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Blue Nile Kicks Off Engagement Season and Cyber Monday With First Live Proposal at NASDAQ

Perry Whan and Michaela Maloney, Winners of Blue Nile's "Ring It. Sing It." Online Contest, Engaged Live as Part of Cyber Monday Kick-Off Event During Opening Bell Ceremonies at NASDAQ
/ Source: GlobeNewswire

Perry Whan and Michaela Maloney, Winners of Blue Nile's "Ring It. Sing It." Online Contest, Engaged Live as Part of Cyber Monday Kick-Off Event During Opening Bell Ceremonies at NASDAQ

Couple Treated to Special, Live Performances From Universal Recording Artist and Actress Katharine McPhee and Green River Ordinance's Josh Jenkins and Joshua Wilkerson

SEATTLE, Nov. 29, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, November 29, is not only Cyber Monday, but the kickoff to the peak engagement season - the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas which has historically accounted for approximately 20 percent of annual engagements. And while a few celebrity couples like Prince William and Kate Middleton, Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson, and Vanessa Manillo and Nick Lachey got a bit of a head-start on the action, Blue Nile, Inc. (Nasdaq:NILE), the leading online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry, helped Indianapolis couple Perry Whan and Michaela Maloney celebrate their love right on time with a first-of-its-kind live engagement at NASDAQ in Times Square. In addition, Blue Nile Chief Executive Officer Diane Irvine rang the opening bell, signaling the official start of the online holiday shopping season.

"We are excited and honored to begin the engagement season by being part of the proposal of this wonderful couple," said Blue Nile Chief Executive Officer Diane Irvine. "Our business is all about bringing people together. The public declaration of love between Perry and Michaela seems an especially appropriate way of celebrating this most wonderful time of the year."

Earlier this month, Blue Nile launched the online engagement contest "Ring It. Sing It." which offered couples considering engagement the opportunity to win a Blue Nile diamond engagement ring, an all-expense paid trip to New York, and the chance to have the ultimate engagement experience - a live proposal at NASDAQ in Times Square with an exclusive holiday performance from Universal recording artist and actress Katharine McPhee and an acoustic performance from Josh Jenkins and Joshua Wilkerson of the pop-rock band Green River Ordinance (GRO).

Whan's photo essay describing why he loves girlfriend Michaela was selected as the winning entry by a distinguished panel of judges including McPhee, GRO, Sharon Feder Hirsch from Mashable, Abby Larson from Style Me Pretty, and representatives from Blue Nile. With the help of Blue Nile and NASDAQ, Whan pulled off the surprise engagement by convincing his new fiancee Michaela that he had won a trip to New York through his business school to job-shadow at NASDAQ for a day.

"I met Michaela in the 7th grade on my first day at a new school and knew then she was special," said Perry Whan. "It took me a while to win her heart, but I finally did sophomore year of high school. Through three years of high school, four years of college, and three years of graduate school, I have fully spent half my life with her already, and I can't imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else."

Singer and actress Katharine McPhee added, "Perry and Michaela have such a wonderful love story. I've had the privilege of getting to know Perry a little as I helped him design the ring for Michaela, and he's just so in love with her. I'm thrilled to have been able to share in their special day with a song from my new holiday album that truly reflects their love."

As part of the "Ring It. Sing It." contest, 11 additional couples will receive a one-of-a-kind song about their love written and performed by Green River Ordinance using ooVoo, a high-quality video communication service, and a beautiful Infinity Love Knot Pendant from Blue Nile. 

"It's already been so cool to be able to meet and interact with fans - old and new - through this program," said Josh Jenkins, lead singer of Green River Ordinance. "We're excited to be able to create lasting, loving memories not only for Perry and Michaela, but for all of the winning couples."

Cyber Monday Free Overnight Shipping and Special Savings on Holiday Exclusives

In addition to the NASDAQ Opening Bell ceremony, Blue Nile is upgrading every Cyber Monday order to free FedEx Priority Overnight shipping. No minimum order amount or coupon code is needed to receive free overnight shipping. Consumers need only place their order on November 29 and it will arrive the next day.

In addition, Cyber Monday also brings with it new Blue Nile Holiday Exclusives. These special, hand-selected jewelry pieces are available at savings of up to 44 percent. Each day at midnight EST a new Holiday Exclusives piece will be unveiled online at . Customers will then have 24 hours, or while supplies last, to take advantage of that day's Holiday Exclusives item. To ensure everyone has a chance to take advantage of the savings and get in on this season's best kept secrets, Holiday Exclusives are priced to fit every budget; ranging from $50 pearl cuff bracelets (regularly $85) to a $40,800, 30-carat diamond opera necklace (regularly $68,000).

The Fan Advantage

Shoppers who "like" the Blue Nile page on Facebook will get the first look at Holiday Exclusives and the opportunity to browse and buy before the rest of the world. Jewelry lovers can also follow Blue Nile on Twitter @bluenilediamond to receive alerts before the sales begin.

For consumers who need more time to sort through their list, Blue Nile also offers an interactive showcase of its top holiday gifts. Consumers can browse the most popular gifts by visiting Blue Nile's Facebook page and clicking on the "Holiday Gifts" tab. Items can be viewed, purchased and even shared with friends and family members as a subtle hint through the tab.

Mobile Jewelry Shopping

With the free Blue Nile iPhone app and mobile website shoppers can take Blue Nile with them wherever they go. The Diamond Search feature enables customers to search Blue Nile's collection of more than 70,000 diamonds and comparison shop in real time. For consumers seeking gifts of fine jewelry, Blue Nile's Top 10 Holiday Gift Ideas are available on both the free Blue Nile iPhone app as well as Blue Nile mobile website. With only a touch these items can be viewed and purchased, and will ship absolutely free.

For purchases up to $14,000, consumers may use PayPal Mobile Express Checkout. For larger purchases, consumers can checkout through the Blue Nile shopping cart.

The Blue Nile App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone or at .

Shopping Made Easy, Shipping Made Free

Customers who need a little extra help finding the perfect diamond engagement ring or jewelry gift can phone Blue Nile's Diamond & Jewelry Consultants at 1-800-242-2728. Diamond & Jewelry Consultants do not work on commission. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

All Blue Nile jewelry is shipped absolutely free via FedEx and arrives in elegant packaging so it is ready to present. Orders are shipped fully-insured to the recipient and can be returned for a full refund or exchange up to 30 days after purchase. Blue Nile provides grading reports for all certified diamonds and professional appraisals for diamond, gemstone, and pearl jewelry valued above$1,000.

To learn more about Blue Nile, follow us on Facebook () and Twitter (), or visit our website ().

About Blue Nile, Inc.

Blue Nile, Inc. is the leading online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry. The Company delivers the ultimate customer experience, providing consumers with a superior way to buy engagement rings, wedding rings and fine jewelry. Blue Nile offers in-depth educational materials and unique online tools that place consumers in control of the jewelry shopping process. The Company has some of the highest quality standards in the industry and offers thousands of independently certified diamonds and fine jewelry at prices significantly below traditional retail. Blue Nile can be found online at , and . Blue Nile's shares are traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC under the symbol NILE. 

About Green River Ordinance

Green River Ordinance is a pop/rock band hailing from Fort Worth, TX. In 2009 and 2010, GRO saw tastes of much sought after success: two Top 40 radio singles, songs on over 20 TV shows, two music videos on MTV and VH1, US tours with American Idol winners David Cook & Kris Allen, Goo Goo Dolls, Collective Soul, Train, Lifehouse, and many others. GRO has three albums currently available nationwide at all digital retailers. Green River Ordinance can be found online at and . GRO's "Grab Your Dancing Shoes" Fall tour is coming to a city near you, visit for details. 

About Katharine McPhee

With her holiday album, Christmas is the Time… To Say I Love You,now in stores, Katharine McPhee is a success in both the music and movie industries. McPhee's career launched with her renowned run on "American Idol" in 2006. She has already enjoyed success with Christmas releases from her 2007 single "O Come All Ye Faithful" to 2009's "I'll Be Home For Christmas." She has also become a fixture on television around holiday time, from a Christmas in Washington special performing for the First Family to a My Christmas concert starring Andrea Bocelli.

About ooVoo

ooVoo provides high quality video communication services to anyone with a PC or Mac, broadband connection and a web camera.  ooVoo's technology enables businesses and consumers to experience high-quality, real-time video calls with up to six users anytime and anywhere in the world.  Product features include high-resolution video calling, video conversation recording, phone calling to PSTN landlines and mobile lines, desktop sharing, video messaging, instant message chat and file sharing.  Download ooVoo at .

About Style Me Pretty

Launched in February of 2007, Style Me Pretty has become a premier resource in the wedding industry, with nods in nearly every major bridal magazine. As a style savvy wedding resource devoted to the modern bride, Style Me Pretty covers topics ranging from gorgeous weddings to up-and-coming vendors and seasoned pros in the invitation, floral, fashion and photography industries. The blog features only the most chic and style centric wedding related content, continually discovering new and brilliantly talented vendors, brides with an eye for all things gorgeous, and the personal loves of editor, Abby Larson.

About Mashable

Founded in 2005, Mashable is the top source for news in social and digital media, technology and web culture. With more than 30 million monthly pageviews, Mashable is the most prolific news site reporting breaking web news, providing analysis of trends, reviewing new Web sites and services, and offering social media resources and guides. Mashable's audience includes early adopters, social media enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, influencers, brands and corporations, marketing, PR and advertising agencies, Web 2.0 aficionados and technology journalists. Mashable is also popular with bloggers, Twitter and Facebook users - an increasingly influential demographic.

CONTACT: Blue Nile, Inc. Media Contact John Baird 206.336.6805 Fleishman-Hillard Media Contact Sean Lashley 618.444.0707