I’m asked to take a look at WarrantyElephant.com and provide you, my pithy readers, a review of this online reminder site.
I can honestly say I like the concept: you register your warranties with the site and just like a pachyderm, it remembers your purchases. It will even email you when the warranty is ready to expire so you can extend it or just forget it. Now you can place all your warranties in one place, digitally!
I like the concept because it reminds me of 2001, just before the big internet bubble collapse.
This site sounds genuinely excited to help and wants you to provide them with a crapload of information about how much expensive product you might have at your home. While I thought this might be a security concern, there was no invasive personal info collected when you sign up. After registering (twice – first confirmation email never arrived) I wondered if Warranty Elephant had some magical twist that would make me actually dig out a warranty card (which I rarely fill out) and fill in all the blanks. Like some autofill feature that if I just entered “Samsung, HDTV, Plasma” it would provide me with an array of model numbers to choose from. Unfortunately Warranty Elephant isn’t very feature rich at the moment.
I realize I’m asking a start up site to have something like every single model number of every gadget/gizmo out there – highly unfeasible. But in review, the site held no spark or clever coding that would make a Venture Capitalist beg to toss cash at. The site requires you to copy down information already stored away in a mess of a drawer somewhere. If I was anal I’d probably ‘gasm out with typing in each and every number and letter of the serial numbers from my purchases. But I’m no where near that anal.
What would be nice is if the site emailed you product upgrade notices/new models/online operating manuals for the product you register, which could be sent a day or two after you list your warranties. A spider crawl through the site and semantic searching could communicate more information about the products you store with them, as payoff for taking the time to register.
In wandering around the site, I got nostalgic for the pre-internet bubble days when commercial site ideas flew across the web like fez-capped winged monkeys. Where fully functional free service sites were vacated as soon as someone mentioned “paid subscription”. I started to wonder how the site creators of Warranty Elephant can afford this kind of server space and development. No ads… plenty of “We swear to Shiva we don’t rent or sell our email lists!!!” in block letters… no “premium” service… No indication at all how they make their money.
I guess they forgot that part.