Laptop sticker space goes for $2,500 a pop

If you think online ads are the only way to make money on your computer, Cameron Herold has a deal for you.

A $2,500 deal to be exact, which is the price he charges companies for sticker space on the lid of his Mac-Book Pro.

The former chief operating officer of Vancouver-based 1-800-GOT-JUNK, who helped that company grow from $2 million to $120 million in six years, got the idea after realizing he and his MacBook were being projected onto giant screens in huge conference rooms during speaking engagements three to five times a month.

He put the idea out and five companies snapped up the opportunity to put their logo stickers on his laptop. Another spot Herold reserved for Kiva, the online micro-lending non-profit organization that he supports.

"I approached their CEO and asked if they would like a spot and he loved it," Herold said.

When his laptop sold out, Herold sold a single space on his iPhone to another company.

"I sit in front of all these business people doing speaking events all over the world," he said. "The companies want to be in front of those audiences," he said. "They like the uniqueness of this opportunity."

Most recently, Herold spoke at a Young Presidents' Organization global leadership conference in Barcelona, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Entrepreneurial Masters Program in Boston and at a TEDx (Technology, Entertainment Design) conference in Edmonton.

At each stop, Herold's MacBook sported stickers carrying the logos of Kiva and the five companies that are paying $2,500 a year for their little piece of laptop real estate.

With his laptop and iPhone space sold out, Herold is adding another mobile device: He'll soon be carrying a new Apple iPad, courtesy of a company that is giving it to him in exchange for having its logo on the device.

"They were all sold out within a week," he said. "I will only sell five spots on my laptop; I guaranteed there would only be five spots.

"I wanted it to be a little bit more of an exclusive club."

The companies all paid in cash for the service, except for the iPhone advertiser, Cutco, which gave Herold, who loves to cook, $2,500 worth of high-end knives for his kitchen.

Putting the brand in front of audiences prompts questions, Herold said. And both Herold and the advertising companies have been building a buzz about laptop ads on social media sites such as Twitter and in their blogs.

"I was sitting the other day in the Air Canada business lounge and a guy asked me about one of the brands. I told him all about it," he said.

Along with Kiva and Cutco, the brands you'll see on Herold's laptop include Grasshopper, a virtual phone system for entrepreneurs; Media Temple Web hosting; Outsourcing Things Done; Hire Better Solutions and Maverick Business Adventures.


Read Gillian Shaw's blog at www.vancouversun.com/digitallife

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