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February 9th, 2006 by JTJ


“Monetize Your Roof

Joanna Glasner
Also by this reporter

Click on the aerial view of
a cityscape on Google Earth or Microsoft's Live Local, and most of us
don't discern much more than a cluttered expanse of buildings and
car-lined streets.

But where others see a sprawl of empty rooftops, Colin Fitz-Gerald sees a cornucopia of unused advertising space.

Fitz-Gerald, who runs a roofing business in Cape Cod, Massachusetts,
wants to make a business out of posting promotional messages on top of
buildings. He's started a company,, and is looking for roof owners and advertisers to bring his vision to fruition.

“I'm currently launching with no money, no real
experience running a business on the internet, and no real solid
business plan,” Fitz-Gerald said. “But I figure there's a lot of blank
roofs and a lot of advertising that could go on the roofs.”

So far, the venture has attracted more interest than Fitz-Gerald
anticipated. An eBay listing he posted to auction a virtual rooftop ad
on his company's homepage garnered hundreds of pageviews, though only
three bids. The high bid was $105.

Fitz-Gerald isn't sure how much it will cost to put an ad on a real
roof, or exactly how the process will work. He's considering using housewrap,
a weather barrier material, as a base and painting ads on top of it.
He's also working on a technique to ensure the advertising messages are
printed in letters that are clear and large enough to be picked up by
aerial mapping sites.

RoofShout isn't the only firm attempting to capitalize on the same virgin ad space. RoofAds,
a division of Saber Roofing in Woodside, California, runs a service for
posting ads on rooftops that are close to airports and highly visible
to airplane passengers. The company is currently marketing to other
areas as well.

“We realized with Google Earth and this satellite imagery that it
doesn't have to be near airports. It can be anywhere,” said Jay Saber,
who owns Saber Roofing. Saber said he can install ads visible from
10,000 feet overhead.

Saber is also working on ads that glow in the dark. He's talking
with organizers of the annual Burning Man festival about creating a
1,000-yard-long image of a burning man visible from high in the sky.”

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