If you make frequent online purchases using big-name retailers, such as Amazon, BestBuy, and Walmart, then you probably know about the deal finding sites SlickDeals and Fatwallet. A little known secret is that all the deal-hunting websites publish their best finds online through RSS feeds. The amount of deals found in these feeds staggers the mind. Unfortunately, if you’re searching for a single item in a huge pile of information, it’s like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Fortunately, the web apps Yahoo Pipes, Google Reader, or IFTTT, provide a means of ditching the haystack metaphor and serving up the random junk you crave on a silver platter. However, before reading further, first you should know what RSS does. The initials stand for “really simple syndication”, which many a web denizen has heard of but never used. With RSS, great amounts of information can be sent via subscription to you.
This article will explain two methods for extracting great deals from sites that specialize in finding sales. The first process uses Google Reader and RSS feeds from major deal-finding sites. The second method uses Yahoo Pipes combined with IFTTT. Both methods require only a small amount of your time in setting up.
Throughout the first and second parts of this article we use RSS feeds from three major deal-hunting websites: SlickDeals, FatWallet and TechBargains. Although many other deal-hunting sites exist, we’ll focus on the three provided because of their size, quality and speed of updates. Also, for all examples, we’ll use the term ‘SSD’ as the item that we’re filtering for, although any search term may substitute for it.
For those who want to experiment further, you can find RSS directories in the links below:
Method 1: Searching With Google Reader
In short, we will add the RSS feeds from several deal-hunting RSS feeds to Google Reader. Then we’ll input the term “SSD” into Reader and run its search feature.
To get started, you must have a Google account. If you don’t, sign up here, then navigate to Google Reader. Once in Google Reader, copy and paste the following RSS links into the subscribe box, by clicking on “subscribe“:
You should see an empty box, after clicking on subscribe. Paste the RSS link into it as indicated:
You can add an unlimited number of feeds: the more RSS links added, the better your search results.
Repeat the cutting and pasting for each of the supplied RSS links.
Now, for the next step input the term “SSD” into the “Search Reader” box at the top of the screen. Then hit the magnifying glass icon or hit enter.
After searching, Reader will output all recent items featured on the three sites pertaining to SSDs. I find this particular method useful for both price comparisons or for when I need a deal immediately.
The next method functions better for getting immediate notifications on a particular product.
Method 2: Yahoo Pipes & IFTTT
Yahoo Pipes can aggregate multiple RSS feeds while IFTTT, which stands for “if this then that”, can perform certain actions based on predefined criteria. In our example, IFTTT sends an e-mail whenever it detects the presences of a particular key term embedded within an RSS feed.
Yahoo Pipes generates an aggregated RSS feed composed from most Internet online retailers’ RSS feeds. This aggregated feed is sent to IFTTT, which sends e-mails to us if our keyword is detected in the RSS feed. As complex as this sounds, in reality, setup is quite simple.
The first step is signing up for an IFTTT account. After that, navigate to kshwetabh’s Ultimate Deal Finder for SSDs IFTTT recipe. This particular recipe, as explained above, uses Yahoo Pipes combined with IFTTT.
After clicking on the recipe link, scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click “Use Recipe”. IFTTT will then automatically e-mail you anytime the term SSD appears in the Pipes’ feed.
Optionally, you may scroll to the middle of the screen and change SSD to the search term of your choice, for example, “Ultrabook“. IFTTT will then send you e-mails pertaining to that particular item.
If you are looking for the best deals on any specific piece item, at a discounted price, one of the best ways to go about getting it is through RSS. The sheer volume of RSS feeds can overwhelm the normal user, which is why software that can filter such information, such as Google Reader or Yahoo Pipes combined with IFTTT, can provide great value and potentially huge cash savings.
Let us know in the comments if you have any other sources and methods for saving money online.
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