Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Beijing blur

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Australian Olympic athletes will be given contact lenses to fight the bad Beijing air. Johnson & Johnson will be providing lenses with UV filters. At the very least, it's a great publicity stunt.

I would have thought that Nike Max Tints would have been in the running for this one...

Another VisionDirect.com Offer

The guys at VisionDirect.com are at it again, with a 10% off (coupon code HURRY10) through November 13th.

VisionDirect's mother company, Drugstore.com, saw it's stock price rise to the $3.50 mark, after falling as low as $2.35 earlier in the year. Their 3rd quarter results were still in the red, but down to only 2 cents per share, and they expect a "breakout" 4th quarter. In any case, at a guess, they are doing well in their contact lens division.

Monday, October 29, 2007

CooperVision Learning

CooperVision has a free online learning center for people who work in the optical branch - both for opticians and for non-specialists. All you need is a CooperVision Business Partner number to register on the site and sign up for the courses.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Nike Max Tints

Nike? Selling sports contact lenses? Here's a short news report video on YouTube. NikeVision also has more info and a PR video.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

DMOZ

In my continuing effort to make sure users can find us wherever they look, I submitted VisionDirect.co.uk to DMOZ (the site needs to be reviewed before it's actually added to the list, so don't expect VisionDirect to appear for a couple of weeks yet).

DMOZ (a.k.a. Open Directory Project) was started in 1998, and has a checkered and interesting history outlined on Wikipedia.

It's about time we're there!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Royal Mail

Royal Mail expects that the offer they made to the union will be put up for a vote to the 130,000 members of the CWU, and all strike actions called off until the results are in. They expect it to take about a week for service to get back to normal, and about a month to know whether the union accepts the offer or not. For up-to-date info, check out Royal Mail's Industrial Action Update page, or follow the story on the BBC News site.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

CoastalContacts->Lensway

Sorry I haven't been posting lately - I've been hanging out on the MoneySavingExpert cheap contact lens forum reading what buyers have to say (and showing them why I think VisionDirect.co.uk has the best contact lens service). I've learned a lot, and it's fun to see how well VisionDirect.co.uk stacks up against the competition.

Now back to the grindstone: I received an interesting mail today saying "CoastalContacts.co.uk has changed to Lensway.co.uk!". I can't find any reference to this on their websites, but the email says "As of October 10th Coastal Contacts will transition customers to LensWay".

So, I went over to the LensWay site to compare prices. LensWay claims that "this month we have lowered our prices", and claim a 9% discount on Soflens One Day. However, their price (26.90 GBP per box plus 3.50 in shipping = 30.40 GBP), even with a discount, is higher than VisionDirect.co.uk (27.50 GBP plus free shipping = 27.50), whose price is TEN PERCENT cheaper.

Your best bet for cheap contact lenses continues to be VisionDirect.co.uk.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pounds, Shillings and Pence

Pounds, Shillings and Pence - funny words for a Yankee like me. I was raised on Ben Franklin's quotes, which favored a different currency - "A penny saved is a penny earned". Later, I got an effective financial education from the school of hard knocks, my boss while working in Germany that taught me about investments, and my ex wife who is an expert penny pincher (Catalans have a tough reputation here in Spain on money matters).

However, for me, the holy grail of finance has always been Andrew Tobias' "The Only Investment Guide You'll Even Need". It has served me well through good and bad financial times, and I've bought at least a dozen copies for friends and family. There are better books for pure investment, but Andrew's holistic approach to money have deeply enriched my understanding of the subject.

Which is why I took an instant liking to Martin Lewis and MoneySavingExpert. From the little I've read about him so far, he seems like a UK version of Andrew Tobias, with a zeal for finding the best deals for the consumer. He has a page dealing with Cheap Contact Lenses which he updated quarterly. Although I think that it's unfair to the consumer that Lensbase does not appear more prominently, and VisionDirect.co.uk does not appear at all, I will definitely join in the forum and see what I can learn. I highly recommend that you join his newsletter, and I hope that I can prove to him that we're on the consumer's side.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Daysoft

The Herald had an interesting story about Daysoft, and their hope to become a major supplier of contact lenses direct from the factory to the customer.

The IDEA is interesting - of course they are able to have the cheapest prices - but I feel Ron Hamilton (the creator) is forgetting two major points. First, if opticians know that Daysoft will be selling directly to the customers for reorders, why the heck would they recommend Daysoft to their clients?
I would be interested in knowing just what percentage of contact lens wearers go back to their optician for reorders. Perhaps if this percentage is very low and getting lower, Daysoft might be on to something.

Second (and much less important), shipping within the U.K. is fairly easy - if you want to ship outside of there, things get MUCH more complicated.

Mr. Hamilton, any comments?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Why Pay More?

I just got an email from ASAD asking "Why Pay More?", and they are just so right!!!! They advertise Focus Dailies at 18 GBP for 30 lenses, while the same contact lenses are sold by VisionDirect.co.uk for 12.50 GBP! VisionDirect.co.uk sells for 30% off a price that ASAD thinks is worth making a big fuss about!!!!

So, ladies and gentlemen, why pay more? They may beat SpecSavers, but they don't come anywhere near VisionDirect.co.uk.

For the best prices, service, security and fastest delivery of your contact lenses, make sure you go with VisionDirect.co.uk. Tell them Ed sent you!

Writing and Discounts

Hey, it looks like I've been doing this blogging thing all wrong. Why spend time staying current on trends, examining sites, and writing articles when I can just BUY articles from ISnare? Or even better, just do web searches and report the results like Contact Lens Online Guide? ISnare is at least a good idea - a service for those that want to be lazy. However, Contact Lenses Online Guide appears to be a simple regurgitation of other people's work. Whatever, if it makes money...

One site that I like (but, unfortunately, is USA only) is ContactSavings.com and their companion blog. The main site is a price comparison of products (well, at least products of the companies with which they have an affiliate agreement), and the blog (which is perfect to get via a feed reader) has all the latest offer codes from the companies. Nice idea. Wish I had time to do the same! Let's see if they can stay impartial knowing that their money is coming from the ecommerce sites themselves via their affiliate programs.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

VisionDirect.com Fall Sale

On VisionDirect.com, you can get 10% off orders of $99 or over with coupon code TENFALL till October 16th, or 15% off Halloween lenses with coupon code TREAT15 until October 31st.

VisionDirect.com's mother company, DrugStore.com, has seen it's stock price edging up since the mangement shakeup this spring. Although still off it's 1 year high, it's up from $2.40 to $3.25 per share. Not bad, not bad. I should have bought their shares when their new CFO from Wawa came in!

If you want something scary for this Halloween season, read here and here about how buying contact lenses from the U.S.A. can leave you suffering. If you want contact lenses from a trusted supplier at an excellent price and with great service, try the UK VisionDirect (not related) instead.

Monday, October 01, 2007

LensCases

I just found LensCases, and my jaw dropped due to the main site image. We have Spanish business cards printed with the same image, which is one of the stock items from VistaPrint. I'm not sure VistaPrint would be very happy, but since it appears that the gift certificates that LensCases give out are printed by VistaPrint, I guess it's alright ;->

LensCases does not have a PageRank yet, the way back machine does not have any info on the web site (the first time that I've seen that for a web shop), the copyright for the site is 2007, and all the products that I checked were added to their catalogue in September of 2007, so it looks brand spanking new. The "About us" page says they've been in business since 2005.

The site is written in PHP using Zen Cart as a base, and is average speed with old-style (i.e. non-SEO friendly) product URLs. They don't appear to be using Google AdWords, but they were smart to get on Froogle.

In all, a decent start for a new niche shop. I think I'll talk to my clients about ordering wholesale from them ;->

TradeDoubler / ASDA Spam Cleaned Up

The deceptive redirects via TradeDoubler to ASDA have been taken off Google Product Search. I'm not sure WHO cleaned it up - I never got a reply to my emails - but at least it's gone. As far as I can tell, there are now no "fake" shops on Google Product Search.