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Here's an interesting concept that circumvents some of the challenges of integrating advertising in online maps. SEW points out that the rooftop ads probably aren't for the sake of online mapping satellite imagery; they actually target commercial flights as they approach airports.

It still makes one wonder about the possibilities in online mapping. It probably wouldn't take off to a large degree; and if it did, mapping providers would likely blur out any ads that didn't pay for placement. But it's an interesting anecdote that demonstrates the creativity of marketers finding every last nook and cranny of advertising space in the physical and online worlds.

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  1. I spoke to Microsoft about this with Windows Live Local. The question is who owns the "inventory"? Can the search company put an ad on a photograph of a billboard and replace the actual ad that's on that billboard in the real world?

    A version of this is done now with blue screens and sports advertising—where they rotate digitally inserted ads on TV. But everyone's on board with that.

    In my example, wouldn't the billboard owner scream and potentially litigate if Google or MSN started replacing, for example, Clear Channel's outdoor advertisers with their own?

    It's a legal/copyright question and a very interesting one.

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