eCost is an El Segundo based whole seller of new, refurbished, and discontinued merchandise. They are a publicly traded company (Nasdaq: PFSW), and have been around since the early 2000's, this review has come in the wake of my holiday season and not being sure where to get the best deal on all sorts of electronics. So here is a brief overview:

You get on the site and there a too much going on from blazing fires in the corner to 10 large ads trying to sell me on the newest gizmos. In reality this is not all bad, I did come here looking to purchase stuff so I was ready for the visual barrage. Next I ran a few searches and noticed that they seem to carry just about every electronic gadget on the market and best of all their prices were usually cheaper than the vast majority of the stores on Google Shopping (I still miss the catchy name of Froogle).

Upon checkout you come to realize you must have an account, this annoys me but I do realize the utility in storing user information. Right before attempting to complete the transaction I get an offer for "Platinum Premium" membership where they assure me that I will get better deals for only $39.95/year! If this doesn't irritate me enough it says that if I am upgrading from their old Platinum membership I only have to pay $8.95 to become a Platinum Premium member. This leaves me wondering how excited will eCost be when a new element more valuable than Platinum is invented so they can charge even more for "member benefits." And how long will it take eCost to change form "New Element Membership" to "New Element Premium Membership?"

I am never a fan of buying something (ie membership) before buying something (ie digital camera). Overall I could have see eCost being a solid site and a major competitor for the new meta-search technology of sites like Google Shopping but with memberships alienating their users I have doubt eCost will ever have a major impact on how we buy our electronics...

I wonder what is selling today?