Funny Business with Jane Wells

Yahoo Sings For Its Supper

You may have noticed that Yahoo! is trying to get your attention with a new promotional campaign, trying to convince web surfers that Yahoo! is all about Y!ou. Actually I don't care if it's all about me. I just want a search engine that's fast, accurate, and gives me desired results. I like Yahoo's front page, as there is often some story there which piques my interest, but too often with the new Yahoo! my cursor accidentally enlarges something from the left hand menu and I go somewhere I don't want to go. Yes, operator error, but help me out here. It didn't happen before.

Kimberly Caldwell
Getty Images

Part of the new promotional campaign includes letting people present their own version of Yahoo's iconic yodel. You can submit yours online, and, to give you some ideas, the company paid professional musicians to give the yodela variety of riffs.

My favorite is "Metal 2".

Today Yahoo! is holding live yodeling auditions in Mumbai, India. Monday the company held them in New York and London. In New York, celebrities like Jewel, LeAnn Rimes, Randy Jackson, and Pete Wentz helped "mentor" would-be yodelers in Times Square. The company donated $10 to charity for every entrant. So does the winner get the official yodeling gig? Well, not really. Instead, the company announced that winning participants may be featured in Yahoo's new ad campaign.

Ok, so you probably don't really have a shot at replacing the current Yahoo! yodel. Maybe because the company would like to avoid a repeat of what happened with the original yodeler? Country music singer Wylie Gustafson says he was paid about $590 to belt out the Yahoo yodel back in 1996 for one commercial. He later sued Yahoo! for $5 million for continuing to use of his voice in various ad campaigns without permission. Sounds like a country song. Both sides later settled.

This time around, many would-be "yodelers" aren't really yodeling, but that's ok.

It's fun to watch people let loose.

Here's a snippet of some of the people trying out in New York, as Jewel observed that they were sharing "their most prized possession," their yodel.

Some gifts are best not given. As amusing to me as some of the yodels was the reaction of celebrity mentors. Jewel and LeAnn Rimes clearly knew what Yahoo was expecting from them, while Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz seemed a little uncomfortable. "I can't actually yodel in a real way," he said.

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