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Many of my ideas surround the wireless broadband industry since I spend so much of my time thinking about wireless technology.

I recently hit upon a really cool idea.

If you took out an advertisement in your local paper that said something like:

Free Broadband Internet to all [Insert Your Town Here] Residents
Visit www.blahblahblah.com for more info.

Do you think you’d get some traffic to your site?

Taking my town as an example… we have about 14,000 people (that’s what the sign says anyway.) So, I’m guessing that’s about 8000 homes or thereabouts.

If you signed up as an affilite for all the major retail stores out there (I’ll tell you how to do that pretty much all from one place in a bit) you could set up a website that basically explained to your visitors that the goal of your website is to have the major retail outlets pay for your town’s broadband fees.

What?

First, it would be AWESOME if you can get the name of your town in .com or .net or even .org if possible. I own my zip code, actually, which I had planned on doing something else with. (You can see what that previous plan was by visiting at 97070.com.)

Essentially, you spell out your plan on the site. You list all the retailers that you have signed up “the town” (so to speak) as the affiliate for. Each purchase the town members make through the site affiliate links, the revenue goes towards building a wireless network that will feed the entire town wireless broadband for free.

You explain to everyone that all the dollars they are currently spending online can be funneled through the 97070.com (the town’s affiliate account with all the retailers which you maintain) which can be substantial enough to pay for the broadband connection for the entire town. They pay no more than they would normally pay at each of the retailers, it’s just they would funnel the purchase through 97070.com (your site in your case, of course.)

Now, in my town… let’s say I get half the town spending $200 a month (it can EASILY be done since there are a LOT of affiliate programs out there with retailers that people already spend that type of money on each month) through the affiliate site. At an average of 10% affiliate commission, that’s $80,000 a month in commissions. If you have a tight enough community and you get the word out well enough, this is doable.

You set it up so that you have a “goal thermometer” on the site that tracks how close you are to actually launching as you would need to build the funds necessary to launch and make sure it’s sustainable.

Once you get to the point that you can bring in your first T3 or whatever bandwidth you’ll need and reserves to pay for a few months for the slower months, you launch with big fanfair and you could be the first community that has truly free broadband access (not taxpayer funded.) You’d need to build a tower for the antenna and each resident will just have to purchase their own modem and that’s it. Everyone gets free access. Actually WiMax (I wrote about this in a previous post) will make it even easier if your launch happens next year sometime.

Sure, there’s a LOT of planning that would surround such an undertaking, but the concept of a town wide affiliate program funding it isn’t all that difficult. And of course, you’d be the President of the wireless association and you’ll have a salary commensurate and in exchange for your amazing idea and your immense cajones for even venturing forth with an idea like this.

I was even taking it a step further. I thought of building a tourist attraction (tall artificial tree since we’re “Tree City USA”) and incorporating the tower into this structure and then making money for the association from the tourist attraction as well.

So many ideas, so little time. 🙂

Oh, I promised to turn you on to a one stop location for the major affiliate programs. If you are an online entrepreneur of ANY kind, you simply MUST subscribe or at least read a new publication out which is all about affiliate marketing and programs. It’s called Revenue Today. I got the first issue the other day and I was floored with how awesome the info in it is. It’s only $25 a year. Get it. Just about every major affiliate program in existence is an advertiser in it. This is where you can get a good list of affiliate programs for your town’s wireless association.

Now, go forth and get wireless.

Update: If you’re interested in getting a free issue of Revenue Today magazine, send me your name and mailing address and I’ll get one for you. It’s got to be before July 31st, 2004 however. Also, put “Revenue Today” in the subject field to bypass my spam filters.

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