- 3.26.10 - 11:30AM
- - by
- Cole Stryker
Cities Woo Google Fiber With Zany Stunts
Back in February, Google announced that they were planning to launch Google Fiber, a fiber optic trial network, in several US cities, but they hadn't decided which ones. In this economic climate, city governments are eager to attract tech companies' attention.
At stake are citywide internet speeds 100 times those of the rest of the country, so city organizers are getting creative. Several dozen midsize cities are hoping to be among the chosen and a few are going to great lengths to woo the search giant.
Earlier this week, we shared Greenville, South Carolina's efforts to catch Google's attention with a giant Google logo made from thousands of glow sticks. We talked with Aaron von Frank, of WeAreFeelingLucky.com about their effort.
At this initial meeting the first thing that popped into my head was "Google On Main." The reason: Greenville has the coolest downtown/Main Street I've been to anywhere in the US, and we have a massive water fall (Reedy River Falls) with a one-of-a-kind suspension bridge (Liberty Bridge) and community park (Falls Park) right in the heart of our city that people always fall in love with when they come to visit.
We had about 13 days to pull off this stunt. Doing it would require the city to shut down Main St, block traffic, potentially disrupt the hundreds of businesses on the street, etc so it wasn't the most feasible plan in the world. We (quickly) worked with the city and the business community to come up with an awesome Plan B that still satisfied everyone's needs. Ultimately, we wanted to do something cool that showcased the massive community support for Google Fiber here in a way that only Greenville could while "painting" Google in a very positive light (pun intended).
The mayor of Duluth, Minnesota jumped in an icy lake in order to gin up enthusiasm for his city's bid.
In an attempt to one-up the mayor of Duluth, Sarasota Mayor Dick Clapp dove into a shark tank at Mote Marine Laboratory on Wednesday.
Topeka, Kansas temporarily renamed itself Google, Kansas.
Similarly, Rancho Cucamonga offered to change their name to the satisfying-to-say Rancho Googlemonga.
And of course, it wouldn't be a promotional effort in the tech world without a good old fashioned flash mob. Here, citizens of Columbia, Missouri show their Google pride at a basketball game.
Of course, not every city is going to such extremes. Several dozen simply set up a microsite or a call for user generated YouTube content. But that kind of halfhearted effort isn't getting anyone anywhere, according to recent data. Duluth and Topeka took two of the top three spots in terms of online "mentions."
Everyone else better hurry up, the deadline is tomorrow.
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