What's the best way to draw people to a new Web site? Give them something for free.
What's the best way to tick them off? Run a server that can't handle the load.
Deal Fisher is in the process of learning both these lessons. The just-launched deal wrangler is offering a free "feather" stylus for touch-screen devices, a $9.99 value. They'll even cover the shipping; all you have to do is register on the site and like Deal Fisher on Facebook.
A couple of problems, though. First, there appears to be no direct link between the company's Facebook page and its Web store. In other words, nothing happens after you "like" their page; apparently now you're just entitled to go and place your order for the stylus. (If they don't find any record of your "like," they reserve the right to cancel your order.) This isn't a huge deal, it's just confusing.
Second, the site's been so slammed with traffic, it took me quite a few tries to successfully register, and as of now I'm still getting errors when I try to check out. At least the company appears to be on top of it, as noted in this Facebook update: "Due to the heavy influx of Web site traffic, we are experiencing difficulties with our server which may be affecting the FREE gift sign-up process. We apologize for this complication and are working to fix this error ASAP - Thanks for your patience and please stay tuned for our latest update!
I've seen this kind of thing before. Freebies typically set the Interwebs on fire, resulting in traffic-crushed servers and, ultimately, angry users. No doubt many will accuse Deal Fisher of bait-and-switch tactics, of promising a free stylus just so they can harvest e-mail addresses.
I really don't think that's the case here. And before you get all hot and bothered because you're having trouble getting something for free, ask yourself this: Do you really need a touch-screen stylus? Especially one that's shaped like a feather on top and is therefore probably a little uncomfortable to hold? Just saying.
If you're wondering why I'm giving Deal Fisher any ink at all, it's because the company appears to be offering some genuinely good deals, including the Fitbit Wireless Personal Trainer for $54.99 shipped and the Creative D200 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker for $59.99 shipped. Both are new, not refurbished, and both are the lowest prices I could find.
Even more impressive, they have the Sonos Play:3 wireless speaker for $199.99 shipped. It's nearly impossible to find this for less $299 anywhere else. If this is representative of the kinds of deals Deal Fisher aims to offer, you can bet I'll be checking in regularly.
FYI, I finally reached the checkout page for my free stylus, but every time I click Place Order Now, it either bounces me back to my shopping cart or produces an error message. According to a company rep, these technical difficulties should be ironed out "within an hour or so."
Meh. No harm done. In the meantime, I'm trying to decide if I should get that original Fitbit or hold out for a deal on one of the newer models. Your thoughts?