Starbucks to offer free Wi-Fi and other Web incentives

Cafe customers use free wireless Internet.

by Jennifer Collins

Starbucks has struggled to keep its business growing. So they're bringing back the library, but better.

"In the library, you got shushed and you couldn't bring food and drink in," says Laura Didio, a technology analyst with ITIC.

In addition to free wifi, Starbucks will allow customers to log in for free to sites that normally charge you money like the Wall Street Journal. Didio says its all designed to get people to stay at the store longer than they planned. "How many times do you as a consumer log onto you computer with the intention saying: 'I'm just going to check my e-mail. I'll be on and off in 10 minutes and an hour an a half later you're still there?'"

Roger Kay with Endpoint Technologies says Starbucks may lure a lot of patrons with this plan, but it may not actually get people to buy more Frapuccinos. "You might find that there's no place to sit because there are all these homeless people sitting there reading the wall street journal."

About the author

Jennifer Collins is a reporter for the Marketplace portfolio of programs. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers media, retail, the entertainment industry and the West Coast.

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