A big role in the Black Friday phenomen play the so called Black Friday Sites that "leak" Black Friday Ads on the web and make them available to Black Friday deal hunters ahead of the official publishing dates.
The first Black Friday 2011 Ad has been published online October 12. Where did it appear? On the so called Black Friday Sites. It is already tradition that Black Friday Ads are leaking before the official publishing dates retailers have set. There are several dedicated Black Friday sites which have established channels to gain access to Black Friday ads before they get officially published. Black Friday deal seekers are eagerly awaiting these leaked Black Friday ads to plan their Black Friday shopping ahead of the big day. To gauge how important Black Friday Sites are for retailers, just take a look at the traffic numbers ComScore just published of the top 6 most visited Black Friday sites.
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According to ComScore bfads.net attracted the most visits during the November 21-25 period with 3.9 million unique visitors. Traffic is up by 51% compared to last year. TheBlackFriday.com had a dramatic increase in traffic that made them the close 2nd this year with 3.2 million unique visitors. Already far behind is blackfriday2011.com on the 3rd spot with 1.9 million visitors, up 15% compared to last year. Below is the complete ranking.
Most retailers publish their Black Friday ads just days before the actual Black Friday giving Black Friday Sites the edge of having the sought-after ads weeks before. Walmart though changed the game this year as they caught up on the value of owning the Black Friday Ad traffic themselves. Walmart released the retailer's extremely popular Black Friday Ad already on November 9 giving Black Friday sites no chance in leaking it before that date. If other retailers will follow Walmart's example in 2012, the Black Friday Sites will need to adjust their business model.