In tribute of the third anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake on 11 March, Yahoo! Japan held a charity drive pledging 10 yen (US$0.10) for every person who entered “3.11” into their search engine.

Relying on the data that Japan’s most used search engine was privy to, they hypothesized that a maximum of 5 million yen ($48,000) from 500,000 unique IP addresses would be generated and set a limit at that amount. Boy, were they wrong.

Over the 24 hour period that Yahoo! set, a total of 2,568,325 searches for “3.11” poured in. This meant that Yahoo! Japan would have had to donate 25,683,250 yen ($249,000) had they not set the upper limit of 5 million. However, being the swell bunch that they are, the internet company decided to rescind the cap and donate the full 25 million.

The money will go to Recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake Support Foundation, a charity that runs sports and education programs for children affected by the disaster.

Yahoo! is the most visited website in Japan. According to Alexia the number one site that people are on right before Yahoo! Japan is Google. This would suggest that a fair number of people when presented with a Google homepage will immediately search for Yahoo! instead. With such staunch support from the people of Japan, it’s not hard to see why the portal site felt like giving back a little.

Source: Yahoo! Japan via Netlab (Japanese)
Recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake Support Foundation (Japanese)
Video: YouTube – YahooSearchJP