For readers who remember the classic Father of the Bride scene where the wedding is almost called off because the groom bought a blender for the bride-to-be, there's a new service called Gift Girl, which might put an end to such mistakes. The site is designed to help men buy gifts for their female significant others by offering up a small, targeted selection of items for womenfolk, hand picked by the site's creators, one of whom, incidentally, has that newfangled XX chromosome.
Gifts are broken down into basic categories like jewelry, clothing, and "accessories." You can also browse according to the type of woman you're shopping for, a feature the Gift Girl calls "collections." There are 17 collections to choose from including "work and play" and "party and sports attire." My personal favorite is "morning drop-off girl" where the site pulls the cliche/sexist card, saying: "After making breakfasts, packing lunches, and doing drop-offs, it's directly to the gym for this busy girl." Yikes. Other collections offer a hodge-podge of items from the rest of the site's categories, letting the buyer bundle together related items.
My favorite parts of the site are how it not only breaks down which holidays suit a certain gift, but it also recommends relationship levels where said gift would be appropriate. For example, a pair of standard silver earrings are good for all holidays and relationships, but the diamond and platinum drop earrings are recommended only for long-term girlfriends or wives. This is a very specialized version of tagging, and the site's built-in search even lets you filter items by these specifications. There's also a tag for gifts best given when you've screwed up, and a higher tier for "screwed up (royally)."
The site makes its money by charging members $20 a year. For that price, members get access to the full catalog of listings, which is maintained and updated as site URLs and fashions change. Members also get access to a reminder system that enables users to add important events like birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions, and have the site send you a heads-up. Michael Pratt, one of the site's creators, also tells us they're working on getting together a wish-list service and profiles for gift recipients to help buyers figure out what to buy.
Pratt insists his wife is the brains of the operation, who with input from her friends, helps create the directory of items for sale. The two were fed up with other gift-giving services that used affiliate systems or sponsored merchant members and wanted to have full editorial control over what was offered, instead of pushing out things they might not like.
The service reminds me a little bit of MyShape, which Webware reviewed a few months back. That site compiled lists of clothing that would look good on you based on your exact measurements. There's also Gifts.com, which also offers gift collections by using a series of either/or questions based on occasion or personality.