Power Industries, an Australian-registered corporation, owns My Plates, Inc. (MPI) and among other interests, also operates Personal Plates Queensland (PPQ) as a joint venture with Queensland’s Department of Transport. Previous experience is limited to selling specialty plates in Queensland, Australia through a web site at www.ppq.com.au. Specialty plate sales in Australia are for “life” – there are no renewals. Queensland has a total population of approximately four million people. Non-profits, universities and various state agencies in Queensland do not receive revenue from the Specialty License Plate Program there. Therefore, unfortunately, past experience selling SLPs in Queensland cannot be used to determine whether or not introducing new plates to the market place here in Texas will negatively impact the financial revenues to existing SLP Sponsors.
MPI expects to launch a web site (www.MyPlates.com) and begin specialty plate sales within the next six months. At that time, specialty plate sales will no longer be accessible on the TxDOT web site. If the contract is not altered, all online sales of specialty plates in Texas will only be sold through the website owned by MPI. Existing Specialty License Plate sponsors would be required to send their SLP customers to the My Plates website to complete a sales transaction.
In addition to selling existing specialty plates, MPI will design and sell new specialty plates. Most new plate designs introduced will cost more than existing specialty plate designs. The current exception is the ten year plate for $395. It would be less than the God Bless Texas/America Plates which cost $40 annually. MPI expects to launch ten to twelve new designs immediately when the web site launches.
MPI states they are going to spend “millions” on a marketing campaign, and they have hired McGarrah Jesse to handle their advertising and branding. The company will have a customer service center in Austin to process orders for plates. Though existing sponsor plates are required to be available on the site, they have no plans to promote them.
MPI guaranteed to TxDOT to increase specialty plate revenue to the state by a minimum of $40 million minimum in five years. There does not seem to be a penalty for non-performance [link to September 27, 2007 proposal and marketing plan] [link to TxDOT purchase order].
According to TxDOT, the MPI web site will include information on existing specialty plate designs only as it currently appears on the TxDOT site. The cost of existing specialty license plates remains the same and the SLP Sponsor will continue to receive the same percentage of the sale.