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I read in the paper today that Stelios "easyJet" Haji-Ioannou is dating diminutive Aussie pop-reject princess Dannii Minogue! Shocked me anyway! *Insert cruel joke here*
Anyway, tabloid tittle-tattle isn't the purpose of this review, I'm here to look at easyvalue.com, the latest in a line of internet price comparison engines which guide you to the website with the best deal for whatever you're buying.
According to the website, easyvalue.com is "Your shortcut to the best prices online". However, we all know that so-called short cuts often end in dead-ends and three-point turns in narrow terraced streets.
The website has a nice friendly message from Stelios about the purpose of easyvalue.com, which unfortunately makes no mention of his relationship with Dannii. Where did they meet? On a Luton-Amsterdam flight? These and other questions remain unanswered.
Easyvalue.com promises that you can compare prices on CDs, books, DVDs, videos, video games, life insurance, property and personal organisers. Quite a comprehensive list really. The site is decked out in the familiar easyJet orange and white, and looks quite respectable.
The website has a tutorial section showing you how to use it, although basically all you do is type in the title of whatever you are looking for and see what results come up.
Unfortunately the search system appears to be fairly pathetic. Earlier today I was trying to find the cheapest site selling the CD "Smash the System" (the best of St Etienne). So off I go to easyvalue.com, and type "Smash the System", and start a search in the music section.
It only takes a few seconds for a list of CDs to appear. Hooray! Unfortunately the first few CDs listed are:
"Sounds Magic" by Afro Celt Sound System "Sound System Dub" by Alpha and Omega "Toxicity" by System of a Down
"Smash the System" appears nowhere in the list of 30 CDs, and when I type "Saint Etienne" there are no results at all. It is only when I try "St Etienne" that the CD is clearly listed (albeit as the 21st result).
The prices for the CD provided are equally baffling - only about 4 of the 14 or so retailers stocked the CD, with prices ranging from £14 to minus £1. Buying a CD for minus £1? The website proudly informs me that this is a "107.11% saving"! Either it's a very bad CD that they can't even give away, or there's a problem with easyvalue.com.
I did a test to see what prices easyvalue.com threw up for the latest Jamiroquai CD, and to be fair it did come up with CDWow selling it for £8.99. Another good part of easyvalue.com is that it shows all P&P costs, so you know exactly how much you will pay. However, when I did a search for Jamiroquai I was told that Amazon, HMV, Tesco and WHSmith provided no results. I can't believe that these sites are not stocking the UK's No.1 album, and this would suggest more gremlins in easyvalue.com.
For the next test I tried searching for "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire". Easyvalue.com said it had no results. Well, the book is a bit of a rarity after all. Next I tried "The Dog Listener" by Jan Fennell (our Jack Russell needs therapy!), and thankfully easyvalue.com came up with a few places selling it, the cheapest being Amazon at £10.24, quite a good saving on the £14.99 cover price. I also searched for this book at www.bookbrain.co.uk to see if they came up with anywhere cheaper, but the price wasn't beaten.
Finally I looked for a DVD. I looked for "The Matrix" but alas, no joy. No results for "Snatch" either. Or "The Cider House Rules". Oh well.
So overall I'm not too impressed, although a 107.11% saving on a CD is admittedly the best I've seen in my entire life! The website doesn't even seem to recognise the most widely known books or films. Maybe Stelios has had his mind on other things now that he's with Dannii. Easyvalue.com is a site to be avoided at all costs.