Yahoo! Celebrates Birthday With Promotion

Portal player Yahoo is celebrating its 10th birthday by giving away scoops of ice cream Wednesday, in a promotion that should both boost its registration numbers and help Baskin-Robbins build its house email list.

“The real reason why we’re doing it is we wanted to do something unique and nice for our users to say thank you for the support over the past 10 years,” said Joanna Stevens, a Yahoo spokesperson, noting that there is historical significance in the use of ice cream. “In the very early days, when Yahoo was a much smaller company, every employee used to get a Baskin-Robbins cake for their birthday.”

The company wouldn’t disclose the nature of its financial relationship with Baskin-Robbins.

Ads for the promotion will appear on the Yahoo home page and throughout the Yahoo network. Creative reads: “Yahoo Happy 10th Birthday. Free Ice Cream. Today Only! Click here.”

When users click, they’re taken to a landing page that explains the promotion: users get an online coupon for one free scoop of Baskin-Robbins ice cream redeemable only on March 2, 2005. When they click to get the coupon, they’re prompted either to log in to their Yahoo account or register as a Yahoo member. Yahoo has long touted its registration numbers as a sign of user loyalty. Registration also allows Yahoo to collect more information about users so it can better target ads to them.

Coupon registrants also have a chance to opt in to Baskin-Robbins’ Birthday Club email list, which rewards children under 12 with a free ice cream cone coupon on their birthdays and provides older members with coupons and offers.

Users then click to a printable coupon, an opportunity to find a nearby Baskin-Robbins with Yahoo Local, and driving directions to a store. (Yahoo got a chance to hone its ice cream marketing skills in a promotion with Ciao Bella Gelato run in conjunction with “The Apprentice”.)

Besides the promotion, Yahoo is celebrating the anniversary of its launch with what it’s calling a “Netrospective,” a microsite that chronicles 100 milestones in the history of the Internet. The design for the site was inspired by digital artist Jonathan Harris’ 10×10 art project and was created with his help.

“It’s a walk down memory lane through the most significant things that have happened on the Internet,” said Stevens.

The site shows 100 thumbnails arranged in chronological order, each representing a particular moment. When the user clicks on the image, a box appears, further explaining the historical moment the image represents. Moments portrayed include Yahoo’s incorporation, the launch of craigslist, the AOL/Time Warner merger, Howard Dean’s use of the Net for fundraising, and the debut of Firefox.

Ads pointing to the Netrospective will run on Yahoo’s home page and across its network for the next 10 days.

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