Roofarena is basically the Million Dollar Homepage concept built as a graphical layer on top of Google Maps. The idea is that any roof in Manhattan is for sale and users can "virtually" purchase a roof and add their own design. In a post about copycat ideas last year, we advised that if you "do feel the need to borrow an idea, you should definitely make changes and try to innovate and push the concept in new directions." Roofarena definitely does that, but we also advised that you do something to "ensure a greater chance of success" -- we're not sure that the site does that.
One problem with Roofarena is that it requires too much user interaction to view ads. Google maps isn't built to see all of Manhattan at close range at once, so users have to scroll to see the ads, which seems like an unlikely expectation.
The bigger problem, though, is that this idea has been done to death. While each iteration, to our amazement, seems to have some moderate success -- especially given the extremely low barrier for entry -- they'll never equal the success that Alex Tew enjoyed for Million Dollar Homepage in 2005. The basic idea behind these sites is that advertising is sold on the premise that the method of advertising is so unique or wacky that it will garner mainstream press attention just for being sold -- and thus make the ads themselves worthwhile.
We wondered in February just how many times this can work, and the answer is probably not very often anymore. Roofarena is a fun concept, and perhaps it is an interesting social commentary on the skyrocketing cost of New York real estate (though, probably it isn't), but the idea just doesn't have the pull anymore to really work.