Revving up the retail rumor mill

Browsing online

TEXT OF STORY

Lisa Napoli: For those of us who'll do anything we can to avoid stores, particularly shopping malls: That's why they invented the Internet. Andrew Phelps says there's some information circulating online that retailers didn't want you to see.


Andrew Phelps: You could scan the paper today for tempting Black Friday specials. Or you could have gone to Brad Olson's website two months ago. Gottadeal.com is one of many sites with bootlegged copies of circular ads.

Brad Olson: Now, you have weeks, if not sometimes months, to go through the ads and compare prices and look up reviews on certain things to see if it's, you know, a good product you want to buy.

Like a Barbie MP3 player at Wal-Mart for less than 50 bucks. Someone leaked the Wal-Mart ad months ago. It was on Olson's site Monday morning. He thinks it's free advertising for Wal-Mart.

But Scott Krugman of the National Retail Federation says it could actually hurt the company:

Scott Krugman: They're taking proprietary information from a retailer and putting that retailer at a competitive disadvantage by one, alerting their competition of what the pricing'll be in advance, and two, potentially providing false information to their consumers.

Olson's website warns its postings should be considered "strictly rumors."

I'm Andrew Phelps for Marketplace.

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