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King of the Web billboard in Seattle's University District at 45th and Roosevelt

King of the Web is a quirky Web-based competition where individuals compete to win monthly online elections by posting funny or offbeat videos on the site. It’s kind of like American Idol — for the YouTube generation. But when it comes to congratulating the winners, King of the Web is taking a very low-tech approach.


GeekWire’s Todd Bishop spotted the billboard (pictured above) on a recent trip through Seattle’s University District. Curious, we reached out to the folks behind the Seattle startup to find out more about the idea.

Casey Selleck, the vice president of marketing at King of the Web, said the billboards are a way of “celebritizing” each month’s winner. Since starting in March, the company has erected billboards for winners in Seattle, Atlanta and Houston. The next one is slated for Canada.

Ironically, the old-fashioned outdoor advertising ends up driving even more online traffic since the reigning “Kings” end up Tweeting or sharing videos about the billboards on YouTube.

iWillBot — who is pictured above — won the King’s crown in July. During last month’s election, more than two million votes were cast as Shimmy took home the crown. (Here’s a look at the leaders for this month’s hotly-contested election cycle).

King of the Web sprung from the minds of Rich Barton and Nick Hanauer, good buddies and two of the most accomplished entrepreneurs in Seattle. Barton is the former CEO of Expedia and Zillow, while Hanauer created aQuantive.

In fact, most of the executives at King of the Web are refugees from aQuantive, the online advertising giant that was sold to Microsoft for $6 billion. Those online ad backgrounds were not lost on Selleck when discussing the company’s counterintuitive marketing efforts.

“That’s right, the online advertising kids are doing a little (outdoor) advertising,” she said.

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