Miscellaneous Rumbles

E-Commerce - When Did You First Start Buying Online?

1

I was thinking about some guitar parts I have purchased over the years and was thinking about how I bought some Custom '54 Strat pickups off Angela Instruments in 1999 from their website, well kind of. E-Commerce was sort of new back then. Yes you could buy off the internet then but it was nothing like it is now. I first was on the WWW in 1995 when AOL sent some disc to load on your computer and connect to them via dial up. It cost money to use them back then. I had no idea what the WWW was back then until I got this disc. Four years later I'm buying off Angela and eBay and maybe Amazon. By the way, a co-worker of mine got the same disc and he tried it and said he thought the internet was "stupid". Maybe back then it may seem but since then we all know it's a major part of our lives now and it's come a long way since dial up and AOL.

eBay according to what I read on the internet has been around since 1995. I joined in 1999. When I bought off Angela you couldn't check out online back then. Pretty much they had their parts listed and you would have to call them and order and then fax them your credit card information. It sounds primitive and why didn't they take that info over the phone at least? I don't know. In 2003 I bought a few guitars from Ishibashi Japan and you couldn't pay over the net you had to fax your CC info. Angela of course you can checkout online now and I am not sure about Ishibashi since they are a foreign company to us in the US so I'm not sure how that works at that site now. I suppose Angela didn't do online payment back in 1999 because e-commerce was still fairly new and they just weren't setup for it yet. I'm sure eBay was set up for it because I don't recall doing anything hokey like faxing CC info. I recall just paying, well actually paying with money order. Maybe you "checked out" then sent payment in via M/O, or maybe they were setup for online CC, not sure but I did a lot of M/O back then. I don't think PayPal was around then, or at least not utilized by eBay yet. I purchased some Lolllar pickups about 2004 and he also required me to fax CC info. Odd he didn't take it over the phone. I kid you not, that's how he did it. Haven't purchased a thing since then from him but he probably does online transactions by now.

As a matter of fact, in January of 2001 I purchased a Gretsch 6120 off eBay. It was used. It had flame maple, and of course it was pre-FMIC. Had more of a boxy body in my opinion than the FMIC era. It was okay but to me nothing special. The FilterTrons to me didn't sound good. Since then they improved them. I think I paid $1,200.

So I think the first online purchasing I did was about 1999 from eBay and Angela but as I said Angela was sort of online but required the faxing of info. Actually I remember how much the pickups were and I still have them. They were $109 for the Custom '54 pickups. Nice pickups. Amazon I believe I first heard of them in 1998. A friend showed me a small article about this new book seller called Amazon. I don't recall if I purchased from them in 1998 or when was the first time but of course the past 15 years I used them a lot.

What are your recollections about the early days of e-commerce and how it's changed and how primitive it was back then and what as your first or at least early purchases and when was it?

2

Usenet, postal orders, we were all very trusting back then.

3

I also started using the internet (AOL), in about 1999. My first internet purchase was memory cards, from Crucial.

Boy, those were the days, dial up modems and sudden disconnect, if someone picked up an extention phone! It was absolutely brilliant, but then again, we didn't know anything better.

4

I remember when I became a distributor of gold prospecting equipment, to get good placement on google or others you had to bid for clickthroughs, I shipped worldwide so for overseas orders we only took Western Union to be sure the revenue was good! My personal purchases have been mostly great, only got burned a couple of times. I thought I made a mistake when I received the 48 Gretsch but now I wouldn't trade it for anything!! Our payment was cleared through a place in Utah so when we received an order the money was already in our bank account.

5

I had internet at work before a computer at home. My ebay account goes back to 1997 so I guess I got online sometime around 96-97. Funny thing is that back then, my employer encouraged us to "play around with it"..... to familiarize ourselves with it. A lot of coworkers found out quickly that whitehouse dot com was NOT the official site of the White House!

My first internet guitar was actually bought through the GDP. There used to be a member called Firetone on here. Very knowledgable about Gretsches but he was opinionated and had a tendency to get into pissing matches with others. He turned me on to a 97 Green Setzer 6120 with Cowboy case for sale. I hooked up with the seller, sent the postal money order and it arrived a few days later in a huge Schwinn bicycle box. I put TV Classics and a TV harness in it, gold sperzels, gold V-cut B6, etc. Still have it to this day.

The thing that still amazes me about e-commerce is how you can buy some little something from China for 90 cents delivered and boom, a couple of weeks later, here it comes in your mailbox.

Edit: Had to change to whitehouse "dot" com. I forgot it would actually make a link to it!

6

I just went to whitehouse dot com on my phone. False alarm. It's some sort of Trump website now. It was originally a porn site.

7

I never got burned on eBay or any purchase on the web. I would send a money order and always received goods. Then I only do PayPal. Before PayPal and after M/O it was credit card on eBay.

I did once stop some scammers on eBay once tho. Not scamming me but scamming others.

I only had dial up until about 2002 I got DSL. But at work when our office got internet we were required to have a password to access it. I was in IT at the time so I was given it. It was a law firm. Only lawyers got it other than us in IT. Secretaries and other staff weren’t allowed. I think at work it was 1998 we got internet. By about 2000 they let everyone have internet so no password required. We didn’t have DSL but if I recall it was T1. T1 at the time was the fastest way to the internet.

I did a lot of stock day trading from work back then. I did a lot of eBaying too from work. 90% of my guitar and guitar parts were purchased from work. Those were the days.

8

Direct with Airlines late 90's. Travel sites like Expedia early 2000's. After that, I would use the internet to find goods I wanted, then call them direct, didn't buy online. About 2005 starting buying groceries, then Amazon. 2006 first ebay.

3rd ebay was a several thousand dollar fraud. It ended in my favor after a tremendous effort and I didn't buy on ebay for another 12 years or so.

I had one other non-ebay fraud where someone had mirrored another's site to swipe my order, then would take a hostage percentage from the vendor.

I found him, and his employer... he was doing it from work, on their server.

That was a fun chat when I told him I had figured his scam, and where he worked, and where he lived.

9

I think it was around 2003 that I made my first Ebay purchase. A Gibson LP Classic. Unfortunately after I received the guitar I began to get messages from other buyers of the same seller. Seems I was the last legitimate transaction before said seller began stealing buyers' money.

10

Back in my day, if we wanted to buy something off of the internet, we still had to walk through a foot of snow, uphill both ways, to the post office to buy a money order...

11

Direct with Airlines late 90's. Travel sites like Expedia early 2000's. After that, I would use the internet to find goods I wanted, then call them direct, didn't buy online. About 2005 starting buying groceries, then Amazon. 2006 first ebay.

3rd ebay was a several thousand dollar fraud. It ended in my favor after a tremendous effort and I didn't buy on ebay for another 12 years or so.

I had one other non-ebay fraud where someone had mirrored another's site to swipe my order, then would take a hostage percentage from the vendor.

I found him, and his employer... he was doing it from work, on their server.

That was a fun chat when I told him I had figured his scam, and where he worked, and where he lived.

– Twangmeisternyc

Nice! Tell us that he got fired....

12

First encountered the Internet, such as it was, in college in the early 1990's. I'd love to be able to say that I saw the immense potential there at the time, but, other than the ability to talk to others on CompuServe, I missed it.

First online purchase was in 1996, after a friend told me that you could get books cheap on some site called Amazon. Wonder what ever happened to them.

13

First encountered the Internet, such as it was, in college in the early 1990's. I'd love to be able to say that I saw the immense potential there at the time, but, other than the ability to talk to others on CompuServe, I missed it.

First online purchase was in 1996, after a friend told me that you could get books cheap on some site called Amazon. Wonder what ever happened to them.

– Timthom62

Tim, I remember CompuServe. My first internet experience was similar about 1990 as a CIS major and connecting to the Cal Poly Pomona mainframes via Kermit. I don’t think I used CompuServ tho. I connected via Kermit to submit computer code from home to the Cal Poly servers.

But my first practical experience with the web was as mentioned AOL in 1995.

14

Beyond the modem interconnect to our corporate mainframe late 80's early 90's for Orders and Forecasting, I remember we had both AOL and IBM Prodigy dial-up service for news, weather, etc.

I don't recall any way to search for goods and services.

And I was never much of a online game player either.

EDIT: I was on a "Mission from God" when I went after the guy that had charged my Credit Card after mirroring the other Website. Dealing with the ebay fraud made me somewhat insane. I don't know if he was fired, I just know he crapped in his pants when he met up with his boss afterwards.

15

I bought my first Gretsch locally around 1990, but since then, all but two have been shipped to me. Not a lot of pickings here in Southwest Wisconsin. In the '90s, I made a few purchases from the dealer listings in Vintage Guitar Magazine (more of a flyer back then). I think my first 100% online purchase would have been a 1961 Hofner Committee that I bought from notorious crooks at Music Ground in 1999. By the early oughts, I was a guitar buying and flipping maniac for about 10 years, and every transaction except for one was handled online.

16

My first online shopping experience was with dialup in the 90's. And it really was my wife's experience, mine came a couple of years later.

Karen is a collector of limited-edition "Barbie" dolls, some of which can retail for as much a $300, and out-of-production one can cost as much as some of my guitars.

Back in the early 90's, someone put her wise to the then-new Ebay experience and a process called 'sniping'. She got pretty good at it, grabbing a few for her collection at far less than they could have cost (and she lost a few as well).

But Ebay soon became a haven for folks who re-sold for a living, programmers came up with apps that were faster than humans and she ultimately went back to the old way of adding to her collection.

I think I finally put my card on the net to buy a music-transcribing program in 2009 or so.

17

Dont even know, but musta been mid-90s books from Amazon. I have mostly stopped going to brick and mortar stores and have never had a serious burn.

18

Dont even know, but musta been mid-90s books from Amazon. I have mostly stopped going to brick and mortar stores and have never had a serious burn.

19

Being a technophobe ,i didn't even own a computer until 2005,so some time after that i probably bought from Amazon first,books,cd's dvd's and the like. I was very concerned about putting my CC details on this thing,still am ,and i don't do internet banking .

I saw a Rickenbacker 360V64 6 string on the web ,but i phoned the shop and bought it that way.

First guitar i bought over the internet using a shops web site was in 2007, brand new Gretsch 6120 DSW.

20

JC, do you recall how much your 6120 DSW cost? Just curious the price of a new DSW back in 2007.

Do you still own it?

I bought a Gretsch Electomatic from Shanghai music about 2004 but I forgot how much it cost. I actually called them. I never purchased a new or used guitar online direct from the Web other than eBay. With Shanghai I probably saw the guitar on their website but called to do the order. Maybe in 2004 they may not have been setup for online orders but had a website. Or maybe they had online ordering but I just called in. Same with my new 2003 AVRI 1962 Jazzmaster I bought from EM Shorts. I still have it. I called and did some emails back and forth although I may have visited their website.

21

Seperate from all of this in a way, but I still wonder if I am the only one who feels this way, is the concept that by using online where local can and will do the same, p I am contributing to the ultimate demise of some local person's employment.

That bothers me. If something is simply not available in my area or by a simple phone call, then okay, maybe buying it online is appropriate. But I get nervous about our collective future whenever I wander up to a clerk in Store Z and ask about something I don't see on the shelves. More and more often, his or her answer will be: "Oh, you can just get it online..", or the one that sent me running from a local electronics retailer, delivered in a conspiratorial whisper- "You know that this is actually cheaper online, don't you?"

We hear about brick and mortar stores succumbing to the Big Boxes weekly and have been for some years now. NOW we hear about entire chains where customers come in, examine the wares, make a decision, then go home and buy it from some anonymous site in Asia for half the price! Lights, TVs, furniture, clothes watches, and even shoes are being bought this way by more and more people, all of whom seem to be far more interested in getting something for less than in keeping the people of their town employed.

It worries me. Not all the jobs that are lost are "McJobs" (ie- entry level). Skilled truckers who deliver to the stores no longer have a store to deliver to, the folks who went to school to learn how to keep those trucks running lose customers, wholesalers no longer move as many items to the retail sector, etc, etc, etc.

If the trend continues, I worry about the end result. Will we live in a world where retail is left to just the rare, the ultra-expense, the "boutique" items? And by the way, how the heck can you try on a pair of shoes online? I know, you can send 'em back, but the immediacy of being able to pick just the "right" pair is lost forever.

Like I said earlier, if it simply cannot be got nearby or is something one of a kind or rare, then okay, fill your boots. But every time an Amazon parcel gets delivered, maybe we should spare a thought for the poor store owner nearby who was unable to fulfill the sale?

22

Kevin, I agree with you. I try to by from brick and mortar when I can. Support real stores and those who work there. I didn’t think of those terms when I bought my Jazzmaster from EM Short. I am not sure why I didn’t buy it from say Sam Ash Music. They would have price matched. Or even better buy at a small guitar shop like Truetone Music. I like that shop.

These days I buy online still but if I can buy locally I’ll do that. Thing is you can’t always. All my Mosrites have been over the Net because the ones I wanted were all located elsewhere but if it’s a product I can find in a brick and mortar I’ll do it even if it cost more. But if it’s ridiculously more locally I’ll buy online but if it’s like 20% more locally I’ll still buy locally. I try to help local businesses.

23

96' was when I got my first PC and AOL account. I wish I could remember when I started buying online, prob that year by credit card. I'm trying to recall when Analogman.com started cuz I was buying and selling gear like a monster at that point. Hmm.. I may have started the pedal thing w the usenets like alt.effects.guitar or something like that back in the stone age.

24

I gave in and started buying some stuff on line less than ten years ago. My wife has been doing so since the 1990s. Reading an article today by the FBI about hacking and smart TVs, my concern about hacking appears to be justified.

25

When I heard what a search engine was in 1995, the first thing I typed in was "filtertron" because I wasn't happy with the stock ones in my '89 6120. Up popped TVJones and I was a very happy camper.

First purchase a little later, was Julie London's final album, Yummy Yummy Yummy, not to be found anywhere. You haven't lived until you've heard Julie sing Louie Louie.

I have not nor will I ever buy anything from Amazon because a) Jeff Bozos famously said "F___ independant bookstores" and b) Amazon treats their warehouse workers (and I've put in several years doing that work) like garbage. They are poor because he is rich.


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