Advertising a website just got a whole lot cheaper. A new trend has emerged in Washington, where an entrepreneur has begun offering bums food and small amounts of money, in exchange for them advertising his poker match up site.
The bastard behind the scheme is Ben Rogovy, a 22 year old aspiring capitalist trying to cheaply promote his new poker match up website. According to bumvertising.com, Rogovy’s website outlining the campaign – he’s merely tapping into using wasted homeless labor.
“Bums use a business model that takes advantage of high volume traffic, with the expectation that, on average, a certain number of people will donate to them in the form of cash, clothing, or food, writes Rogovy in his 3rd person description of the bumverting business model.
According the Rogovy, the bums like the easy extra cash and food. And I really do believe it. Local Seattle news reports accuse the advertising campaign as “exploiting and “humiliating panhandlers – which is probably true. But that’s a moot point.
Rogovy is buying labor off of people who, every day, openly humiliate and degrade themselves by begging and digging through garbage. I have a hard time believing that hanging an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper from their tattered pieces of cardboard is going to make matters worse for them.
But that’s not my concern. Homelessness needs to be eradicated with social programs, government assistance, and other forms of economic improvement. To reward a panhandling lifestyle – which hurts business and creates crime – is a completely wrong step, and is socially irresponsible. The only good that can come out of this is the attention the media will give to the problem of homelessness and inner-city poverty that our government has recklessly ignored.
But has it worked?
Not really. The poker site that Rogovy is advertising for doesn’t appear to be doing very well, even with all the media attention. Even with a web form for advertising inquiries on the site, the only ads I found were AdSense ads – which leads me to believe that he’s not exactly selling many of his own advertisements.
And Alexa ranks the site at over two million, an indication that there’s virtually no traffic hitting the site. However, Rogovy may be known for quite some time as the kid who started, (and trademarked) bumvertising.