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Black Friday 2014 Updates

Amazon Holiday Electronics Guide Update

Amazon.com Electronics Holiday Gift Guide Amazon posted its Electronics Holiday Gift Guide today - 5 days before the November 1st release date that was originally listed!

By far the coolest aspects of the Gift Guide are the tailored categories for recipients, such as "The Gadget Guru", "The Gamer", and "The Photographer". Whether you're shopping for a student or for a music enthusiast, you can use these lists to help find some inspiration.

Most of the deals currently featured on the main page of the guide are limited-time Lightning Deals, expiring at various times between tomorrow and December. More deals will go live throughout November. Remember that some Lightning Deals are able to be accessed 30 minutes early by Amazon Prime members. If you aren't an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial. We recommend waiting to sign up until November 1st or November 2nd so that you have an active Prime membership during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

You can also find deals without an expiration date on the individual category pages. Note that prices are subject to change at any time. Don't forget to shop via your Amazon Smile account, so you can give back to your favorite charity as well as giving some awesome gifts.

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Xbox One Holiday Discounts

Xbox One Holiday Discounts Xbox Wire announced today that starting on November 2nd, Microsoft is slashing the price of the Xbox One to $349.00, and consoles with Kinects have been discounted to $449.00. That price is pretty sweet on an Xbox One console alone, but what's better is that the offer extends to special edition bundles as well. You can save up to $150.00 by taking advantage of this offer.

Assassins Creed Unity Limited Edition Xbox One Bundle The Assassin's Creed: Unity Special Edition Bundle will be available on November 2nd for $349.00. It includes a console, controller, and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag as well as the title game. If you're looking to get the Kinect as well, this will run you $449.00. Assassin's Creed: Unity for Xbox One was sixth on the list of Nielsen's Most Coveted Games of 2014.

Focusing on the French Revolution, Assassin's Creed: Unity is the first game of the series to feature a co-op mode. You can play with up to three other people and enjoy in-depth character customization as well as a new range of weapons. You can read more about the game at Ubisoft.

Sunset Overdrive Limited Edition Xbox One Bundle The Sunset Overdrive Limited Edition Bundle is currently out of stock - hopefully Microsoft adds more of them before the $349.00 price goes live. It comes with a special Cirrus White Xbox One console and controller, as well as a digital download of Sunset Overdrive. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic world, this sandbox game is full of bright visuals and entertaining, engrossing side quests. IGN gave it a 9/10.

Purchasing this bundle not only gives you a special limited edition console, but also yields Day One Edition in-game content. You'll get a "Nothin' But the Hits" gun, a special Fizzie character outfit, and a special melee "Hardcore! Hammer" weapon.
Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Limited Edition Xbox One Bundle
The much-anticipated Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Limited Edition Bundle will be available on November 3rd for $449.99. The cult classic was mentioned across all applicable platforms on Nielsen's List of the Most Coveted Games of 2014; it placed first in the Xbox One category.

Aside from the custom appearance of the console and the controller, this edition also boasts an impressive 1TB hard drive and features special in-game sound effects. It includes a Digital Personalization Pack, a Limited Edition exoskeleton, and the Advanced Arsenal with special custom weapons and extra exoskeletons. You'll get a digital download of the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero edition, along with early access and double XP on November 3rd.

This pricing will be available at major retailers until January 3rd, 2015, so if nothing has caught your eye quite yet you still have some time to decide! We're excited to see how other major players in the console war react to Microsoft's early discounts - and as soon as we hear anything, you'll be the first to know.

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LivingSocial Deal: 1-Year Sam's Club Plus Membership + $20 Gift Card + 4-ct. Free Fresh Food Vouchers - $45.00

LivingSocial Sams Club Deal This deal is just too hot to keep to ourselves! LivingSocial is currently offering a 1-Year Sam's Club Plus Membership bundled with a $20.00 Sam's Club Gift Card and 4 Free Fresh Food Vouchers for only $45.00. That's a 68% discount on $142.18 worth of merchandise and services.

You'll get a 1-year Sam's Club Plus membership, and your spouse or household member can be added on for free. Also included is a $20.00 Sam's Club gift card. To sweeten the deal, you'll receive fresh-food vouchers for a rotisserie chicken, spinach artichoke dip, cookies, and a French baguette.

The immediate benefits aren't the only reason to love this deal. You'll get thousands of dollars in special savings once you activate your membership, as well as $80.00 in Instant Savings offers after a month of being a Sam's Club member. If you redeem your LivingSocial voucher on or before November 21st, you'll also be invited to an exclusive VIP event featuring tons of savings to help you get a jump on your holiday shopping.

This deal is valid for new members, as well as members who have had an expired membership for longer than 6 months. One per person. You can purchase a voucher now, but it won't be eligible for activation until October 29th. Redeem the voucher in-store; find your closest Sam's Club by using their store locator.

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Stores Closed on Thanksgiving 2014

Stores Closed on Thanksgiving Last Thanksgiving was the first time retailers announced opening times that conflicted with Thanksgiving Dinner time. As we reported here and here, most major retailers will be starting their Black Friday 2014 sales before Friday, November 28th this year. Some, however, have pledged to stay closed on November 27th to "respect the holiday and their employees' time spent with family". These brands have a legitimate claim to a good conscience, but we still wonder, since there are so few major retailers on the list, if they are electing not to compete and capitalizing on last year's Black Friday creep backlash. Since the competition is opening on Thanksgiving, that frees up the traditional day for these retailers - and they get the benefit of the good press. A shrewd move, to be sure.

Below you can find a list of the stores that will not be opening their doors on Thanksgiving 2014. If a store name doesn't link to a source, the opening time is a rumor we have been unable to confirm yet, so check back as we update this list.

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Best Buy 4 Day Kickoff Sale

Best Buy Appliance Sale

Best Buy released a 4 Day Kickoff Sale with a few standouts and many lukewarm prices. The sale includes department-wide deals on home items like vacuums, heaters, compact refrigerators and deadbolt locks. Also listed are numerous Panasonic HDTVs at prices that are not competitive when compared against Panasonic's online direct prices.

The lowest priced laptop in the sale is the Samsung 11.6" Chromebook, in it's less desirable 2GB hardwired memory variation, for $199.99. We have seen the Chromebook at this price for $20 less at other times of the year.

Some Deals We Noticed Are:

We anticipate much better HDTV deals just around the bend and some really low prices on basic dual-core Windows-based laptops. As for the latest Apple Macbooks, iPads and iPhones, we don't foresee great savings to be had as they were just released - but great prices should be available on everything a generation back.

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Amazon.com Electronics Holiday Gift Guide Starts Nov. 1st?

Amazon.com Electronics Holiday Gift Guide Have you checked out Amazon's Electronic Holiday Gift Guide page recently? It looks like Amazon.com will be rolling out Black Friday-esque deals starting November 1st. As people who check these things regularly, it's hard not to be excited by "We hope you enjoyed shopping for electronics with us during the 2013 holiday season. Come back starting November 1st, 2014 to discover new, exciting gift ideas at outstanding prices in Computers, Tablets, Television, Home Audio, Mobile Electronics, Wireless, Camera, Office, Musical Instruments, Video Games, Software and much more."

In addition to having some deals, the guide can be a great source of inspiration as you scour the rest of our Black Friday 2014 Adscans for the best Black Friday prices. You can bet if there are any really good deals, from Amazon or elsewhere, they'll end up on our Hot Deals page. We of course recommend using every tool available when putting together your Black Friday Battle Plan, and this guide is worth bookmarking. Who knows what November 1st will bring? You can bet we'll be here to let you know.

Thanks, and happy shopping!

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Record Store Black Friday

Record Store Black Friday Once again, the heralds of Record Store Day have decided to get in on the Black Friday action! The site just released their list of Black Friday 2014 exclusives. Officially, Record Store Day falls on the 3rd Saturday of April. Bands from all different genres work in conjunction with their fans and independent record stores to celebrate vinyl, as well as the indie culture that accompanies it. Sound awesome? You're in luck. You won't have to wait until spring to get your hands on Black Friday releases and limited-run LPs.

Artists tend use Record Store Day as an opportunity to drop special singles or sessions in limited-run colors and quantities. Although the selection isn't as vast as it is in April, there is still tons of noteworthy music coming out this Black Friday.

There's something for everyone, including Against Me!, Wu-Tang Clan, The Beatles, and Diplo. Pop sounds from the boy band 5 Seconds of Summer to heavier artists such as Mastodon are featured. The list is divided into 3 categories: Black Friday exclusives, limited pressings/regionally-focused releases, and music that will be sold for the first time on November 28th.

Record stores are not required to participate, and stock their own inventory. Note that some of these vinyls are only available in select areas. Limited releases often only have 1,000 copies. You can view this list of participating stores, and be sure to contact your shop of choice to double-check on their Black Friday festivities.

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Toys R Us Great Big Christmas Book Posted

Toys R Us Toy Book We just posted the Toys R Us Toy Book sale listing along with the 80-page Toys R Us Toy Book ad scan.

Formerly the Toys R Us Big Book, today Toys R Us gave us another taste of deals to come with their Great Big Christmas Book. These prices go live on November 2nd and will end on November 22nd - right before Black Friday!

This was essentially an expansion of their Hot Toy List. However, if you have presents to buy, this has some great wishlist material. There is something for everyone in this ad, from current favorites like Disney Frozen merchandise to items from classic brands like LEGO and Barbie.

There were a few items listed that especially caught our eye. For the gamers, Toys R Us is offering $20.00 off a 12-Month Xbox Live Membership as well as $10.00 off an extra controller when you purchase an Xbox One System. They'll also be releasing new exclusive Skylanders Trap Team Micro Comic Fun Packs. The Deja Vu version will be released on November 2nd, with Blades following on November 9th and finally Jawbreaker on November 16th.

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Kmart Toy Book Released

Kmart Toy Book We just posted the 413-item Kmart Toy Book sale listing along with the 48-page Kmart Toy Book ad scan, and they are offering some impressive exclusives for Shop Your Way members. Their second page features a "Fab 15" selection of toys - and SYW members will receive a free 6-month upgrade to Shop Your Way Max (free 2-day shipping). Six bonus members who purchase online or in store are entered into their sweepstakes to win all 15 of the toys!

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First Spooky Take Down Letter

First Spooky Take Down Letter While we haven't received as many leaked ads as last year, there's one area where we are still on track: take down requests. Home Depot has sent us our first ad take-down notice of 2014, despite the fact we have not posted a Black Friday ad for Home Depot yet this year.

Home Depot has sent a pre-emptive cease and desist letter before, and received a decorated letter and a Golden t-shirt! While we never received a picture, and therefore could not award a gift card, we're sure Home Depot appreciated our goodwill gesture.

Last year, we also received take down requests from Walmart and Bon-Ton, along with others.

Usually, a cease-and-desist letter is a herald of ad leaks to come. Keep checking back to see what shows up!

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Nielsen Releases Gamer Top Wants List

Nielsen Releases Gamer Want List The Nielsen ratings are out! This time focusing on gamers from all walks of platforms. Nielsen surveyed "nearly 5,000 gamers of all ages over recent weeks..." and crafted a nifty infographic of the top ten games wanted this season.

Many familiar titles command the top ranks like "Destiny" for PS4, "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare" for Xbox One and "Super Smash Bros." on the Wii U and 3DS. Unsurprisingly the much anticipated port of "Minecraft" ranks number one for Vita handheld gamers. PC gamers are not left out of the survey with "The Sims 4" coming in at top honors.

top ten games wanted this season Not one title spans all the major platforms and only "Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham" appears on both handhelds' top ten lists. A number of titles do appear on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC with "Call of Duty: Advanced Warefare" being in 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.

top five exclusive titles for the various gaming consoles Another graph in the news brief from Nielsen shows the top five exclusive titles for the various gaming consoles with reboots of long established series dominating the list. Games like "The Sims 4" for PC, "Halo: The Mater Chief Collection" for Xbox One and "Super Smash Bros." for Wii U and 3DS. PS4 follows suit with the third installment of "LittleBigPlant". We foresee bundle deals from each corner on consoles featuring exclusive titles and bonus accessories.

Some current deals we noticed on list toppers are:


We anticipate the majority of these top titles to see little to no discount this Black Friday. But as with years past big names like Newegg, Best Buy, Dell and Wal-Mart often offer gift cards with the purchase of new titles and pre-orders as well as price guarantees in the event prices do drop.

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BJ's Top 10 Toy List Released

BJ's Top 10 Toy List We just posted the 12-item BJ's Toy List sale listing along with the 2-page BJ's Toy List ad scan!

BJ's has released their list of Top 10 Toys for the 2014 holiday season. As has proven to be the trend this year, they heavily featured Disney products - 3/10, to be exact. Although they make no mention of the popular Snow Glow Elsa Doll, BJ's still showed Disney's Frozen some love by showcasing Sing and Swing Olaf. They also listed an assortment of Disney Plush Characters and two different styles of a Doc McStuffins Check-Up Playset. This follows in the footsteps of the other toybooks we've released - Target, Walmart, and Toys R Us have all made mention of Frozen and Doc McStuffins merchandise.

BJ's called out the LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra, also listed in Target's toy book. We have seen various LeapFrog items mentioned from other stores as well. It seems that tech products geared towards kids are going to be sticking around.

Another interesting trend we have noticed is the rising popularity of childrens' hands-on arts-and-crafts kits. BJ's features their exclusive Squishy Sand, whereas Toys R Us and Walmart listed items such as make-your-own chandelier and DIY phone case kits.

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Boosted Pumpkin Carving Contest Prizes!

Black Friday Pumpkin Carving Contest Every year we try to improve on our giveaways and contests, so that we can make the Black Friday experience the best it can possibly be. This year will be no different!

In November of 2013 we gave away a mind-boggling $15,000 in prizes - every single day of the month we were awarding t-shirts, gift cards, and awesome prizes. This year we've already increased our contests and giveaways for September and October, and now we have even better news: we're raising the prize amounts for the top three winners in our Pumpkin Carving Contest!

First place in the 5th Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest is now going to be $250, second place will be $150, and third place will be $100! All of our entries are added to the public album on our Facebook page, so go check out some of the awesome designs we've already received if you need inspiration. The contest runs until October 30th, so you still have plenty of time to enter. Good luck, and happy Halloween!

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Real Facts: Nordstrom's Price Matching Policy

Real Facts: Nordstrom's Price Matching Policy Rumors have been circulating about Nordstrom's price matching policy and Black Friday 2014. We're here to set the record straight.

Nordstrom's price matching policy is not couched in hard to read "legalese," but the first paragraph may be causing confusion:

"We are committed to offering you the best possible prices. We will meet similar retailers' prices if you find an item that we offer available elsewhere. We'll also be happy to adjust the price of an item you've purchased if it goes on sale within two weeks of your order date. Please note that price matching only applies to items of the same size and color. Designer items can only be matched when purchased at regular price."

It is true that throughout the year, Nordstrom will price match, provided that the item is the same and is from a similar retailer. The second paragraph, however, is our concern:

"We are unable to match prices from auction and outlet stores or their websites, or other retailers' discount promotions, shipping offers and gift card offers."

We called the Nordstrom number listed on their price matching policy, and asked if it would extend to Black Friday offers.

Their answer? "It depends." For Nordstrom to price match, the item must be widely available. Therefore, it is unlikely that a doorbuster limited to a certain number of people, or is a limited quantity, or for a limited time, would qualify. It also must be from a credible site or retailer. The representative did indicate that there could be Black Friday items that they would price match, but under the policy linked above, they would not be obligated to.

So, is it a good idea to go to Nordstrom to try and game the system? No, we don't think it is. First, the match on a promotion is not guaranteed. Second, doorbusters and other really good limited deals aren't likely to qualify. Finally, the item must be identical and in stock. This seems unlikely in a hectic, Black Friday atmosphere.

If you want to hinge your Black Friday Battle Plan on this tactic, or if you have a legitimate price match, the easiest way to take advantage of it is by using their live help section. You can also call customer service at 1.888.282.6060.

Thanks, and happy shopping!

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Target Offers Free Shipping, No Minimum for the Holidays

Target Offers Free Shipping Target may have just forced competitors to step their game up. The retail giant has announced that from now until December 20th, they'll be offering free shipping with any online order. The offer extends to clearance items and requires no minimum purchase.

Every online shopper knows the frustration of high shipping costs, especially when they appear after the shopping cart is already full. Shipping fees are one of the most frequent reasons that buyers don't complete their order. Target aims to keep their customers - and keep them coming back - by offering free shipping this year. The only other comparable shipping offer is the free 2-day shipping that comes with an Amazon Prime membership. However, you won't have to pay a $99.00 fee to shop at Target. They are also extending their price adjustment window from November 1st to December 24th. Note that they will not price match competitor's Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals.

Target's efforts to shake things up this year are probably related to the security breach they faced last fall. Their new CEO, Brian Cornell, said in an interview with USA Today that Target is "...very focused and committed to making sure that [they are] managing data security as carefully as possible." Target isn't alone in their hacking scandal; Neiman Marcus, Home Depot, and most recently, Staples, are just a few of several retail chains that have been victims of data theft. If Target wants to prove that their customers are valued, footing shipping costs this year is a step in the right direction.

You won't have to shop online to experience all that Target has to offer. Cartwheel, Target's mobile coupon app, will feature 50% off a different toy every day from November 2nd to December 24th. Most Cartwheel coupons can only be redeemed in-store. Their interactive shopping app for iPad will, among other things, allow kids to build their holiday wishlists using a game-like experience; parents can then purchase the items using the app.

Target boasts over 35,000 new items this holiday season. More than a fifth of their toys will be exclusives, including 60 Frozen-related toys. Expect to see items inspired by their recent partnership with TOMS shoes as well.

We're excited to see how other retailers respond to Target's bold move. One thing is certain - in a race for customers, only the hottest deals will win. BFAds will be here to fill you in!

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