The ad-supported business model that MADE the internet could also make Transportation Free for most short trips, while improving the passenger entertainment experience.
I am actually surprised I have to write this op-ed. I would think that with automotive costs being the second greatest expense for families in the United States that we would have more support. Regretfully, when it comes to journalists, or the middle-upper class in general, there is a massive blindspot when it comes to the costs of transportation and how advertising in self-driving cars can improve the lives of billions.
A little background
I am a founder of Vugo, the world’s leading rideshare media company. We started our company focused on monetizing passenger attention inside rideshare vehicles through advertising. I coined the term “Rideshare Advertising” prior to starting Vugo. We are now working on passenger focused infotainment software for self-driving cars and ridesharing platforms.
I was also raised by a single mother who never graduated high school, worked multiple jobs, including many overnight shifts, to insure that we had everything that we needed. It is from this perspective that I understand how much a transportation expense can effect the lives of a family living on the threshold of poverty. This is a blindspot for many who live in cities that have TaxiTV, who don’t want to talk about the benefits of ad-powered self-driving cars.
This is why our mission is to make transportation free. As David rightfully pointed out automotive trends and Vugo specifically are making this possibility a reality today. Vugo with our media driven solution to add incremental income for operators and manufacturers of for-hire, shared use, self-driving cars will subsidize the cost of transportation and hopefully make it free for most short trips.
What did David get right?
David and I agree on a great many things;
- We share confidence that autonomous vehicles will be safer than human drivers in the near future, making our roads safer and saving lives.
- We both believe media and advertising is coming for transportation next, the trends are clear and the industry is charging towards Vugo as it is a rare trillion-dollar market opportunity. Intel estimates the passenger economy to be worth over $7 TRILLION dollars. Which shouldn’t be a surprise considering that many people today already drive and interact with media devices. See the point above about saving lives.
- Self-driving car technology is in the “trough of disillusionment”, the hype peaked in 2015–2017, which now means the rubber is hitting the road and the companies around today will likely change the world of transportation over the next decade.
We don’t see eye to eye on only three things.
In short, David’s article was probably one of the most well researched and accurate pieces of writing that I have EVER read on the state of self-driving car technology, and more importantly on Vugo’s media focused business model. Despite having not being contacted for comment.
Obviously, excluding the inflammatory, click-seeking headline, designed probably by David’s editor to get more views to increase advertising revenue.
The irony is not lost on me.
Advertising didn’t ruin the Internet, Advertising Built The Internet…
- First of all, I think the internet as we know it would not exist if it wasn’t for advertising. Advertising didn’t ruin the internet, advertising built the Internet. I wonder if David used a typewriter and a library to write his article, or if he used the world’s largest advertising company Google to do research for free? Maybe he even wrote the 1st draft using Google Docs. Let alone all the other benefits created when people use their 1st amendment rights, like the Freedom of the Press or Commercial Speech to access information from publishers and advertisers like Vox, or the NY Post or maybe Vugo. The 1st Amendment is close to my heart, since Vugo just won a 1st Amendment lawsuit defending Freedom of Speech, specifically the rights of consumers to access information without the government picking winners and losers. Perhaps David wants the government to step in and start picking winners, I am sure our president would be happy to do so… I am not sure if it would be good for Vox, although it might be better for Fox. I for one am not as brave as David.
- Consumers should have the right to choose their transportation options. Even if the vast majority of consumers would choose the free or low-cost advertising subsidized option. No offense to David, I don’t want him or anyone else making those choices for me. This is why Vugo’s mission is to give passengers the remote control over their passenger entertainment experience is so important. It is also important to make sure that consumers have choice, and YES we are adding an off button as we genuinely want to improve the passenger entertainment experience in ridesharing today, and self-driving cars tomorrow.
- Lastly, transportation insecurity is a real thing that many experience worldwide. The middle class takes access to affordable transportation for granted. Vugo’s mission of making all Transportation Free by meeting self-driving cars at the intercept point, between them driving cost-per-mile-per-seat down to a place where we can effectively cover the expense with advertising is a great opportunity. At the very least we can subsidize the cost. The cost of transportation is the #2 most expensive cost for Americans at over $9,000 per household annually; Single moms getting to and from work late at night, the elderly who can maintain more of their independence and budget via advertising powered grocery store visits, and children and teens who will finally be able to have safe freedom of movement without mom or dad chaffering them around. There are so many people who benefit from increasing access to autonomous car technology…the one big similarity to the internet is that Vugo’s and ad-powered transportation solution has is the potential to accelerate adoption of self-driving cars through sharing the financial burden of the new technology with wealthy corporations.
Advertising is a tool. It can be used for good or evil.
Vugo agrees that media and the self-driving car will work together in the future and could reduce the overall cost of transportation to consumers.
What makes us different is that we really want to improve the passenger entertainment experience. We want to give passengers as many choices as possible inside these new mobile entertainment rooms. We can’t do this alone, and we definitely can’t do this without the help of fellow media companies.
Maybe someday Vox could become one of our content partners so that consumers can choose them in their ride without the government or anyone else picking winners and losers, thus giving consumers the freedom of choice.
If you want to help us improve the passenger entertainment experience, please feel free to reach out to me and let’s talk before you write a headline designed to generate advertising revenue off clicks.