Friday, November 25, 2005, 11/25/2005 09:28:00 AM

Big Sale a Trade Secret?

From the New York Times via the Virginian Pilot:

Retailers are threatening legal action against an 18 year-old college student who runs a website dedicated to publishing advertisements concerning sales before those advertisements actually run in the intended newspapers. The website -- ("BF" stands for Black Friday, the big shopping day after Thanksgiving) -- routinely publishes leaked advertising circulars showing sales times and low prices weeks in advance of the date of the sale.

In the words of the NYT:

The renegade sites, whose popularity is growing, highlight how much the Web is shifting the balance of power in retailing from companies to consumers. Big national chains used to control discounts carefully, and shoppers were lucky to stumble into a sale at a store or receive an e-mail message promising free shipping.

Although the student claims his postings fall into a "legal gray area," retailers accuse of him misappropriating trade secrets. It's all about the timing.

Happy Holidays!


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