This Could Be Next: Advertising Supported Cab Rides



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This week I was in New York for work. Rushing between meetings, I hopped into a cab with my colleague instead of trying to find the subway. Sitting in the back of the cab, I noticed a rather large TV screen that played several circulating ads. As a Web user I am used to a kind of natural exchange in which I click through pages, serving up page view ad revenue to the publisher and, in exchange, get valuable content and/or utility for free. The Web is our oyster; we have gotten use to this kind of exchange, this kind of relationship where we pay in time and page views rather than actual money for the services we enjoy. Sitting in the back of the cab, I thought about what I was getting in return for having my cab ride interrupted by advertising.

Clearly the cab company benefited by acting as a publisher and the advertiser benefited from the fact that I was stuck in a small enclosed space, unable to “get up during the commercial break”… so how could I, as a viewer, benefit as well? Could it be possible to watch a few ads on my commute and get a free or discounted cab ride in exchange?

Perhaps this idea is a little far fetched but it raised my thinking about whether offline services could be served up for free as well to anyone willing to watch a few ads.

Any thoughts?


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