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Monday, Monday, Can't Trust That Day

(AP)
If the hype is to be believed, no one is reading Public Eye today. Or CBSNews.com. Or any news site, really. Nope, they're too busy shopping online. Today, after all, is "Cyber Monday," as we've repeatedly been informed by the press, the cyber-sibling to "Black Friday" which marks the biggest online shopping day of the year. We discussed the phenomenon last year, following a Trish Regan report speculating that "Cyber Monday" "could be one of the busiest days for Web retailers ever recorded."

There's just one problem, as we noted last November: "Cyber Monday," as CNET has also pointed out, is a load of hooey. "The biggest online holiday shopping day is not, as it turns out, the Monday after Thanksgiving," notes Candace Lombardi. Last year, the biggest online shopping day was December 5th, or maybe December 12th. One thing is certain: It wasn't the first Monday after thanksgiving. So why the hype?

You guessed it: Marketing. As Businessweek pointed out last year, "Shop.org, an association for retailers that sell online, dreamed up the term just days before putting out a Nov. 21 [2005] press release touting Cyber Monday as "one of the biggest online shopping days of the year."

Here's more:

The idea was born when a few people at the organization were brainstorming about how to promote online shopping, says Shop.org Executive Director Scott Silverman, who answered his phone, "Happy Cyber Monday." They quickly discarded suggestions such as Black Monday (too much like Black Friday), Blue Monday (not very cheery), and Green Monday (too environmentalist), and settled on Cyber Monday. "It's not the biggest day," Silverman concedes. "But it was an opportunity to create some consumer excitement."
And while the media is "supposed to unwrap the flashy packaging around non-stories like this one," as CJR's Gal Beckerman wrote last year, the term doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. A Google news search reveals that the phrase has appeared in more than 1,200 stories. And while many retail sites may not be seeing their biggest traffic today, at least these guys surely are.
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