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Meet the Black Friday mavens

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As a high school junior, Brim launched his first Black Friday site,, before opening BFads in 2005. After a slew of media attention, including a write-up that appeared prominently in the New York Times, traffic to his site exploded.

While coy about just how many mailing list subscribers he has or what his site generates in terms of revenue, Brim has been able to pay an associate to help keep up his site and several writers to put together a number of Black Friday shopping guides.

It’s the guides – which point out the best deals for laptops at various price levels, for example – that Brim sees as his best service to shoppers who aren’t deal fanatics.

“I really try to cookbook it and lay it out. It’s basically handholding but a lot of people appreciate handholding,” Brim says. “If I were unfamiliar with something, to have someone say, instead of one is the best, that, ‘Well, all these TVs are good in their own way,’ I might end up buying one that sucks. I would just rather someone tell me, ‘This is the one, here’s the budget.’ ”

Putting together the guides are help he’s needed — while he takes the minimum class load during the fall quarter at Cal Poly, his sleeping habits are wrecked during the Black Friday season. But the work makes Brim a tidy financial windfall.

“If I lived anywhere other than California I’d be self sufficient just running the site,” Brim says.

And an increasing focus on online deals will make future Black Fridays better and better for Black Friday mavens. Because BFads makes a small commission when shoppers pass through their site en route to making a purchase on a retailer’s page, they stand to gain even more in years to come.

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