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I first came across this site way back in the dark dark ages of the 20th Century somewhere in the region of 1998/99.
I was desperately trying to find a video that had become obsolete in the UK and I was often seen in pawn shops or video shops looking through their old video selections trying to find it. For those interested the film is called “Streets of Fire” and I will do a review on this as soon as I get some time.
I was getting desperate to try and find this video and did many searches on the title for the results to only tell me that you could only get this on US format VHS or on DVD. There is something about getting an original film on VHS so I persisted on trying to find it in this format.
One day I came across this site called BlackStar and was immediately impressed with the information on the page. It’s changed over the years and looks a lot more informative now than it used to but it must have been good first time round as it attracted my attention straight away. As I was trawling through the site and doing a search on the film I so desperately wanted I noticed a ‘Video Hunt’ facility that they offered. I thought I’d give it a try and see what happens.
What the Video Hunt does is basically what it says. BlackStar do the donkey work for you and search the shops, pawn shops and general second hand shops for you. You simply search for the video you want and if it’s not available they then ask if you want them to hunt for you, it’s as simple as that.
The facility gives you a report each month on the status of your hunt and tells you if it’s made any progress in the elusive search. A month passed, 3 months passed, 6 months passed and still no luck, I was beginning to think that I would never find this video and have to revert to the DVD option. Then out of the blue I received a phone call.
“Hello, this is BlackStar and we have found a copy of the film you required”
I thought WOW! I was just about to give up on this and drown my sorrows in DVD and then this voice of fantastic news came through.
He explained to me that the video was an ex-rental copy and was not brand new as I requested. Ok I thought, they have taken over 6 months just to find this copy and it’s highly unlikely they will find a brand new copy so I accepted the offer. The phone call was to drop the bombshell of the price for a second hand video. £22.49 plus post and packing making a total of £23.99. I asked if I could think on this, as it seemed a bit steep only for him to say, well it is fast becoming a collector’s item and they have people waiting in the queue for this and would take it. Not wanting to lose the video I have long searched for I accepted the offer and 3 days later I finally had a copy of the film.
Since meeting my new partner of 2 years I have used this hunt facility to track down many videos for our children and as yet I have not been let down by this facility.
The site itself is very informative and I will now try and run through as many of the points, good and bad that I have found with BlackStar.
Good Points -----------
The general look of the site is good and to a programmers point of view the first page is the selling point. It has to be appealing, quick to open and above all tell the customer what they are looking for. To me, this site is all this.
At the top of the page is the name and function buttons to navigate the site quickly. If you know what you’re looking for they have a drop-down menu for BlackStar Services, this is where the Video Hunt can be found amongst others such as Order Status, Gift Certificates, Returns to name but a few. There is also a search facility to get to that elusive Video or DVD if you’re not sure of the main title.
Down the left are the recent releases with a detail account just a click away of the movie along with a chart of the most popular buys at BlackStar.
Down the middle are the forthcoming movies and the coming soon for all those people eager to know when their favourite film will be available.
Down the right are the offers for those people wanting to save the odd pound here and there.
One of the many things that hits you with this site is that you’re drawn to the offers and bargains because of the red bold writing. It is well known that red is the colour that most people will be drawn to as it stands out so well, after all, why do you think Fire Engines are red ;-) They have some great offers like half price DVD’s, £5.99 DVD’s and £7.99 DVD’s. Obviously now, the market is more aimed at the DVD industry as Video’s do lose their quality after a while. There are lots of offers on the site and to be honest if I was to name them all I’d bore the pants off you. Go and have a look for yourself and see what I mean.
Bad Points ----------
The only really bad point in my mind is that the new releases and Video Hunts can be pricey. They are dearer than if you were to go direct to the shop and you also have the post and packing to add on as well.
All in all a great site and a must if you can’t find that Video that is missing from your archive. There is something about having that original Video in your collection so if you’re a nut like me and wish to get a Video that’s hard to get then go to BlackStar, you won’t be disappointed.