RoofArena Launches Beta Site; Interview with Shay Sharon

So you live in a three-story brick building somewhere in Brooklyn and you wanna let you’re friends in Tokyo know exactly where you live. Why not email them a Google Map with your face plastered on the roof of the building itself?

Or you’re a business, let’s say a bar, and you want to provide directions on your website. Why not put your roofarena map on your site with your logo on the actual spot where the bar is located?

Sound cool? If everything goes according to the founder of roofarena Shay Sharon’s plan, the whole (inhabited) world will be covered with pictures of people and businesses buying and selling rooftops. I had a chance to interview him about the launch of his cool site:

So what’s the basic idea behind Roofarena? Why would somebody want to buy a rooftop and put their picture on it?

In our vision, Roofarena is a site combining the one million dollar homepage, social networking and a virtual real estate market. One million dollar homepage was a great gimmick and a huge success but was missing any type of user experience. There was no reason for the user to come back and we thought it could be nice to try and bring the world of social networking into those pixels and maybe create, in the long run, a market place for those roofs.

Can you give me a little background on the team, and how you came up with this idea?

Started out as an idea of selling virtual real estate, like an online sim-city, and then we started to realize the potential behind it. The fact that you own a piece of virtual space that has geographical presence means you will have ‘neighbors’, you can form ‘neighborhoods’, as well as the commercial potential of reselling your property as an investment. The team is a group of entrepreneurs with extensive experience in the software market. We have Beta’d using self funding and are only now considering the option of bringing in some external capital.

So I can see putting my own pic on a roof as a novel thing to do, but what other applications do you have in mind for roofarena, i.e. businesses that put their pic up on a roof to advertise their store, or using the roofarena map to give directions etc…?

The most obvious reason for buying a roof is to advertise your business. We hope the buzz around it will attract businesses to get a roof and ride the PR this site will might get. Our main goal and the initial idea was to create geographic communities like what Geocities was suppose to back in the late nineties and just like the real world, allow individuals to buy, sell and rent those roofs.

Will the site be incorporated into other sites, such as Facebook, using a widget?

Facebook is definitely one of the first integration we really want to do. We feel that Facebook, myspace and other social networks along with roofarena can make what Geocities tried more than ten years ago to create.

Do you plan to extend the service beyond Manhattan?

Of course. I have great plans on my apt in San Francisco where I used to live… But first we take Manhattan…

Will users be able to sell their roof, perhaps even make a profit by selling later at a higher price as the service becomes more popular?

Assuming the site will become popular, there is no reason why one will not be able to buy a roof and sell it later on or even rent it to someone else. We believe it is possible to create a virtual real estate market.

Other than the initial selling price of a roof, what other revenue-generation methods are possible with a site like yours?

In the future, the site will offer many more services and affiliations to our ‘residents’. There are several business models we are considering around these new services. Still remains to be seen.

See you on top of the world…


Check out roofarena for yourself.


2 Responses

  1. i have checkd it – looks like a great site !

  2. Nice angle you guys…wander who will dig this buzz, it make sense buying on this, just because other crazy azz ppl probably will. LOL.

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