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Bumvertising is a form of informal employment in which a homeless person is paid to display advertising.

The Bumvertising website publicizing this form of advertising was launched in August 2005 by Benjamin Rogovy, a 22-year-old entrepreneur who hired homeless men in the U.S. city of Seattle, Washington, to carry signs with the URL of his poker player match-up site.[1]

In high traffic areas, such as intersections many beggars hold up a sign describing their plight but most people that pass by do not contribute to the beggar. To an advertiser this could be a valuable resource to reach a broader audience. The homeless person will usually carry the sign for a small amount of money or food for a rather low expense to the advertiser. The cost to get the beggar to hold the sign is much lower than paying minimum wage to a person wearing a sandwich board or costume.

Homeless advocates accuse Rogovy of exploiting the poor and take particular offense to the use of the word “bum” which is generally considered pejorative.[2][3]

Rogovy was parodied during an interview by correspondent Dan Bakkedahl on the September 20, 2005 episode of The Daily Show.[4] Bumvertising has also received non-comedic coverage in blogs, newspapers, and television shows from around the world.[5][6] It was most recently discussed by a panel of marketing experts on The Gruen Transfer, a popular Australian marketing show.


  1. ^ Cathy Sorbo. (August 20, 2005). “‘Bumvertising’ is a new take on a necessary evil.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer. [1]—accessed August 30, 2005.
  2. ^ “Web-Entrepreneur Banks of Bum-Vertising: Homeless Advocates Say He’s Exploiting the Poor.” ABC News Original Report. [2]—accessed August 30, 2005.
  3. ^ Rowe, Claudia, "Bumvertising" stirs debate : Idea by young entrepreneur draws worldwide attention -- both positive and negative, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Tuesday, September 13, 2005
  4. ^ "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  5. ^ "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  6. ^ "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 30 December 2017.

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