This Bus Makes Stops At Nowhere And Clueless
August 8, 2014 by Dave Haynes
There are so many great, smart people in this industry, but also so many knuckleheads coming into it with big dreams, bravado and only the most fleeting grasp of what they’re up to.
I regularly burst the balloons of people who call or write to tell me about their plans to get rich installing screens in <insert just about anything here> and make bazillions off of advertising. My all-time favorite remains the guys in Branson, Missouri who were waaaaaay down the path of starting a network in hotel lobbies, and sought my advice on calculating ad revenues. I said a lot of people used CPMs as their benchmark.
“OK, good, good,” they said. “What’s a CPM???”
Yesterday, a start-up company sent around this email to more than a dozen vendors. I will spare them from too much abuse by not naming or linking:
I’m emailing you all because I am looking for the best Digital Signage Company that can provide the entire solution for an In-Bus Digital Signage Platform that I’m creating.
When I say “Entire Solution” In mean the following:
1. TV Monitors (2 Per Bus)
2. Security Protection Case for the TV Monitors
3. Digital Signage Software
4. Installation of Software & Hardware
5. Anonymous Video Analytics
6. FM Transmitter System
We intend to install this platform gradually by only incorporating it into 3 Buses of a Major Bus Line that we are entering a contract with in Los Angeles, CA. If you refer to our link below you have a better understanding of what we are trying to accomplish. Please let me know if you can provide us with this complete digital solution.
Upon finding the right company, we’ll be introducing them to our Transit Partners, and will grant them access to their buses in order for them to provide an accurate quote. We look forward to hearing from you.
The company website was built on Wix, a free website site, and the email to return your expression of interest was an Outlook.com (in other words, also free) account. Impressive. The two brothers running this start-up provide only the vaguest background on who they are, and there is no sign of actual experience in media.
But they want vendors to fully scope out what would be a very involved, highly-engineered project based on scant details and the opportunity to install it on three buses in suburban LA, on a network running a transit advertising business model that has been tried and has failed countless times.
In the followup email, which they evidently copy to all the vendors they approached, those that responded are named and critiqued. The guys then go on to say they’ll shortlist within the week, and two weeks from now, those vendors can head on in with them to meetings in LA with the suburban bus line. So put in the effort to give them free engineering, planning and process guidance to help them sell their deal, and eat the travel costs to LA, as well.
And, by the way, those first three buses will be up and running by November, aka roughly three months. Which won’t happen unless they duct tape tablets with SIM cards to the handrails.
The only reason to even reply to this would be boredom (most real clients are on holiday), desperation or sheer amusement.
The sad thing is there are so many of these guys drifting around there chewing up time for vendors, and for end-users, who are reluctant to invest in proper digital sign systems because there’s this seemingly endless parade of people coming in saying they’ll do it for free and get their money back through advertising.
So many people seem to think the media business is dead-easy. Create a media property. Sell ads. Get rich.
It’s actually really, really, really hard for all but a few anomalies.