Yahoo! Pulls CEO Prank, Unveils Fun Tool
Article by George Norman
On 02 Apr 2010
As you may have noticed, all the news we reported on yesterday were nothing but April Fools pranks. Search engine giant Google lead the pack by announcing that: Google would be renamed Topeka, Gmail suffered a vowel outage, Street View uncovered an extra dimension, Google Translate can translate what animals say, Google Docs allows you to upload anything.

Speaking of search engines, Yahoo! also pulled a prank – a CEO Prank. Yahoo! created a fake article in which it claimed that its President and Chief Executive Officer, Carol Bartz, is being investigated by the FCC (Federal Communications Commissions) for letting a curse word slip out. The FCC, as Yahoo! said yesterday, is investigating if “what she said during a recent TV interview violated current broadcasting standards and could warrant a fine.”


Here’s the interesting part. The article about Carol Bartz was posted on a what seemed like a legitimate news site zomg! The site wasn’t genuine – when you clicked the Read more button a prompt would appear: You Got Fooled! Happy April Fool’s Day! And a “create your own article” button would appear. Click that button and you can create a genuine-looking article that mentions you, or one of your friends.

You get to select the name of the person that will be mentioned in the article. And you get to select what the article is about. The options are: baby bumps, seen about town, fashion faux pas, American Idol, Sarah Palin reality show, train wrecks, best friends forever, makeover, 2 hot to 2 handle.

“We do a lot at Yahoo! Labs to try and understand the scientific phenomena underlying the Web. We’re always devising complex experiments, testing algorithms, machine learning and designing markets according to cutting edge economic concepts. Math, code and technical jargon abound at our lunches. But eccentricities aside, in our hearts and minds, we’re just like everyone else. We long to imagine ourselves as being “seen about town” and caught up in celebrity intrigue with Megan Fox. Well ok, some of us do,” commented Prabhakar Raghavan on behalf of the Yahoo! Labs team.

I have to say I did see this article yesterday and I was fooled. I genuinely thought it was for real when I saw the announcement online. And so did Yahoo! CFO Tim Morse. “Last night he was ready to throw our CMO Elisa Steele under the bus when she sent him the pretend FCC Fining Carol story as an urgent FYI,” said Prabhakar Raghavan.

Here’s the amusing article I came up with when I tried zomg! out:

I know April Fools is over, but you could still have some fun with this interesting tool.

Tags: Yahoo!, FCC, CEO, Carol Bartz, April Fools, zomg!
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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