Add My Window is a start-up that offers people the chance to rent out their windows as advertising space in exchange for some extra pocket-money. Based on the size and location of their public facing windows, owners receive financial compensation for allowing businesses to display their ads on what may have been previously under-utilized space.
This company, based in the Hague, allows people to register for an account via their website and list the windows which they would like to rent out. On the very same website, advertisers can have their pick of windows on which they choose to promote their business. There is an option to select the duration of time which an ad will stay up. Unfortunately, window owners cannot select what sort of advertising their window will be used for. This concept allows for advertisers to gain access to coveted and unique advertising space at a relatively low cost.
There are quite a number of advantages to window owners, besides a pleasant extra paycheque. Advertisements are printed on specially designed stickers that are installed on the inside of windows, and contain hundreds of small holes. These holes allow for light to pass through, minimizing the obstruction to residents’ views. Also, these ads create full coverage from the outside which means you get full privacy without the need for curtains.
However exciting the prospect of earning money from your windows may seem, there are several possible limitations to this being implemented more broadly. Their website is aimed at attracting students to sign up, perhaps with the idea in mind that this demographic would be most willing to trade in their windows for some extra money. However, considering that most students are not property owners, landlords’ rights to prohibit this sort of activity should be kept in mind, and in such a scenario renters may be kept out of the loop. Furthermore, it is difficult to forecast if city authorities may hinder this rent-a-space enterprise. Often, city zoning laws may prohibit the use of certain types and sizes of advertising on private property to varying degrees. Add My Window operates exclusively in cities where the municipality has permitted this sort of advertising, but the continued success of this project will largely depend on advertising regulations and how willing both residents and businesses are to get on board.
A while back we featured an article about Adzookie, a company that will help you pay off your mortgage by turning the entire facade of your home into advertising space. Although that project was aimed at helping people crippled by the financial crisis avoid foreclosure, it is another example of how ready advertisers are to seize a business opportunity- even if it means turning your home into a billboard. Critics of these sorts of projects would say that they are yet another example of the take-over of cities by corporations, and although billboards and bus ads are already very common, projects where your home is commodified as advertising space may face a considerable amount of resistance. It begs the questions: to what extent should public spaces- including the view from the sidewalk- be opened up to companies for the purpose of making a profit?
It will be interesting to see how Add My Window addresses these issues, as there already seems to be a great deal of enthusiasm from people eager to make money by renting out their unused windows. Currently, there are 238 windows available in 4 cities in Netherlands with the company hoping to expand throughout the country.