LeakedDeals.com

Discussion
Nov 14, 2006

By George Anderson


You’re a retailer and you’re set to get a fast start out of the gates following Thanksgiving with advertised specials that make consumers sit up and take notice. The only problem is that the great deals you plan to advertise are going public on the internet weeks before you planned.


Blackfriday.gottadeal.com, DealTaker.com and BF-06.com are among a group of web sites that exist, at least in part, to let consumers know where to go for the best deals.


“Retailers are not a big fan of those sites,” National Retail Federation spokesperson Ellen Davis told McClatchy Newspapers. “If retailers wanted their customers to know about Black Friday deals early, they’d put them up on their own Web sites.”


Retailers’ displeasure with these web sites has taken the legal, if not yet litigious, route. Some stores have written to site operators demanding ad/circular reprints be removed from public view because their use is a violation of content copyrighted by merchants.


For the most part, letters from company lawyers have not deterred sites with going public on retailers’ promotional plans. Recently, however, BFAds.net removed an ad on its web site after lawyers from Linens-n-Things objected in writing.


Michael Brim, a teenager from San Jose, California who operates BFAds.net, said retailers who think they’re putting a lid on deals being leaked by writing to sites such as his are kidding themselves.


BFAds.net gets much of its information from other sites and message boards. Still other information comes from direct sources who have many other places they can (and do) go with the information.


Discussion Questions: In what ways are a retailer’s business affected when the details of a sales promotion are leaked early? What can retailers do to
effectively keep information private until they want it to go public?

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14 Comments on "LeakedDeals.com"


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MARK DECKARD
Guest
MARK DECKARD
15 years 6 months ago

Charles, you’ve done the boys at Pea Ridge proud….

Dennis Babbitt
Guest
Dennis Babbitt
15 years 6 months ago

Quite frankly, the best thing would be to simply use these sites for promotional leaks. That is purposely leak the information that you would like to be out there with the intent of stimulating your customers interest!

Kunal Puri
Guest
Kunal Puri
15 years 6 months ago

I am unable to figure out why any retailer wouldn’t want his deal advertised to the max with no cost to himself. If a retailer thinks that a deal shouldn’t be advertised, he probably shouldn’t be offering the deal at all….

Charles P. Walsh
Guest
Charles P. Walsh
15 years 6 months ago
(Sung to the tune the Battle of New Orleans) The Battle of Black Friday Well, the day after T Day we woke up ‘for the dawn Cranked up the Chevy, grabbed our Starbucks, hammer down We had our ads and MapQuest and a GPS device We wasn’t gonna miss out on the deals with out a fight We grabbed a Xbox and an iPod and a Flatscreen There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago We piled high the Bratz dolls, the Elmo and the board games Maxed the Debit and the Master, the Visa’s next to go I spot Target yonder down the street The lines look long and edgy but the wife I’m ‘sposed to meet She handed me a list that she’d marked up with a pen And she told me not to come back lest I got ’em one thru ten The wife said honey, you had better run For the Wal-Mart crowds a comin’ and it doesn’t look like fun I told the honey I didn’t give… Read more »
Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 6 months ago

It’s close to impossible to keep a secret in the retailing business. Retailers speak to the general public and invite the general public into their stores, online and otherwise. Most advertising is on a mass broadcast basis and the media people see the messages in advance. Furthermore, the messages are generally created by groups of people. How can you tell where leaks come from?

Shoppers generally know their favorite stores’ promotion cycles, anyway. They hold back their purchases until they see a superior sale event. Everyone knows that retailers repeat the same promotions again and again. Will there be a year without a White Sale? Will there be a year without Dollar Days? Will there be a year without Doorbusters? Will there be a Father’s Day flyer without ties and slacks? Will there be a Memorial Day commercial without bathing suits? How about a Christmas ad without a TV?

Matt Werhner
Guest
Matt Werhner
15 years 6 months ago

It’s certainly hard to keep a lid on promotions, especially with the internet. These types of websites are advantageous to the consumer, but it takes a really savvy consumer to take the time to research these sites. Also, I don’t see any data confirming the accuracy of these websites and dealtaker.com states the items posted are just rumors on the internet.

I’m not sure these sites are curbing consumer spending to any serious measurable degree at the current time, but as years pass and the popularity of these types of sites begins to grow, the promotional leaks could become an issue. There’s really no way to contain these aggregated rumors. Retailers might want to look into somehow spinning this into a positive. Good luck to the marketing teams.

Joel Rubinson
Guest
15 years 6 months ago

In the internet age, consumers really call the shots and have created the ultimate form of anarchal capitalism of which Robert Heinlein would be proud!

So, if you can’t stop it, how can you make it work to your advantage? That’s the real question retailers should be asking. Hint: think co-creation of promotions….

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
15 years 6 months ago

Ah, the quick-lived commercial secret … that pristine, unleaked 20-second reverie that makes one feel so damn good.

David Livingston
Guest
15 years 6 months ago

If more than one person knows, then its not a secret. I don’t think leaked information has any bearing on sales in the long run. With the constant musical chairs of employees quitting to go work for competitors, everyone knows everything all the time.

Charles P. Walsh
Guest
Charles P. Walsh
15 years 6 months ago

The World Wide Web and the speed of viral communication make it very unlikely that websites such as BFADS can be contained or eliminated. And what if they were? There are other channels which would take over the dissemination of retailers printed product and pricing.

Even with massive improvements in printing and distribution technology (i.e. the reduction of lead times), this information will be outed.

As always, those retailers with the best assortment, who provide the most satisfying shopping experience and meet the price expectations of the consumer, will win over the long haul, though they may suffer a black eye or two during the battle of Black Friday.

Bill Bishop
Guest
Bill Bishop
15 years 6 months ago

My guess is, at least for the food retail business, leaked deals are more of a distraction than they are a real influence on the business. When you consider that only a minority of shoppers are truly price-sensitive and only a small subset of them are gaining access to the leaked deal information, at least in the short term, the business impact has to be small.

That said, there’s a relatively easy way to avoid the “leaked deal” problem; that is to move away from broad-based price promotion and instead to deliver promotional prices on a targeted basis. Without a circular to publish, these websites really won’t have anything to work with and will disappear from the scene.

George Anderson
Guest
George Anderson
15 years 6 months ago

The only issue I see — and that is probably not a major one — is that consumers may hold up buying now, knowing that waiting a week or two will save them money. Come to think of it, that sounds much like the typical shopping behavior of the holiday season to begin with.

Jeff Weitzman
Guest
Jeff Weitzman
15 years 6 months ago

This just highlights how far many businesses still have to go in rethinking the way they do business in light of a dramatically different communication environment. Why would someone even be trying to keep promotions a secret when there’s hardly a chance that would happen? If secrecy and surprise are critical, why would anyone be using print–with its long lead times–as the medium? Online you can have all your placements running for a week beforehand, then just switch to new creative at midnight one night. Why even perpetuate the whole Black Friday, bet my entire year on a one-month orgy of spending strategy? Marketing to consumers is a new ball game; some of us just aren’t playing it yet.

Charles P. Walsh
Guest
Charles P. Walsh
15 years 6 months ago
John Fleming, Wal-Mart’s CMO, announced that they will unveil most/all of their day-after-Thanksgiving deals online late afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. This will allow shoppers to make their plans Thursday afternoon for their Friday shopping spree. Wal-Mart previously announced that they were aggressively discounting key categories such as Toys and Electronics this Christmas Season. John also announced an increase in the number of circulars which Wal-Mart will print and distribute between Thanksgiving and Christmas. These two moves are an interesting combination for a traditionally EDLP retailer, clearly this Christmas is as important as any Wal-Mart has ever faced and it is critical that they are counting on “…winning the holiday…”, as John Fleming puts it. Wal-Mart has placed a good deal of time and energy on turning around their image from equal and fair pay to environmental responsibility to uptrending their offerings in key categories. So far the efforts have been mixed when it comes to the cash registers, it would be a very Merry Christmas indeed if they were to win big this holiday season,… Read more »
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