.

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Thursday, January 14

We interrupt your regularly scheduled snarky blog for a Team Coco Charity Post

by Randall Cleveland

We got a lot of love for our pro-Conan post yesterday, and a lot of people wanted to know where they could get that logo on shirts, stickers, and underwear. Well mark your calendars, because this is probably the only time we'll ever encourage you to buy a shirt somewhere else:

You can get I'm With Coco shirts and prints HERE, direct from the artist, for some almost-as-affordable-as-Woot prices.

Why would we pimp some other guy who's not giving us a dime? Because $1 of each purchase goes towards PlantingPeace.org, which is helping the people of Haiti recover from that earthquake.

Before the trolls start: yes, we know, you could easily donate the equivalent amount of money to a charity or organization in Haiti rather than buying a t-shirt. And you know what? We endorse that idea too. Give whatever you can afford. Seriously. They need it.

But if you're going to buy a novelty shirt, you might as well buy the one that throws a buck to some people who could really use it right now. Hip us to your favorite Haiti relief efforts in the comments below.

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Tuesday, December 22

Triangle Scheme: Deals.Woot Reputation Badges

by Jason Toon

Whoa! Hey! We're all familiar with our user experience badges (aka "Woot qubes") on the forums - but where'd that triangle come from?



Yeah, I'm lame now, but you should've seen me in beta...

That triangular badge indicates your Deals.Woot reputation score. In other words, it measures how much you've been taking part in the crowd-sourced, social-bookmarking, all-singing, all-dancing deal hub we call Deals.Woot. It's the Woot site that lets you sharpen your deal-hunting fangs on the herds of deals roaming the Internet. If you haven't been, what's stopping you?

Anyway, as some of you have noticed, the hierarchy of colors is the same as the qubes, from lowly white all the way up to lofty black. But the formula is a lot more complicated than just a simple tally of how many items you've bought. The point is to recognize users who post deals, vote on deals, ask intelligent questions, make insightful comments, and do all the things that make Deals.Woot the delight that it is today.

I'd break down exactly how the reputation algorithm works, but I keep falling asleep everytime Shawn says "interquartile". I do know enough to know they're always tinkering with it, so whatever I told you now would soon be obsolete anyway. But if you're a regular participant in Deals.Woot discussions, and you submit good deals, and you vote on deals and questions, it will show in your triangle. (We can't bring ourselves to call them "qones", but we can't stop you from doing it.)

And if you're a little ashamed for your prestigious Woot badge to sit next to an empty triangle, there's only one way to fix that: get over to Deals.Woot! Now! Post deals! Ask questions! Answer questions! Vote on everything that catches your eye! The future of your qon- er, Deals.Woot reputation badge hangs in the balance!

Now, Deals.Wooters, feel free to gloat over your superior triangles. And entice, cajole, or shame your fellow wooters into coloring in their triangles, too.

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You Ruined Christmas. Now What?

by Jason Toon

Once again, your sloth, indolence, and disregard for others have put the whole holiday season at risk. You waited too long to buy that Christmas gift from Woot, and now it won't be here in time. We shouldn't bail you out again like this. You'll never learn. But in the spirit of the season, please accept this PDF file suitable for printing out and giving in lieu of the actual, not-yet-arrived gift.

If we all wish real hard and believe with all our hearts, that one-page PDF might just be enough to save Christmas. You might want to print it on some enchanted elf paper or something, just to be on the safe side.

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Tuesday, November 24

Woot Inverted: Introducing Deals.Woot

by Jason Toon

Today is the first day of the greatest ecommerce experience of your life. This is the day everything changes forever. For this day is born Deals.Woot. And yea shall the mountains churn and the rivers crumble, and the crunchy shall lie down with the creamy, and-

Oh, wait, we should probably tell you how it works, huh? Deals.Woot is a community-driven vehicle for finding, sharing, discussing, and voting on the best deals anywhere outside of Woot’s e-walls. You read that right. It all happens without Woot selling you a single thing.

This is the mission our community has been training for: subjecting the rest of the Internet to the deal-seeking prowess you guys display so lethally in our forums every day. It’s Woot turned upside-down. Instead of us bringing the great deals to you, Deals.Woot is all about you bringing the deals to us. (And hundreds of thousands of your closest Woot friends.)

If you’re familiar with the submission and voting system of social news sites, Deals.Woot will look familiar to you. If you’re part of the deal-discussion communities that have been around since the dawn of the Web, Deals.Woot will sound familiar. And since we know you’re part of the Woot community, Deals.Woot should feel familiar.

Learn more at the Deals.Woot FAQ, or just by clicking around Deals.Woot. We’ll have more instructional stuff on how to intensify your Deals.Woot experience later. For now, have at it. Let the Deals.Woot era commence! Or should we say ecommence?

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