Yahoo! Pays Some Travelers Baggage Fees

Yahoo! Inc.’s (YHOO) new, $100 million ad campaign has pretty much been panned. But the Internet company did something nothing short of brilliant last week that should get its name out better and faster than the “It’s Y!ou” marketing – it paid airline customers’ baggage fees.

Well, in the San Francisco and San Jose airports, anyway. Here’s what happened: Yahoo! sent workers to the two airports on Dec. 23 to pay those ridiculous and ever-higher baggage fees. A Yahoo! rep told various media the idea was to create goodwill.

The Business Insider, though, pegged the intent right away.

“Goodwill? Great. Putting the idea in consumers’ heads that Yahoo is a company that will make navigating the world simpler and cheaper? Brilliant.”

Just one problem – the scale of the stunt. Instead of spending millions on the lame TV and Internet ads and covering two airports for one day, “Yahoo could have ‘sponsored’ baggage checks throughout the holidays all over the country,” Business Insider wrote.

Excellent point. What better way to foster goodwill and build brand loyalty than to ease potential users’ financial pain? Yahoo! does have other opportunities to follow up on this idea – there’s the summer holiday travel season and there’s always next year’s holidays too. Let’s hope it’s not too late by that time.

Yahoo! is working hard to recover its place as a top search engine firm. Yet, it faces a long, difficult climb. Yahoo! is lagging behind archrival Google Inc. and is even struggling to compete against Microsoft’s new Bing search engine.

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