WMU Student Sells Virtual Billboards to Replace Car

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!


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.”

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