Wal-Mart Threatens Site Over Black Friday Ad Deals

from the didn't-we-do-this-already? dept

Want to know how we know the holidays are coming? It's not the Christmas decorations already showing up in stores; it's the annual ritual of retailers threatening any website that posts the deals from their "Black Friday" (the day after Thanksgiving) sales circular prior to that day. Last year, Wal-Mart went beyond what others stores had done, in pre-threatening sites. In the past, companies like Target and Best Buy had simply threatened to sue sites after the ads went up. But Wal-Mart took it a step further and threatened to sue before the ads even went up, ignoring, of course that they don't own pricing data. The data on sales prices are not copyrightable and cannot be owned. Wal-Mart simply has no legal leg to stand on in demanding the data from the circular be taken down.

But why let that stop them? An anonymous reader alerts us to the fact that Wal-Mart is already sending the notices out to various sites, threatening legal ramifications if the sites were to post the prices prior to the date Wal-Mart makes them "official."

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  1. identicon
    cliff corson, 7 Oct 2008 @ 1:13am

    use of information from upcoming ads

    as a departmental person in retail i can say there are many reasons why stores will sue lawyers to put the various "black friday" sites on notice.

    first off the companies that are contracted to print the ads for stores are under non-disclosure agreements about the information in the ads. this means any employee of that company that removes or gives the info out early can have drastic conditions for that company

    next there are also the fact that there are multiple prints for the same ad. as some regions/local areas/states have slightly different product assortments there can be as many as 2 dozen different versions of the same ad -- each is for a specific area. if you check out various web sites and type in different zip codes for different states you'll see slight differences.

    also there are some folks who suffur from "buyers remorse" and will purchase items then get upset when they see them on sale next month or in a few weeks. they in turn return or bully the stores to give them a refund the difference on the item that they purchased. the same occurs with clearance merchandise.

    also with some "black friday" items being in short supply there are some folks that will buy those items and then come back for price adjustments when the same occurs.

    the information on the ads can be used by competitors to :get a leg up" on the competition by seeing an item on sale and lowering their price to either force the original retailer to lower their price or make that company seem higher in the visual look

    cliff

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