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Meet the Black Friday mavens

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But it hasn’t always been big profits and bigger traffic for Brim. While in high school, he tangled with Sears and K-Mart over their Black Friday circulars. He found out Office Depot called his father at work, demanding that their circular be taken down, when his mother showed up, fuming, in his high school’s front office.

Now, many retailers e-mail him circulars directly. And when he graduates in the spring, he’s facing a bit of a conundrum.

“I’m going to try to do it for as long as I can,” Brim, an electrical engineering major says. “But then I can’t exactly go in the industry and say, ‘I’d love to take this job but I need October and November off.’ It’s really hard.”


Where Brim drew his inspiration from the thrill of the hunt,’s Jon Vincent came to the Black Friday deals world as a classic Internet innovator: figuring out ways to creatively out-do the powers-that-be.

“It’s cool that with just a couple guys, we’re going to have 10-12 million unique people visit the website this month,” Mr. Vincent says. “Lots of big companies out there have full-time staff. We can do the same thing on just a couple guys.”

Vincent, a software engineer, takes all of his annual leave during the month of November to run the site full-time. He and three friends keep an avid eye on a single e-mail address for the latest in leaked deals. From his home office in Tyngsborough, Mass., Vincent was the first to post Wal-Mart’s Black Friday circular, an event that involved a bit of back-and-forth with the retail colossus.

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