Master Tactician

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The Online Pathfinder
- John Doe

A Buyer’s Guide to the Internet

Christmas is just around the corner and along with thoughts of vacation, come thoughts of holiday spending. Whether it is that new outfit you are looking forward to wearing or that new smartphone you are dreaming of, many people are leaning towards online shopping portals to beat the heat — and hopefully score a good deal.

E-commerce has taken over like a wildfire for a growing number of Filipinos. Ever since eBay became popular, millions of people have come to rely on it and put their trust in it, whether to earn money by selling their stuff or to save money by finding cheap online bargains.

In the Philippines, similar websites have proliferated, such as Sulit.com, TipidPC.com, and Shopinas.com, and the special interest discussion groups brought together by online forums on top of the intensive usage by Pinoys of Facebook and Twitter, as the medium of choice for online buying and selling.

Products sold over the Internet are cheap compared to the ones sold in malls or other establishments. A whole lot cheaper, for sure. This is because sellers have a smaller overhead: they don't have to pay rent for shop stalls and other fees. That hard-to-find collector’s edition item may just be available out there.

Definitely, there are top-of-the-line online shops where you can order brand new products online but gradually and surely more people prefer the online market — perhaps we can even call them cyber-bazaars or cyber-fleamarkets — where ordinary people can sell personal, hand-made, reconditioned, and even one-of-a-kind items.

Even though it may sound like a good deal, you should be mindful of some particular things:

1. Logistics. If possible, keep it within your locality.

Getting an item shipped to you might be convenient. But remember, there are shady people out there who pretend to be selling stuff but will not send anything at all once they have received your payment....
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