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Web site spoiling retail saving surprises

Computer user views website

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Whether we like it or not, shopping is part of the holiday season. This year, the economy's turning a bit sour, so retailers are more competitive than ever. Some of them will open at midnight -- they'll have discounts, and free grub, and anything else that'll get you to drive to the mall.

But hey, in this day and age, you don't have to go anywhere. Some of the best deals are already on the Web. Andrew Phelps reports.


Andrew Phelps: You could scan the paper today for tempting Black Friday specials. Or you could have gone to Brad Olson's Web site 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 a good product you want to buy.

Like a Barbie MP3 player at Wal-Mart for less than $50. 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 will be in advance, and two, potentially providing false information to their consumers.

Olson's Web site warns: Its postings should be considered "strictly rumors."

I'm Andrew Phelps for Marketplace.

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