Feedback on business idea?

Hi, I’m posting this mainly to get feedback from people with experience in the billboard market. I’m not selling anything. I’m just trying to figure something out.

I have a decade of experience in IT and web application development. Driving down the highway the other day, I noticed several billboards that caught my attention. However, I couldn’t figure out who or what they were selling.

I researched billboard costs in my area, and I found the cheapest locations charge $1500/month. Why would someone waste thousands of dollars on a billboard that doesn’t actually get people to remember anything about their ad?

Since I’m an engineer by training, I got to thinking, maybe I could fix this problem? I could possibly build an application that would use mechanical turk services to simulate several different billboard impressions, and find which was the most effective. That could potentially stop people from wasting thousands of dollars a month on ineffective billboard ads, and it could probably be run pretty cheaply.

Does this sound like a feasible business idea? Would any of you potentially use a service like that, or do you already do your own ad effectiveness research? If you would use it, what percent of your budget would you be willing to spend?

If there’s not any demand, that’s fine. If it’s a dumb idea, it’s good to know early, so I don’t waste my time. But if there’s any interest, I’d provide this service for free to anyone helping me to work out the kinks in the beta version.

Hi Victor,

Glad to see you’re thinking of new ventures - I’m not quite sure what exactly you plan to do as I’m not sure how the mechanical turk comes into the works? Typically that’s used to parcel out steps of a particular job/project. Can you elaborate a little further so that others might be able to jump in?


You have the right idea. The “steps of a particular project” would be answering questions about a particular ad. You’d show an ad for a few seconds, hide it, then ask a few questions like, “What was the ad selling?”, “What company was it associated with?” Ads that the most users can correctly answer those questions for would likely be the most effective ads to use on a real billboard. In this sense, I’d be using the mechanical turk service similar to a survey, which some are equipped to do, like Amazon’s.