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Froople Buying Online

Boot Camp feature for Friday, December 12, 2003

It's a busy season for buying online. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Consumers in the U.S. are expected to spend nearly 18 billion dollars online... when the numbers are tallied for November and December... .a 21 percent increase over last year according to Jupiter research. The convenience factor... and offers of free shipping... are helping to drive sales. The American Homeowners Association is offering free trial memberships to its Froople.com comparison shopping site. Buyers through the site are eligible for rebates of up to 25 dollars on shipping charges and identity theft protection. Association President Richard Roll says while many consumers have become more comfortable with online buying...

"What still is getting in the way of a lot of people is the high cost of shipping and their concerns about identity theft. So what we've done is created a service for people that lets them, in one place, shop online the way that they want to shop. Whether it's by products, or by category, or directly by store."

After a free 30 trial... membership in the association... which includes the Froople site... is about a hundred dollars a year. Some credit cards offer similar benefits... and the comparison data used by Froople comes from its partner, Shopping.com, which is free. What could make membership worthwhile are other AHA benefits those who join are entitled to. The ceiling on online shipping rebates is 500 dollars a year. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.