Wal-Mart Stunned By Sales Price Disclosure

Nov 22, 2002

By George Anderson

Bargain hunters are finding great deals on holiday gifts with comparison shopping web sites such as FatWallet.com and DealofDay.com. That is precisely the problem, according to retailers such as Wal-Mart, Staples and OfficeMax. The retailers threatened to file suit against FatWallet and similar sites to block them from listing special pricing for upcoming sales.

Tom Williams, spokesman, Wal-Mart said, “We were quite stunned that this was out there.” Mr. Williams sent letters to several shopping web sites demanding that the promotional pricing be taken down.

According to an AP/Washington Post report, Wal-Mart threatened to prosecute the price comparison sites under a 1998 copyright law that protects intellectual property online.

Moderator’s Comment: Should copyright law safeguarding
intellectual property online be applied to keep comparison sites from going
public with sales prices before the retailer, itself, does?

This story is far from being over.

The retailers are threatening legal action saying that
their pricing information is proprietary. Early disclosure of this information
could have a “serious adverse effect on our business”, according to Staples
spokesman Paul Capelli.

Expect to see the comparison shopping sites fight this,
arguing that this is not a copyright issue. It isn’t.
Anderson – Moderator

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