Consumer’s Guide To Downloadable Gifts


There is one major exception: Apple doesn’t yet allow you to give e-books as gifts via iTunes. And as with giving Kindle e-books, gifts from iTunes are delivered when you pay for them, making advance holiday shopping a challenge.

Details at

Groupon, LivingSocial and other group-discount sites
Some of the most-talked-about startups are group-buying sites, and Groupon, which just went public, is king of the heap. These companies send emails to their members every day advertising a special deal at a local shop, restaurant, spa or other business, usually something along the lines of, “$10 for $20 worth of donuts.” Once you buy a deal, it’s stored in your account. When you’re ready to use it, you can either print out the voucher and turn it in, or you can pull it up using a smartphone app once you’re in the store.

The number of Groupon-esque sites is growing by the day; if you’re interested but don’t know where to start, you can sign up with a deal aggregator like Yipit, which collects all the deals in your area in a single email.

If you see a deal that will make a perfect gift, Groupon and LivingSocial make it pretty easy. Both show “give as a gift” options right on the main deal page.

When you click to purchase a Groupon, an email goes to the recipient. If you would rather make it a surprise, you can send it to yourself, then print and hand it over later. Groupons are almost all transferable, even though the name of the buyer will remain on the voucher. Just be sure to look over the fine print to confirm. If one of your recipients is all about Groupons, but you don’t see a deal you know she’ll like, the company also sells gift cards.

With LivingSocial, once you buy a deal, you can also go into your account later and opt to give something as a gift. This site lets you set a date for delivery, making it easier to surprise your recipient. There are some quirks in the LivingSocial gifting process. For one thing, if you say you’re going to print out the voucher, but then change your mind, you won’t be able to email it as a gift later. Good thing there’s a pretty detailed “help” section on the site.

Now, using coupons and discounts to buy gifts isn’t new. But when you give the gift of Groupon, the recipient will know you paid less.

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Posted by on Dec 1st, 2011 and filed under American Street Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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