GetBpendB has changed to Purse.io. The service is now open to the public so go try it out! The discount system has also changed quite a bit since writing this review. You can now get a 10% discount guaranteed while spending Bitcoins at Amazon and I often get 20% off or more!
A new service is under construction that is intended to enable people to buy Bitcoins through Amazon and to spend Bitcoins on Amazon products with a discount. GetBspendB is described in detail on bitcointalk.org by one of the developers. The terminology there might be a bit confusing, because when you think about it, spending and buying are basically the same thing, but the odd description does not change the quality of the service.
I was given the opportunity to beta test this new idea and while there were plenty of minor technical glitches, the service was still very interesting and convenient. There is a 5% fee when buying Bitcoins through Amazon, which is a little steep for me, but some people will love to buy with a credit card or other payment methods that are usually more difficult to use. On the other hand, there is a 4% discount when spending Bitcoins for Amazon products, which I love and will probably use more often in the future.
The Bitcoin Spending Process
As a Bitcoin "Spender," my journey began with creating a wishlist on Amazon. I only wanted to buy one thing for testing purposes, but it would have been possible for me to add any number of items. This process was quite simple and involved nothing more than finding a desirable item and clicking "Add to Wishlist." It did take me awhile to figure out how to add a shipping address to the wishlist, but that is an issue with Amazon.
Next I went back to the GetBspendB website to submit the link to my completed list. It was automatically reviewed and a total price in Bitcoins was calculated with the 4% discount. I found my deposit address and sent the payment right away. There were a few calculation and exchange rate issues which made the deposit slightly inaccurate and caused the order to stall for awhile, but those problems should be fixed before beta is complete.
Once the deposit was correct, the order became visible to potential Bitcoin "Buyers." All I had to do was wait for someone to accept it. The user base is still very small so it took a few days for this to happen, but I don't think this will be a problem once the service leaves beta and becomes more popular. After my order was taken, the "Buyer" was to provide me with a tracking number. He was a little slow, and this did not actually happen until after I received the item, but everything still worked. All I had to do then was confirm receipt of the item and the Bitcoins were debited from my account to the "Buyer's" account. There are plenty of Bitcoin marketplaces, but it still felt pretty cool to use Bitcoin to buy a normal item off Amazon (it was a Sigur Ros CD, in case you were wondering).
My only significant gripe is the fact that you can only place orders that are fulfilled by Amazon. This will not always be bad, but sometimes other sellers have the same items available for cheaper. For instance, one seller had my CD available for $8, but I had to spend the full $11.50. Even with the 4% discount, I was forced to pay more than was really necessary. Fortunately, this will not always be the case. For many items, Amazon's offer is really the cheapest, and the discount can really be beneficial.
Another potential problem area could be with disputes. I never had to deal with one because my order was successful and legitimate, but I can see scammers possibly causing problems in the future. They might supply bogus tracking numbers, or maybe Amazon will make a mistake and the "Spender" will be in trouble. Hopefully GetBspendB can do a good job of collecting evidence and settling disagreements.
More to Come!
The developers have also said that they plan to add functionality for other retailers eventually. This will broaden the horizons of GetBspendB quite a bit, perhaps allowing people to spend Bitcoins at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and more. This might be particularly useful for those who desire to liquidate unwanted gift cards. For instance, I have a $330 Best Buy gift card that I really don't need. If I could be matched up with people who want to spend Bitcoins on Best Buy items, then I could turn that card into real money. In fact, let me know if you need anything from Best Buy, I'll give you a 5% discount. This sort of service could be profitable for all kinds of people.
GetBspendB still has a long way to go, but I think it once it's complete, it will become relatively popular. The Amazon discount is the most attractive feature to me, and I'll probably end up doing some Christmas shopping with Bitcoin. It will also be convenient for people who want to buy Bitcoins with a variety of payment methods. This really is a unique service, and I hope it is successful. If you want to see what it's like, go try it out!