WASHINGTON – A California college freshman's Web site could be the best friend a bargain hunter has ever had.
Michael Brim's BF2005.com is posting the sales and deals that national retailers will dangle to draw shoppers on so-called Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
The student, studying electrical engineering at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., has scanned holiday-sale circulars and lists of items from dozens of national retailers on his "Black Friday 2005" site.
So if you're the kind of person who likes the post-Thanksgiving crowds and want to organize your store assault, this site may be for you.
It's Brim's second effort. But this year, "Sears (SHLD) sent us two letters complaining we put up their circulars," he said in an interview. "We took them down, but added Sears again after the ads were given out to the general public."
Merchants complained that their copyrights on the ads were being violated, and that publishing their plans was revealing trade secrets. Brim thinks the retailers should thank him for giving their ads wider circulation.
Many of the files on the site are digital photographs of the flyers that will appear in newspapers Thursday morning. "People send them to us," Brim said. "They come from people who have early access to the ads on a job, or they work for newspapers or the company that prints them."
Traffic to the site is high, requiring Brim and his partner to add servers and bandwidth. "Last year, we had 11 million hits on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving." This year, visits have quadrupled.
The college freshman generates the money to pay for the site's operation by carrying advertising. He said that he checks his account balance six times a day to see how much he's making from ad click-throughs and displays.
Looking ahead to next week, Brim added that computers and high-definition TVs will be heavily promoted. Three retailers, including Wal-Mart (WMT) , CompUSA and Best Buy (BBY) will be offering laptops for less than $400.
"Sears and Best Buy will also have 51-inch projection HD sets for under $900," he said.
After Thanksgiving, BF2005.com goes into hibernation. "This site only happens once a year. It'll be the same until next October."
Here are some other Black Friday Web sites: and .
NBC TV OKs Net distribution on demand
NBC Universal said it will make available movies including "Ray" and "Meet the Fokkers" and TV shows over the Internet for a fee.
The company said it has agreed to license content to Wurld Media, operator of a peer-to-peer networking service that currently has music tracks from four major labels.
"NBC Universal has a long history of embracing technology to better service our viewers," said Bob Wright, vice chairman of GE (GE) , in a statement.
Wurld Media said files downloaded from its the PeerImpact.com Web site will be available for viewing for 24 hours after purchase. A spokeswoman said that pricing has not yet been determined. It is hoped the first programming will be available for download early next year.