• United States
Contributing Writer

Kids lead to e-commerce bucks

Apr 24, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Yahoo takes a leaf from Oprah's book

How do toy makers and fast food chains get families to buy their products? They place their ads in front of kids. Kids are the quickest way to a parent’s wallet. And Yahoo proved this month that it knows this rule applies threefold online.

Thinking what’s good for Oprah is good for us, the online company launched a monthly book club for its Yahooligans site. Yahooligans, a content and portal site, dubs itself a safe haven for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade. It’s also a destination site for teachers and parents to learn more about age-appropriate content for their students and children.

The book club itself is a brilliant idea. Take celebrities that these kids look up to like skateboarding pro Tony Hawk, skater Michelle Kwan, skier Picabo Street and singer Lance Bass and ask them to review some books. Chances are if N’Syncer Lance Bass likes the book, teenyboppers will beg their parents for the book, as well.

And Yahoo is subtle – in a way – about getting the parents to fork over their cash. On the right-hand side of the book club pages, there is a section where kids can fill in their parent’s e-mail address and their name. Then Yahoo sends the parent a note asking them if they want to buy the book from Yahoo shopping. Clever, clever, clever.

Chances are this is going to resonate pretty well with parents and their kids as parents are always trying to figure out what books to buy their kids.


Last week, CNN inadvertently exposed a series of mock-up obituaries that Web site designers had prepared for prominent – and still living – political figures and celebrities such as Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan and Nelson Mandela. The situation occurred when a protected site was briefly left without password protection and became accessible to the public. These types of gaffes are not unusual. But they can serve as a lesson to us all. What was the worst gaffe you’ve experienced? Names and sites will be kept anonymous. Send your stories to