From Halloween to Thanksgiving there will be one singular theme you will hear over and over again about Christmas: Black Friday.
Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and it has everything to do with your money and separating it from you. It has grown into an event – a holiday tradition – as well-known and celebrated as football on Thanksgiving or Santa at Christmas. It is a wholly American tradition.
By strict definition, Black Friday used to be the day when retailers would celebrate reaching profitability – or in the “black” – for their operating year. With the busiest shopping days of Christmas ahead of them, the money for the year would really start to pile up. Modern retailers wish they could mark such a day on their calendars still. But Black Friday has in the last 25 years especially morphed from a milestone for retailers into something entirely different.
For our international readers here is how Black Friday is celebrated by many Americans: a Thanksgiving day of family devoted activities and feasting leads to the first activity of Christmas: shopping.
In some places it begins as early as midnight, with malls across America opening and hosting “pajama parties”, promising big discounts for the earliest shoppers. In some extreme cases the crowds are so thick that local police are called to direct traffic and ensure that fire safety laws are enforced. But more traditionally the real big retailers – WalMart, Best Buy, Target, Kmart, JCPenney’s and others – open their doors between 4am and 6am with highly touted and spectacular discounts on popular in-demand products.
How great are these deals? Last year you could get a computer for $200. A decent 32 inch flat screen TV was only $300. BluRay movie titles were as little as $5 and coats for kids were priced at as low as $10. With such attractive bargains, many people scour the ads on Thanksgiving Day and set up a strategy for their early morning buying.
For retailers, it is a game of necessity but not one they are particularly fond of. At such prices there isn’t any profit being made. And stores get trashed in the process. In some extreme cases, retailers suffer damages due to the liabilities they incur by drawing massive crowds. So why do they do it? Because competition demands it. To be seen and talked about on Black Friday could lead to a successful – or disasterous shopping season, depending upon what happens.
Black Friday therefore has become almost like a sport. Retailers play the game of what to stock and how to price it. And consumers have to strategize of where to be and how much to have in order to grab the bargain.
Over the years a number of online resources have developed to help both consumers and retailers inform themselves of Black Friday events. In some cases, early ads are “leaked” to these sites either on purpose or clandestinely, depending upon who you talk to. Some retailers will willingly serve up information to them to build up anticipation and “buzz” about their locations and products. Others will leak false information to tweak competitors. So as you peruse the following list of resources realize that what you read there may or may not be true. It is all part of the game.
The granddaddy of Black Friday websites claims to be the oldest and most accurate. Few dispute this and even fewer really care because every year is a new story and what happened in the past rarely indicates what will happen this year. This site is known for gaining early season insights, often irritating retailers who claim they get their information in unauthorized ways. This site is almost as famous for the “cease and desist” orders they receive from retailers as they are from the ads they post. We have watched them for several years and have noticed a disturbing trend this year of continual marketing of Black Friday t-Shirts and other merchandise that gets plugged more than actual news that is published.
They too have taken to linking to certain products from certain retailers (both online and offline), leading us to believe they are affiliate marketers. I am starting to question their objectivity.
Traffic information and media mentions of this site appears to top all others and the site has to run on several servers to meet the demands of traffic upon it. The domain was registered back in 2005 and appears to be hosted out of Texas from IP 188.8.131.52 (Softlayer Technologies).
This site takes a cleaner, more graphical approach to Black Friday deals. They use vendor logos and present information in a straightforward way. It is one of our favorite resources because we can see all that is happening with Black Friday quickly and concisely. The site does not overwhelm you with ads or affiliate links. It has the experience to be credible and serves up straightforward feeds.
The domain was created in 2005 and is registered in France. Servers for the site are located in Texas from IP 184.108.40.206 (Softlayer Technologies) Traffic and ranking statistics are nearly identical to
Out of all the sites we tested this year this one appears to have the consumer most in mind in the way it delivers news without selling. The site runs on WordPress, is fast and cleanly organized. There is not an overwhelming presence of ads, affiliate links or bias towards one retailer over another.
The only question: can they get the breaking news?
The domain was created back in 2003 and the site is served on several servers. It doesn’t rank as well for traffic or popularity. The servers are, curiously, also hosted in Texas from IP 220.127.116.11.
This site appears to be a copycat of BFads.net. Nothing they offer is unique and what they do offer curiously appears only after BFads.net has posted it on their site first. What gives us pause is that this site carries product-specific information – much like you would see at the Best Buy website. That leads us to believe they are more of an affiliate marketer than a true news site. Proceed with caution. Created in 2005, and served from Texas at IP 18.104.22.168. Traffic and ranking stats are middle of the road by comparison.
Not a lot of value in this site. The news is old, oddly presented and usually late.
Lower traffic and ranking in search engines, in fact, we think this site likely draws only traffic because it is a top level domain name and many folks just type in blackfriday.com. This site is located, curiously, in Vancouver and is served by a single computer.
Who has the real scoop when it comes to BF?
We like three sites that dedicate themselves to shopping year round and don’t just try to do this come every October. Without a doubt, they lead all the above mentioned sites for real news and information and we suspect this is true because they must have established relationships with the many retailers and etailers out there. Who are they? Gottadeal.com, WalletPop.com and DealNews.com.