Startup #53 – Stealing is Cool

coke.jpgQuick,  click here and check this out.  It’s from the CapitalAI blog, just discovered it yesterday and it rocks.  Mark is like me, but with a bigger brain and better way of taking things like words and like actually putting them together in ways that like make sense and stuff.

Anyway, to celebrate the discovery of an interesting new blog, I’m going to steal one of his ideas.  It’s #18 on the list – cell phone advertising.  In case you haven’t been paying attention, the biggest acquisitions that have been going on in the tech world have nothing to do with all these cool little Web 2.0 sites.  It’s all around the ad network providers.  DoubleClick to Google for a cool 3.1 BILLION dollars.  aQuantive for $6B to the guys who sign my paycheck.  Pretty wild stuff.

At the end of the day, ad companies are all about subsidising valuable services.  For instance, Google provides the valuable service of Internet search in exchange for viewing a few ads.  Network TV and radio serve up ads in exchange for producing <ahem> quality <cough, yeah right> content.  I dig it – I’d much rather ignore/subconciously consume a few ads instead of paying a monthly fee to Google.  Which got me to thinking…if we can subsidize *services* with ads, why not subsidize *products*?

Here’s my idea – a platform that allows users to subsidize the purchase of a product in exchange for a few ads.  Quick example, let’s say you were going to buy a cell phone.  You have two choices:

  1. A typical cell phone that has a customizable background/ringtone for $199 + $40 per month for service
  2. The new CokePhone that has a choice of 25 phat Coke backgrounds, and a ringtone that plays the song “I’d like to buy the world a Coke“.  In exchange for a little sellout action, you can get the phone for free and save $5/month on service.

What about a $100 refrigerator that displays ads through a small panel on the front of the door?  A half-price washing machine that has a digital, rotating ad on the top of the lid?

What do you guys think?  Scary, eh?  Sounds pretty crazy, but within the next 100 years I guarentee someone is going to make a killing off this concept (someone = Google?  MS?).

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