Advertising on an Electronic Billboard via the web

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Imagine being able to tap into an advertising network on the web that allowed you to upload your ads for display, where many people will see them offline. A new patent granted today describes a method for doing that using electronic billboards.

Imagine that you’re driving to work and pass an electronic billboard that would be an ideal place for an ad for your business. You notice that it’s not presently showing an ad but has a web address displayed, along with a message to “advertise here.” You repeat the address over and over a few times to try to remember it.

You get to your office, fire up a browser, and visit the URL that you’ve been chanting for a couple of minutes now.

The page shows the rates for advertising on that electronic billboard, some editorial guidelines, and a way to register and submit payment for showing an ad. Then, after registering and brainstorming for a few minutes on what you would like the billboard to say, you create an ad using PowerPoint, submit it, enter your credit card information, and set the time and duration to display it.

As you are waiting for editorial review, you notice that there are many other locations available, both indoors and outdoors, throughout the United States and in other countries, and you start looking at some of those. There’s also a section on how to broadcast messages wirelessly from each of the electronic billboards too.

You receive a notification that your electronic billboard is now live and leave the office to take a look while bringing your digital camera so that you have a picture of your first electronic billboard ad.

Here’s the patent:

System and method for selling advertising space on electronic billboards over the internet
Inventors: Marc Eller and Zvi Yaniv
Assigned to SI Diamond Technology, Inc. (Austin, TX)
US Patent 7,038,637
Granted May 2, 2006
Filed April 20, 2000


Electronic billboards, which may be indoor or outdoor, are located in various geographical areas. Associated with each billboard is a web address. A client desiring to display information, such as an advertisement, on any selected electronic billboard can upload the information over the Internet to the server implementing the billboard website. The client can select the time and duration for the information to be displayed and can even purchase the display time using a credit card or some other type of account.

I’m not sure what the expense might be in setting an electronic billboard up, but the ease in changing ads to include very recent information might be something that makes up for it.

A few pages and articles, from different perspectives, on electronic billboard advertising outdoors:

I’d prefer not to see an explosion of billboards due to easier ways to advertise on them as this develop. But it’s interesting to see the growth and development of advertising outdoors, like ads on taxi cabs.

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6 thoughts on “Advertising on an Electronic Billboard via the web”

  1. I hav been wondering why this wasn’t out already, but ofcourse the million monkey rule strikes again, “every time you have an idea, there are a million other monkeys with the same idea”!

  2. I think some day we will see a mix of Billboards type ads, web pages that appear on big screen plasma TV’s attached to the sides of Mobile Billboards. It will be incredibly easy, just point the browser to the website to display the flash presentation, etc… it will also be extremely expensive.

  3. Hi Wayne,

    I think that those days are getting pretty close, and I’m guessing that the prices are going to be affordable. I have seen trucks carrying billboards down city streets showing animations, advertising on top of taxi cabs, electronic billboard advertising in airports. I think that the ease of changing ads because they are in an electronic format makes them more affordable than a static billboard.

  4. That would be pretty sweet, wouldn’t it? I don’t think it would be too difficult to set something like that up. In fact, I’m surprised that I haven’t seen something like that already. I’m sure there’s at least something similar already being done.

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