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Businesses The Almighty Buck Hardware

Geeks.com Online Shop Has Closed 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the fare-thee-well dept.
Duggeek writes "After 17 years, one of the best kept secrets in shopping, Geeks.com, has shuttered its online doors. Myself, I have a small book of sales orders from years past. According to the latest announcement, that stack will not be growing any larger. Quoting: 'Our vision has always been to provide the geeky tech consumer an alternative avenue to purchase quality refurbished and new techy products and gadgets. That vision was the cornerstone of our slogan "Best Deals Every Nanosecond." Unfortunately after a lot of difficult consideration the owners of Geeks.com feel we are unable to come through on this vision any longer. There are many why's... The e-commerce landscape, as well as the consumer electronics market, has changed dramatically with intense competition and a 1000lb gorilla (do we really need to say who) competitor that can lose millions of dollars to buy customers and suck up inventory. They can lose money with impunity, supported by the stock market. We cannot.' The landing page of their website now goes directly to this announcement; the storefront is switched off. They maintain a Facebook page where a combination of remorse and surprise is rapidly growing. The letter also asserts that they will fulfill all business obligations to online customers during their transition to both a solitary, brick-and-mortar presence in California and a wholesale division, Evertek. Personally, just about every keyboard in my closet was purchased from them, and another box full of USB devices as well. Five of my PC builds exist because of them. Feel free to share your own memories of the former Computer Geeks Discount Outlet."
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Geeks.com Online Shop Has Closed

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 03, 2013 @12:50PM (#44465689)

    Damn, I never heard of it before, it never showed up in my searches for parts.

    Hint, you can't have a successful business if you don't tell people about it!

    Word of mouth only works for drug dealers.

    • by war4peace (1628283) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @01:03PM (#44465765)

      Same here. And I've been browsing the Internet for a long time, looking for geeky stuff.
      Oh well...

      • Eh, I was buying from those guys since ~'95. Hadn't bought anything in a good while; they had good deals but it was almost all on older hardware and overstock stuff. That said, if they had what you needed, the prices were great.
    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @01:04PM (#44465775) Homepage Journal

      I bought my DEC Alpha Multias from them... Same machine Malda started Slashdot on. I had two...

      Also got a couple of nice Seimens-made web-terminals, which I converted to low-noise firewalls with Astaro.

    • by Seumas (6865) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @01:09PM (#44465823)

      Yep. Never heard of it. *shrug*

      Then again, I've only been online for 24 years.

    • by Rizimar (1986164) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @01:20PM (#44465889) Homepage

      The focus of Geeks.com was largely on refurbished equipment, but when your customers have options like Amazon, Overstock, and Newegg, it is hard to compete. I've been following them for a couple of years, always getting notices of their latest deals in my inbox, and it seemed like they had a lot of the same sorts of products on sale: 1TB internal hard drives, 23" monitors, and always a ton of the same Dell desktop computers that had features that might would have been acceptable in an office environment a couple of years ago (limited RAM and hard drive space, sometimes with a basic Windows install). They recently started offering a lot of first-generation iPads for a couple hundred dollars each as well.

      Part of the problem is that customers new to Geeks will quickly lose interest if they bought one of those items because the inventory never really changed, and the deals were always around the same price points. In a market where newer items often sport better features and tend to get cheaper over time for the amount of power and functionality you get, there's less incentive to turn to a refurbished marketplace, especially for such a limited selection of hardware.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        They recently started offering a lot of first-generation iPads for a couple hundred dollars each as well.

        A couple hundred? I got a second generation iPad on eBay for a couple hundred, not too long ago.

        I'm sure there's a market for folks buying iPad1s, but they've got to get a deep enough discount acquiring the refurbished equipment to sell them for a "fair" price.

        They make it out to be the big online retailers selling at a loss -- when it's not. Something was broken with Geeks' business model,

        • by Nutria (679911)

          Or they were relying on geek loyalty to Geeks.com.

          • by gd2shoe (747932) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @05:23PM (#44467021) Journal
            I suspect one of the real points to this article is to let interested buyers know that the domain name may be for sale soon (to pump up the price). I'm sure that is one asset that has greatly appreciated over the years.
            • by mysidia (191772)

              I suspect one of the real points to this article is to let interested buyers know that the domain name may be for sale soon (to pump up the price).

              That's a good point... Geeks.com is a really neat domain name; i'd be willing to pay as much as a $1000 for it.

        • by quantaman (517394)

          They recently started offering a lot of first-generation iPads for a couple hundred dollars each as well.

          A couple hundred?
          I got a second generation iPad on eBay for a couple hundred, not too long ago.

          I'm sure there's a market for folks buying iPad1s, but they've got to get a deep enough discount acquiring the refurbished equipment to sell them for a "fair" price.

          They make it out to be the big online retailers selling at a loss -- when it's not.
          Something was broken with Geeks' business model, or the execution -- it worked once, but the environment changes over time.

          Or they've got to offer something eBay can't. eBay is always going to be a bit of a stressful experience, what are the shipping charges? do they ship to your country? is the seller credible? what exactly are they selling (since every page is formatted a little different)? what is the quality like?

          ThinkGeek seems to do alright, they can't really out compete amazon on breadth or value so they don't even try. They embrace their niche and can offer a much better experience for consumers in that niche.

          There's a

          • by 1s44c (552956)

            Ebay is hell. Paypal is worse.

            If I can't afford to buy it new or reconditioned from a respectable supplier I don't buy it. Life is so much better that way.

            • I didn't use eBay for several years because of its problems, especially with sellers ripping people off. A few months ago, I noticed *Amazon* now has that problem with their tech equipment -- dollar-store quality no-name chargers sent in place of brand-specific ones, counterfeit items, broken stuff, fly-by-night companies reneging on warranties, etc. -- and stopped buying stuff there after discovering firsthand that Amazon's won't intervene when problems like that crop up even if the items were (supposedly

              • by CastrTroy (595695)
                This really bothers me about Amazon. At least with eBay I know that that I'm buying from some random person, but on Amazon, when you first click on an item, it's not clear whether you are buying off Amazon, directly from a reputable manufacturer, or some random person. There's no obvious way to filter searches to only show Amazon stuff either.
                • If Amazon isn't selling it, it says right below the price, "Sold by " but may also have "and fulfilled by Amazon" if Amazon shipping options are available.

          • by mysidia (191772)

            There's a niche for a company that sells refurbished equipment at a higher price than eBay but offers a more polished experience. Either geeks.com didn't execute or they didn't get the word out.

            You mean that there used to be a niche... back when eBay was young.

            The people who want a polished experience go to the retail stores. The people who want to save as much money as possible, and are willing to take risks and extra work to save money dig through local newspaper classifieds around the country and

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      I never heard of them either but I don't buy refurb ever now. I looked at the other site and won't deal with "log in to view prices" from anyone.

      I have at least 20 vendors I buy from which usually beat the juggernauts in one way or another. Since I don't have to spend gas and I can shop for free shipping I'll piece together a system from a dozen vendors.

    • by sconeu (64226) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @02:41PM (#44466251) Homepage Journal

      Exactly. This sounds like a place that I would have used... IF I HAD KNOWN ABOUT IT.

    • by adosch (1397357)

      Boo Anon Cow! You must be 15. It's ok, us dinosaurs understand. JK.

      Geeks.com (or compgeeks.com which is where I initially discovered them back in circa '98) is/was totally awesome. I bought new or refurbished from them and never had a problem at all. It was one of those 'shop-all' places for yester-new hardware, which IMHO, holds ALOT of merit against shops like newegg and a like today that only house 'latest-and-greatest' and have a pretty short shelf life for old tech. If I needed to find a CPU type

    • Nothing of value was lost.

      Well, for you, me, many others...

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      Damn, I never heard of it before, it never showed up in my searches for parts.

      Hint, you can't have a successful business if you don't tell people about it!

      Word of mouth only works for drug dealers.

      Same here, I thought I knew all the suppliers but I never heard of them.

      How did this get on slashdot? Has everyone else heard of them?

      • Bought from them all the time in the 90s and early 2000s... then we hit the point where you didn't really need to replace a computer every three or four years and the market they had carved out sort of fell away.
    • I had heard of them before. I had even bought things from them. Sad to see another potential supplier drop out, but to be honest I had not bought from then in years and had lost interest. While I had not even looked lately, the good deals and interesting items were getting fewer and fewer when I stopped shopping there. And they seemed to use shipping as a profit center, not just to cover shipping costs but to make a bit extra there. So you had to factor that in when you saw what at first looked like good de

    • by evilviper (135110)

      Damn, I never heard of it before, it never showed up in my searches for parts.

      Geeks.com was a reseller on Amazon.com, and you could find their products via pricewatch.com or froogle.

      I bought from them a few times, but they never really rose above the noise because their selection was small and patchy, and their inventory wasn't very deep, so they'd alternate, being out-of-stock on an item for weeks, then it being available again.

      All that said, I don't see why they'd shut-down their online store. If they're

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Hint, you can't have a successful business if you don't tell people about it!

      Word of mouth only works for drug dealers.

      Ah, but that requires marketing, and everyone knows marketing is the devil! Advertising too.

      Can't advertise and can't market, because the geeks block all ads and hate marketers.

  • 13-14 years. This is a pretty big bummer.
    • by Kazymyr (190114)
      Same here. Started buying from them around 1999-2000. In fact I bought a few hard drives from them just last week. I dunno where I'll be getting older technology HDDs at steal prices. I have a few devices that I'm maintaining that are incompatible with newer tech (4k sector) HDDs, which everyone makes these days... I need another source for older tech (512byte sector) HDDs.
  • Wow. It has been well over a decade since I last visited the computer geeks site, and I assumed they had been gobbled up by a retailing giant. Their cheesy graphics and great deals on 802.11B PCI cards will be forever etched in my memory, along with my boxed copy of Netscape for my PowerPC Mac. It just goes to show that the internet was not the open retail playing field many assumed it would be.
  • I was ordering from there where it was CompGeeks.com

    They always had the coolest sell outs and unique, unexpected, weird items. Just whatever they stumbled across. I bought an IBM CRT monitor back in the day with unpowered Bose speakers in it, of course there was a proprietary IBM connector. They actually had a how-to on their website to wire your own standard connector up (and would do it for a fee). Found an amplified sound card, awesome sound.

    Cheap monitors for the Japanese market, they sold LCD's for

  • Foolish (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iamhassi (659463) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @01:09PM (#44465819) Journal
    You don't shutdown, you adapt: newegg, amazon, sears and even walmart adapted to the ebay model, so now sellers can sell their own merchandise on amazon and newegg and buyers don't even know the difference. Only way you can tell is it says "item provided by $SELLERS_NAME" somewhere. That way geeks.com wouldn't need any merchandise, they would just operate the domain and hosting and take a percentage of every sale.
  • I'm angry and sad at the same time.

    First purchase was made back in 2001...pair of Benwin speakers....still with me this moment on my desk. Been a customer ever since. Even did many a purchase on behalf of the school district.

    Too, too bad.

    Does anyone else know of a good online fire-sale type vendor like CompGeeks?

  • Going to miss them (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ToasterTester (95180) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @01:10PM (#44465835)

    I discovered them years ago and bought from them both for myself, but also companies I worked for. Their customer service was great. All the best with the store front.

    The mega corporations are buying up or pushing out of business all the small businesses. I recently sold by house and moved and in process used a lot of local businesses. Talking with them most were saying they will probably be gone in 3-4 years. The big corporations are cutting deals with cash strapped cites for major concessions that are driving the little guys out with extra fees, permits, and licenses.

    • by Mitreya (579078)

      The mega corporations are buying up or pushing out of business all the small businesses.

      There must be other reasons in play here. Amazon and such are not big on offering cheap/refurbished equipment, which is what Geeks.com sold a lot of (to me, anyway)

    • by DigitalReverend (901909) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @01:57PM (#44466063)

      They didn't become mega corps by being " best kept secrets in shopping". There's been a lot of this on /. where some little known entity is shutting down their website or closing their doors. I think too many people actually believe in the field of dreams, but I am sorry, just because you build it, they aren't necessarily going to come, unless you tell them about it.

    • Talking with them most were saying they will probably be gone in 3-4 years.

      That attitude probably has more to do with why they'll be gone in 3-4 years than any tinfoil hat conspiracy about being driven out of business by dark forces. Seriously, I've seen any number of local businesses go under over the last decade, and the ruling factors in most of them seems to be inertia (I.E. failing to realize it's 2013 and still doing business like it was 1963) and failing to compete (I.E. more of the previous).

      • Small businesses are small because they are inefficient. They are also characterized by xenophobic attitudes which are fueled by a narrow view of the world. Managers of growing businesses and large corporations are very "worldly" and have a firm grasp of who the competition is and why they (the competition) are successful as well. Even when you are making good money in a strong business you have to ask yourself: what are my threats and weaknesses? Small business owners are usually too busy with customer

  • I wanted to buy another of those Antec USB power adapters. They are really nice and work well in my car plugged into my 750w power inverter. (Those damned car-power adapters just suck and usually top out at 0.5a which isn't enough for my tablet which draws more power than that from its battery.

    I guess I'll end up paying more elsewhere.

    • by Strider- (39683)

      I guess you've never been to Monoprice. I use one of their 2.1A car lighter adapters for my iPad, and it works very well. The main issue i have is getting it out of the socket, rather than having it stay in.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 03, 2013 @01:17PM (#44465869)

    Well there's your problem right there...

  • by Red_Chaos1 (95148) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @01:20PM (#44465885)

    ...is that it all comes from one warehouse location there in Oceanside. I worked for them for a short time as a temp. It was a less than fond experience, but that's beside the point. All merchandise for the 3 arms of the company come from the same stock. I forget what the 3rd company name they sold under was, but the items you bought under geeks.com was the same stuff you bought "wholesale" under evertek.com. I can only guess at why they feel the need to end the online arm of geeks.com if the store part will remain open, and the other arms (if the third still operates) use the same pool of stock. I will say this, they sold a lot of things that I wouldn't bother going to Newegg for because it would cost more.

    • by RudyHartmann (1032120) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @01:30PM (#44465937)

      There are 3 companies. Genica, Evertek, and Geeks. They're 2 blocks away from me in Temecula, California. Only the brick and mortar retail store is in Oceanside now. If you're a business, you can still buy from Evertek. I think they just bailed out of the online retail business. They have a pretty huge warehouse right here in Temecula. I just got the email notice, so I'm not sure what the rest of all this means yet. I'll find out more Monday though.

      • by Red_Chaos1 (95148)

        Ah yes, IIRC Genica is the parent company, and you could buy keyboards and mice and such under that brand. Computer Geeks was the retail arm and Evertek was the wholesale/business arm. They must have expanded at some point if they have a warehouse in Temecula, when I worked there the O'side location was the main and only one.

  • by a9db0 (31053) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @01:21PM (#44465895)

    I can't remember how long I've been a Geeks customer - years. I've bought laptops, CPUs, memory, and miscellaneous hardware from them over the years. They were always a great place to check when you needed an older or oddball piece of hardware - often times they had it. Great service, great people.

    You will be missed.

  • I was really sad to get email they were closing down been a customer since the dawn of civilization.

    But then they mentioned evertek.com and WTF it is essentially the geeks site and inventory just with a different skin.

  • I extended a computer for about two years because I was able to pick up a P4 Extreme Edition CPU (Original List Price $1000) for $79. That was the most stable computer I ever had and was smoking fast in the day. Geeks will be missed.
  • I actually just sent something back to them recently and was waiting for its replacement to ship. I see they plan to honor such liabilities, so I should still see the replacement come. Nonetheless, I was planning to purchase some additional items from them soon and now that clearly won't happen as I live a couple thousand miles away from their store. I guess it's back to Microcenter for me...
  • Why do people persist to offer second hand stuff cheapest on eBay and Amazon? I am not referring to the cheap Chinese sellers who flood the market with first-hand but second-rate good-enough stuff, but people who for some reason decide that the only place that you can offer older stuff is Amazon/eBay, and if you also have a web site, to charge MORE on that web site - even though it is trivial to get a payment processor who will take way less of a cut.

    So... reasons, please?

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Maintaining an independent web presence requires a big outlay in advertising, so you have to charge people who shop there enough to pay for the ads that brought them there. Your flea market presence on ebay or amazon doesn't benefit from your brand, and wouldn't be competitive in that market if your margins were enough to sustain an independent brand.
      • OK, let me be more direct: you can list something both on eBay and on your web site, but you list it for less on your web site, because you will pay less to sell the item there than on eBay. So you use eBay as a promotional tool, but prefer for customers to perform checkout on your web site, and encourage repeat customers to use your web site.

        Since my credit card provider is better at challenging badly behaving vendors than Paypal/eBay is, and Paypal hate it when you chargeback, I'd also be happier buying o

        • by timeOday (582209)
          It must happen, since ebay is riddled with scary warnings against completing transactions outside ebay. I guess ebay must do some level of policing against sellers using their website to advertise other websites. But after all, the ability to search in one place and shop under one reasonably consistent set of policies is worth something to customers. There's no way your Backdoor Specials will always beat everybody on ebay, so for people to find them they'll have to search ebay, and your site, and every
        • by VanessaE (970834)

          "So you use eBay as a promotional tool, but prefer for customers to perform checkout on your web site, and encourage repeat customers to use your web site."

          Because doing so is somewhat contrary to eBay policy:

          http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/rfe-spam-non-ebay-sale.html [ebay.com]

          • Except that many sellers include obvious branding in their packages or in e-mails, and everyone's cool about it. And the policy is partly just a way for eBay to try to stop people from moving outside the eBay system, obviously - although part of it is there to stop unscupulous fraudsters from offering to sell a specific listed (but often non-existent) item outside of eBay.

    • by hjf (703092)

      It costs money to run a business. It's not the same to buy to Joe Sysadmin who stole a Catalyst 2900 from work than to buy from a store that has to keep a big warehouse, employees, and pay taxes.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Exposure!

      It may not be the cheapest, but Ebay is very convenient for customers doing comparison shopping between new and used items. The combination of vendors and the wide variety of photos of different and similar items facilitate comparison.

  • including the last one which is on its second return waiting for a refund

    good riddance to the garbage peddlers

  • by kninja (121603) on Saturday August 03, 2013 @03:23PM (#44466429)

    I should have placed another order last month. I need a few things.

    I loved Geeks.com, for buying extra cables for internal builds, tiny mice for laptops, hard drive mounting brackets, and all these little things you need to keep in stock for builds. My current graphics card (GTX460 for $90) and laptop mouse came from geeks.com.

    If the owners are reading this, thank you guys for the good service over the years. I've been recommending you since 1999.

    If you start up a leaner or updated business model, send out an email to your former customers and let us know.

  • They can too. If you have inventory, and you can sell it for more than you bought it for, you should be OK. Or even eBay. The last thing I bought on eBay was a random part to fix my clothes dryer from a seller with many thousands of good feedback. Get started!

  • ... until today. So are they gonna ride on the Slashdot Effect fame, now?

  • "Best kept secret" + "retail outlet" = "closed business"

    If the people you want as customers don't know you exist, you won't have the customers you want and your business will fail. It is that simple
  • If they're just dropping the online retail to reserve themselves for middlemen, then what's the exact point of things?

    They're not going out of business, just avoiding online retail.

  • I've been a fan since they were Compgeeks, back-when. Geeks was a good place to do business. All other factors being equal, they were my first choice, because you could always get hold of a human with clues, and they were flexible about warranties -- a few days out, or an ongoing issue, and they'd still cover it. An item worth not much more than postage? don't bother returning it, we'll just refund you.

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