Yahoo! Goes Out-of-Home To Promote Shopping Site

Yahoo! today goes outdoors, to one of the most jam-packed locations on earth--Times Square--in a bid to persuade shoppers to avoid holiday crowds by making purchases and researching products online.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Internet portal company brings to Manhattan its 18-foot-tall "shopping snow globe" in an attempt to educate pedestrians about Internet shopping. The Absolute Hollywood-designed globe, big enough to hold 20 adults, also boasts a photo-ready Santa Claus, falling "snow" made out of potato starch, and a computer with Wi-Fi access inside. Nearby will be four other Wi-Fi computers, so that passersby can do some on-scene Internet shopping.

The globe, designed by Absolute Hollywood, will be at Times Square near 47th Street and Broadway today and tomorrow, but in no other cities. "We just wanted to bring it to the center of the retail universe," said Rob Solomon, vice president and general manager of Yahoo! Shopping.

Yahoo!'s shopping site should see good results this season with or without the snow globe campaign, if surfing behavior is anything to go by. Research firm Hitwise said this week that shopping sites drew 8.37 percent of all Internet visits--from shoppers and browsers--for the week ending Nov. 20, and 8.02 percent of all visits for the week ending Nov. 13, both of which surpassed last year's high of 7.84 percent, which was for the week ending Dec. 13.

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Separately, a Yahoo! online survey of about 2000 adults, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that nearly all--96 percent--intend to purchase gifts for family members, while 60 percent intend to buy for friends, 29 percent for their pets, 23 percent for co-workers, and 11 percent for their bosses. And they're not forgetting to look out for No. 1: about half--45 percent--say they usually buy something for themselves.

Also for the holidays, Yahoo! launched a sweepstakes program, giving consumers a shot at winning $10,000 cash or one of five packages of gifts.

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