Compiling a Christmas wish list to give my husband is somewhat of a chore. As any such list involves music and gift ideas for our precious pup, the hubby demands the exact name of products and exactly where he can purchase them. When a friend told me about ShopWiki.com, I thought I’d hit pay dirt. By crawling the Web and snagging virtually every purveyor of a myriad of products, ShopWiki.com offers a one-stop online shopping center. But, knowing my husband’s exacting nature, I decided to test the site first.
The Home page offers broad categories of products, including Music, which I clicked. The Links on the Home page take you to articles with a wealth of valuable information and Links directly related to the product category. In my case, having eschewed commercial radio for the past twenty years, I then clicked the Indie (Independent) Rock link, curious about artists I’d yet to discover. I was taken to the following site: http://pitchfork.com/. One of the first things to pop up was a review of Tom Waits’ “best of” compilation, Glitter and Doom. Although Rod Stewart covered and scored a hit with Tom’s Downtown Train many moons ago, and although I’m familiar with some of Tom’s music, I don’t believe that the world at large knows this gravel-voiced New Yorker who once told Musician magazine that the sound of the cover going down over the toilet in the recording studio was suddenly more interesting to him than an expensive drum kit (an observation that those of us grateful for innovation appreciated). So, score one for ShopWicki for leading me to an article showcasing an uncompromising indie artist.
But further down the page, I found a Spotlight on U2′s The Unforgettable Fire. I love Bono and Company to pieces, but U2 is not indie. They recorded this album under the Island label, which has hosted a number of luminaries, including Steve Winwood. Under this Spotlight I found, among other things, interviews with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, genius producers of atmospheric The Unforgettable Fire. I was happy to find these interviews, but again, U2 is about as far from indie as Earth is from Alpha Centuri.
I then returned to the ShopWiki’s original Music page and clicked Rock in the very first menu that popped up. I was taken to http://www.rock.com/, which offered a wide range of music videos as well as a news feed. While I hadn’t known that Steven Tyler had broken away from Aerosmith (and had done it online), I was looking for CD’s, not videos or the news. I bounced back to the original Music page and typed Karl Wallinger into the search box (Wallinger is the near one-man band, singer, and songwriter behind World Party).
The only disk listed under his name was Big Blue Ball, a recent and long-time coming collaboration with Peter Gabriel and a slew of others. I then typed World Party into the search box and retrieved a page that turned out to be a catch-all for Wallinger’s work as well as Disney’s World of Cars Deluxe World Party Kit, Worms World Party (a Game Boy video game), a disco-esque mirror ball party kit, a CD by Bob Marley’s kid Ziggy, and other, non-music related merchandise. When I clicked on the title of an early World Party CD, Private Revolution, I was given the option to purchase the CD from two online sources. There was a $5+ price difference between the two, the higher of which was an approved Shopwiki vendor. Criteria for approved status include direct positive feedback (from customers, I assume), fair pricing, and listing with the Better Business Bureau.
Expanding my search of the ShopWiki site, I decided to look into gifts for our furry friends. An animal lover, I was anxious to see what advice and gift ideas I could get on products for the dogs who enhance our lives. Here, I found helpful articles covering care, feeding, grooming, and housebreaking of dogs as well as products within those a a variety of other categories.
As anyone who owns a dog can attest, accidents will happen. Particular about the way I keep my home, I perused the stain remover category where I found more products than I knew existed to deal with these little problems, including the one that I regularly use. Taking note of this page, however, I will check back for more information about other products that may be more effective or less costly.
But, with the Holidays coming, I wanted to spend most of my time looking at dog toys that will make our puppy as happy as she makes us. A look at this buying guide is like viewing the old Holiday catalogs produced by Sears and other retailers. The details and available toys are virtually limitless. Here, you will find a “top ten” list of toy categories and thousands of different toys and where you can purchase them. Finding the right item for your dog has never been easier!
Overall, my foray into the site proved it to be comprehensive, and more than I’d bargained for when searching for Music and Dog Care products. Clicking on other Links, I found informative articles and products of interest in categories including Computers & Software, Electronics, and even Clothing. With so much available information, ShopWiki will certainly be my primary source for online shopping this Holiday season and in the future.