California License Plates May Become Mini-Billboards

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June 28, 2010 – The latest new idea for advertising may be plastered on the back of your car. Cash-strapped California is considering legislature that would allow the state to research the earning potential of turning their license plates into electronic billboards.

The idea of electronic license plates serves many potential purposes. Aside from scrolling paid advertisements when the car is immobile, they could also be used to display Amber Alerts or traffic information. The plate would display the standard information while the car is in motion, but switch to other messages when the car is stopped for more than 4 seconds. The license information would be visible at all times in a separate part of the screen.

The legislation currently being considered is only to allow the DMV to conduct research on how profitable the plan would be, and how it would be implemented. The interest has led to San Francisco-based business Smart Plate to begin prototyping a digital license plate and determining its capabilities.

The company’s president, M. Conrad Jordan, is excited about the idea of digital license plates. His vision is to go beyond just a means of advertising for companies, but allowing drivers to display custom styles like current vanity plates. “The idea is not to turn a motorist’s vehicle into a mobile billboard, but rather to create a platform for motorists to show their support for existing good working organizations,” he said.

The California government is looking for new, innovative ways to raise revenue to reduce the state’s $19 billion defect.

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