Archive for August, 2006

Press!

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Alright, I’ve gone a few days without selling any ads, but thats ok, because theres going to be an article written soon! The Western Herald contacted me yesterday about the site. The Herald is distributed and read by 27,000 students and others in the Kalamzoo community per day. Not only that, but a majority of the readers have a computer or access to one, so I expect to get a lot of hits on publication! Expect more press to be posted soon!

Now is definitely a good time to purchase an ad! 🙂 I’ve already said this, but it just keeps getting more and more momentum…

Round One Complete — Thoughts on advertising

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Well, round one of advertising can be declared complete, time to move into round two! Apparently journalists/editors don’t answer their email (only one response, from Eric Benderoff of the Chicago Tribune — thanks for that, by the way). I’ve also released a press release on eMediaWire, which I’ve had some limited success with. If you search Google News for virtualroadside, you can find my press release easily!

As a result of trying to promote this website, I’ve been reading a ton of literature about well.. promoting. And it just seems like everyone talks about  ’viral’ marketing and other cool buzzwords, but it seems like most of the time people are just pointing out the obvious. Like I’m doing, if you’ll notice. But it seems, nobody really has ‘it’ down yet — its just throwing stuff up against the wall, and seeing what sticks. So, thats what I’m doing.

This reminds me of my experience at Boys State in 11th grade. Boys State is an educational program that puts a lot of students together for a week, and lets them run a fictional state. It sounds corny, but really its quite cool. In any case, I was determined to make my mark there, and so I put up probably around 250-500 flyers in the space of a day promoting my candidacy for attorney general. I ended up losing the actual race — but by the time I left at the end of the week, there wasn’t a single person who didn’t know my name.

I still run into people from time to time, and they still remember me as the guy with all the crazy signs. Heh. And thats my goal to some extent here on this site — is to create something that people will remember. Because really, this site is quite entertaining and unique. Not many sites will allow you to blow its advertising up.

Is a view the same as a hit?? is a blog post written by Mark Cuban, which I recommend you read. He brings up a good question — what exactly is a view or ‘hit’. And how exactly do you determine whether it was a ‘successful’ hit?

For example, this website has a semi-addicting game you can play with the advertisements shown on it. However, theres not really a way I can measure whether people enjoyed it or not — maybe a survey, but thats hardly accurate. In any case, its brought up some thoughts for me to see how well my promotion efforts are working, and we’ll see where this gets us.

As for this site, it continues to get around 100-150 unique visits a day (1200 this month already), so my thought is that as more ads come in, more traffic will. Round two of site promotion is coming up soon, so check back here soon!

WMU Student Sells Virtual Billboards to Replace Car

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

Ok, I have a press release written up, which I am planning on sending to a number of news organizations tomorrow, with possibly some minor modifications. In any case, let me know what you think of it!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WMU Student Sells Virtual Billboards to Replace Car

Aug. 23, 2006

(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) An engineering student at Western Michigan University is using a non-traditional way to replace his broken car.

Dustin Spicuzza, 20, has launched virtualroadside.com in an effort to replace his car, which broke down in early July. “I visited a number of local car dealerships in July, and they all told me the same thing: You don’t have enough credit.”

He decided he needed to take a different approach. “I thought to myself, what would be entertaining and unique? Then it hit me – billboards on the Internet.”

The Web site took two weeks to complete. It features large advertisements in the form of billboards and airplanes moving along a highway. Visitors may also play a game that allows them to interact with the advertisements.

Customers can purchase one or more billboards for placement on the Web site, at $1 per virtual square foot. They remain on the site for at least five years.

Asked about a virtual square foot, he said, “I wanted to use a unique unit of measurement that people could readily relate to. It’s much easier than saying 10×10 pixels.”

According to Spicuzza, the traffic on the Web site has increased sharply in the last week. “It was getting a steady stream of 30 to 50 visitors per day, but now it’s around 100 and rising.”

The Virtual Roadside has sold two advertisements so far, one to his roommate’s parents. He remains upbeat. “I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from everyone who has seen the Web site, and I expect traffic to continue increasing.”

Second ad sold!

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

After a 10-day drought, I have a second ad sold! Awesome. Looks like all that extra traffic today was worth it! Just in time for my press release this week… 🙂

Things are good.

Selected for ‘Cool Pick of the Day’!

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

Check it out! The Virtual Roadside has been selected as the “Cool Pick of the Day” by http://www.coolpick.com! Thats pretty awesome if you ask me, thanks coolpick!

Now, not only is the site fun and unique, but its also getting a sizable amount of traffic too! If you’re thinking about advertising, now is a great time — think about it, the unique part of this site comes from the sales it generates, and makes people curious about it. So every ad that is sold adds value to the site, because it makes people more likely to stop and look at it. Together, we can make this really big!

Coming soon, going to add Google Checkout to my accepted payments. Stay posted for more news.

Wow! Traffic is heating up! Plus, some bugfixes..

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

Hey! I’m excited, because my traffic has exceeded 100 unique visitors today! The traffic keeps going up! Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself! I’m in the process of writing up a press release, which I’m gonna send out on Monday morning. Now, I’ll take some time to answer some questions I’ve received…

Q: What is that penguin doing there, and why does it link to kernel.org? Did they pay for that ad?
A: Unfortunately, they have not paid for an advertisement. I love penguins though, and I love Linux, so I thought it would be fun to put a penguin on the roadside. Its unique, eh?

Q: Whats with all those fake ads? I don’t want my advertisement shown with those ‘fake’ ads!
A: Right now, they’re just placeholders, until I get some more people to pay for ads. As soon as I do, the fake ones will disappear. It would be really boring to have an empty roadside, and it gives you an idea of what your image could look like!

Q: Why do some of the pages have a disclaimer about graffiti on them?
A: Long story… maybe another time.

Also, it was brought to my attention that there were a few bugs in the gaming portion.. they have been fixed. Namely, the Nuke actually works nicely now, and shouldn’t cause any javascript errors anymore. Browsers known to work:

Opera 7.0+, Firefox 1.0+, Mozilla 1.2+, Internet Explorer 5.5+, Safari 1.x.

We even tried it on a Sparc station at work, and it worked! (Mozilla 1.2). Let me know what works and doesn’t work for you, I’m trying to make sure that the site works with as many browsers as possible. I’m gonna go catch some sleep and then work on that press release some more..

New game introduced!

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Hey! I’m excited to announce the development of a new game for the main page (explosive fun)! Now, you can shoot at your favorite billboards and flying advertisements with paintballs, guns, rockets, and more! Its definitely a step up from before, check it out!

In other news, still keeping that steady stream of traffic… this weekend I am going to write up a press release and put it in the right hands, and see what happens! Also, I may have a potential buyer… we’ll see!

Increased traffic

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

Looks like my traffic has been increasing at a slow but steady rate! I’ve been averaging around 50 visitors/day and now I’ve been getting random hits/referrers from sites I don’t recognize! I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited about this!

So, what kind of things would you like to see on this site? Theres tons of things that could be done to the ads! Leave a comment!

First billboard SOLD!

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

Alright! I just sold my first billboard! Awesome!

My roommate Chris’s parents bought the first billboard, 300x116px. Definitely some of the coolest parents in the world!

I feel that with just a little bit more momentum, and some press attention, this thing could really explode! I’m still holding off on the press thing until I get another advertiser or two… then its really gonna take off! This would create more value for my advertisers and for myself! Can’t wait to see what the coming weeks bring…

As always, visit the homepage for some explosive fun!

Upload your own images to explode!

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

As promised, heres the latest weird feature for the website. If you visit the testbed here then you can view your own (or others) images on the roadside and do what you will to them… it can get quite insane.

With Internet Explorer, you can use images on your own hard drive and upload those. However, with Firefox or other browsers you can only do remote images — local images will not work properly.

Tip: Use animated gifs for the best effects. My roommate and I uploaded a walking dinosaur, a flying astronaut, and some construction signs… it was hilarious! Theres a lot of websites out there with tons of animations that just don’t quite make sense…