Leaked black friday ads

There are no secrets in retail anymore.
Take those Black Friday "door-buster" sales, which used to be closely guarded by retailers until the last possible moment. Now you can easily find websites displaying scanned ad circulars from major retailers including Walmart, Kohl's, Macy's and Best Buy, sometimes weeks before the companies have released them in the local newspaper.
The scanned circulars look legitimate, but can you trust these websites? Or are the retailers themselves
behind them?
The short answers are: You can probably go by the information on them, but use your common sense. And the retailer's marketing division may or may not have "leaked" the circulars.
Last week, I reached out to Brad Wilson, founder of the popular blackfriday2011.com, to discuss how he gets his information.
Wilson said that sometimes the ads are leaked by people involved in designing, printing or distributing them, and other times they are released by the company's public relations team. Usually, he gets multiple copies and chooses the clearest one to scan for online viewing.
"You have tens of millions of these circulars being printed and being designed by a marketing firm," he said. "It's a hard thing to keep under wraps."
A similar method was described by blackfriday.com spokesman Alex Chu, who said: "We get our ads from either insiders at the companies or people who work at the printers or newspapers. In the case of the latter, they take pictures of the ads and send them to us. We always review the ads to verify that they are legitimate, and if this is the case, we post them on our site."
Wilson said that company officials sometimes take a stealthy approach.
"On one end we might get an email from a vice president of marketing for one of the retailers saying: 'Here's our ad,' and it's pretty straightforward," he said. "Somewhere in the middle is when the store for some reason doesn’t want to appear they're releasing it. We get these goofy emails where it's pretty apparent it’s the same vice president of marketing, but it's from their Gmail account."
Over the years, he has received some doctored ads but said it was obvious that they were fake. "We obviously put it through a pretty thick common sense filter," he said.
Blackfriday2011.com gets about 1.5 million visitors a day during the week of Thanksgiving and makes money through ads from companies like 1-800-mattress.com and Dell computers, not the retailers themselves. "We just wanted to create a real simple, cohesive way for consumers to come and get a digest of the best of what is going on that holiday season," Wilson said.
Wilson's full-time job is head of the Chicago-based BradsDeals.com, which scours the top 2,000 Internet retailers for the best deals each day and makes money through revenue-sharing agreements with retailers. The business has 25 employees and is privately held; it doesn't release its annual revenues, but Wilson said, "We're responsible for over $100 million in retail sales every year."

Source : http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2011/nov/20/leaked-black-friday-ads-are-they-legit/