Analysts say 6 million households will start buying online this holiday season. But how to get started? Here are a few sites for building confidence and shopping with ease.
This guide to online shopping includes "Online Shopping 101" for beginners, with an article on credit card safety. There is also advice on whom to call when you run into trouble, and the site posts helpful scam alerts.
Additional general advice about online shopping can be found here. The nice lawyers at the American Bar Assn. tell how to watch out for your privacy, provide links to an agency that takes complaints and give a checklist of Web shopping tips, including "trust your instincts."
Comparison-shopping is pretty easy on BizRate. We looked for Bob Dylan's classic "Blonde on Blonde" recording and got 16 offers for CDs, priced from $6.99 to $28.47. There was a travel page, too, but no apparent way to search for a deal. It highlighted a few special offers, though, and provided links to travel sites such as Expedia and Travelocity.
If you want an autographed copy of the 1966 "Blonde on Blonde" vinyl record, you'll have to go to EBay, which was offering just that when we looked. The auction price stood at $89, but the "Buy It Now" price was $329.
Big-time Web retailer Amazon.com gives users the chance to add items to a "wish list." Once you have such a list of all the extravagant stuff you want, just direct your family and pals to Amazon, where they plug in your name or e-mail address and make a selection from your list. You and Santa never had it so good.