For coffee-drinking, laptop-toting online marketers, Starbucks – a longstanding hot spot – may soon become even more popular. The Seattle-based coffee chain recently announced it will be offering guests free WiFi in partnership with Yahoo beginning July 1. The coffee chain and Yahoo will also soon launch the Starbucks Digital Network in U.S. stores to create a top customer browsing experience.

At the Wired "Disruptive by Design" business conference in New York, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said, "this is specifically about enhancing the experience, enhancing the brand and giving people a reason to come to Starbucks and stay as long as you want."

Whether it’s getting quick internet access during trips for conferences or checking in with work while on vacation, marketers may find Starbucks – with locations nationwide – will be an ideal place to get web connection with their caffeine fixes.

The new Starbucks Digital Network will provide guests with free, unrestricted access to a number of paid sites. Executives will have access to the Wall Street Journal online, various local news sources, free downloads and more via their laptops, smartphones and tablets.

Additionally, it may be smart to consider how Yahoo’s free service at Starbucks is introducing consumers to the search engine. Yahoo also offers free WiFi for laptops and mobile devices in the bustling Time Sqaure, according to the Yodel Anecdotal blog. Free internet access via Yahoo at highly populous locations could impact the habits of searchers.

Marketers may take this as a cue to increase their Yahoo advertising, espcecially as the search engine’s recent share of the search market increased to 18.3 percent, according to the latest comScore data. Nonetheless, be advised this percentage is controversial and some say it’s inflated because of
Yahoo’s use of contextual search approaches.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.