My 11/29/09 Missoulian column
Friday was Black Friday, the day when brick-and-mortar retailers around the country hope to draw in millions of buyers, sell lots of stuff and break into the black – show a profit.
And like anything these days, there’s an online corollary to Black Friday, and it’s tomorrow. It’s called Cyber Monday, and it’s touted as the busiest online shopping day of the year. The plan is for brick-and-mortar retailers to draw millions to their stores’ online counterparts, and retailers that exist solely on the Web are hoping for a big Monday, too.
And there’s a Web site just for Cyber Monday. If you go to cybermonday.com, you’ll see ads from many major retailers, hourly deals and even a “Green Shopping” category, with some proceeds going to a scholarship fund.
But is the Monday after Thanksgiving really the busiest online shopping day of the year? Nope. To sort out the conflicting claims, I turned to www.snopes.com.
Cyber Monday is really nothing more than a marketing ploy, and the buzzphrase is only four years old. Shop.org invented the phrase Cyber Monday and the National Retail Federation owns both the www.cybermonday.com and www.shop.org domains.
The busiest online shopping day of the year can be Thanksgiving Day itself. Could it be that when football or visiting relatives gets stale, people wander off to the PC and start shopping? Maybe. There are more interesting details at Snopes.com.
The National Retail Federation also owns the “.org” address of Cyber Monday. But in a marketing slip-up, the NRF forgot to grab the “.net” domain, and now someone else owns it and runs a different Cyber Monday site at the “net” address. I suspect some lawyers have been busy all year on that issue.
And there’s yet another scam this Cyber Monday. If you’re Googling around for Cyber Monday specials, watch out. At some sites, I was confronted with fake pop-up “Security Scan” warnings that told me I had to scan for viruses.
Don’t fall for those warnings; they will plant malware on your PC. Close the browser window and go elsewhere to shop on Cyber Monday.