Today is a day to tread lightly around the Internet, lest you get drawn in by some April Fools' Day prank. Whether you believe it or not, the masters of the craft can use April 1 silliness for business purposes.
That's what Google
It's a quick reminder of Google's fiber broadband experiment, in case anyone forgot about it already. This little naming trick doesn't cost Google anything, but if it raises awareness of broadband shortage issues in at least one politician somewhere, Topeka has served Google well. The company also takes the opportunity to plug its beta-centric product development schedule as well as how Google is a great place to dig for information. There was something about rebuilt bridges and digging for potatoes in there to make it all Topeka-topical.
It doesn't end there, either. In what looks like a coordinated publicity stunt, tech news site TechCrunch primed its followers for "some kind of huge new alternative energy initiative" announcement from Google, and then sprung a clever April Fools' joke a day early. A nuclear energy buyout in some unspecified but unregulated country would give Google the power to make depleted uranium for next-generation energy needs -- and to build nuclear weapons to keep China honest. This prank highlighted both Google's recent Chinese troubles and its long-standing commitment to alternative energy, and I bet that Larry, Sergey, and Eric were in on the joke.
It's a crafty use of our silliest global holiday that would look right at home on our own Fool.com home page. You might expect more businesses to leverage this crazy, free marketing, but the usual suspects of outlandish behavior, like Yahoo!
Did I miss your favorite April Fools' marketing move? Fill in the blanks in the comments section below, please.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Besides the jokes, today also kicks off National Poetry Month, and Anders couldn't be happier. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Starbucks is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Oracle. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.