is a waste of money

I signed up for as part of some campaign to get a free Mac Mini. The whole site is a thinly-veiled attempt to get you to pay for stuff you could get free at lots of other places on the Internet. Fortunately, the one-month trial only cost me a dollar, and I’m supposed to get a $20 Lowe’s gift card out of it. I ought to come out ahead.

Their “Home Improvement” category offers four services:

  1. How-to guides.
  2. Coupons.
  3. Pre-screened Contractors.
  4. Decorating Secrets, Services, and Coupons Savings.

None of these things is compelling. In fact, they’re asking you to pay $9/month to have access to non-exclusive content that they pretty much recycle from free places on the web. Sigh.

How-to guides This is content they ripped off from other places, or bought. Either way, you can get it for free by searching around. All they have done is made fancy PDF files out of it. Frankly, HTML loads faster in your web browser. Their “value added” PDF files don’t add much value. Wilway Lumber Sales Inc., for example, has many of the same how-to guides, and you don’t have to pay for membership to their site.

Coupons They show 8 companies and say “Here are just a few of the Home Savings Coupon services offered:” Bah! It’s all of them. Whoopie. Here’s some examples of what you get:

  • Free roller and tray set with two-gallon paint purchase from MAB Paints. Looks like they’ve got stores in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, New York,North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. If you’re not in one of those states, you’re out of luck. Even if you are in one of those states, there’s only 3 or 4 stores in some of them. The chances of one being near you are pretty slim.

  • You can get $6 off an order of $25 or more from Gardener’s Supply Company. Here’s some nice non-exclusive, recycled content. You can get the same coupon plus various others for from

  • Members get $5 off the regular wholesale purchase price of one 2-gallon purchase of Duron® premium paint. There’s a limit of one coupon per customer per visit. Again, so what? If you already belong to AAA your AAA membership probably gets you a better deal than this. According to the AAA South web site their members save up to 30% on Duron manufactured paints and select sundries. AAA is an organization that has a much better track record of providing actual value to its members.

Pre-Screened Contractors Here’s another place where they don’t actually do anything. It boils down to 2 things: finding a contractor and Finding a REALTOR®. The REALTOR® finding service is just a link to which you don’t have to pay for anyways. The contractor finding site is the same kind of deal. It’s just a link to, which will match you with contractors and service providers for free anyways. Both ServiceMagic and are services from LendingTree who, again, will do lots of stuff for you for free.

Decorating Stuff This is nothing more than a PDF file with a single coupon worth 15% off at American Blind and Wallpaper Factory. Then they give you a link to the blinds and wallpaper web site. So what? You can get comparable coupons without paying for membership to a web site. Just search Google. Here’s an example.

The bottom line is that they ask you to pay for links to stuff that you can get for free. The moral you should take away from this is to search for this stuff on line before you go pay someone to do it for you. It might be worth a one-time $9 fee to get access to someone else’s work, but $9/month for access to this stuff is just outrageous.

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