New Uber Advertising Program Offers Drivers an Extra Way to Make Money

A man drives a car in traffic.
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Uber and Uber Eats drivers in eight major markets can beef up their earnings through the company’s new advertisement program.

Dubbed Uber OOH, the pilot program is the company’s first foray into the advertising business, Adweek reported. Uber is partnering with ad-tech company Adomni to install out-of-home (OOH) ads atop Uber drivers’ vehicles.

Picture the lighted signs atop old taxi cabs promoting lawyers and pawn shops. This is the modernized version.

The first batch of car-toppers will be installed on 1,000 vehicles in Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix initially and operational by April 1, Adomni said in an announcement of the program. Later this year, the program is slated to expand to Chicago, Houstin, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The potential payout is significant: Drivers will earn a $300 one-time payment for installing the vehicle-topper and $100 each week they drive more than 20 hours.

Once the program expands, the payment will shift to an hourly model.

“After exploring this idea for over a year now, we realized that the timing is perfect to launch this new ad network and we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Adomni,” Brett Baker, head of Uber OOH, said in the Adomni announcement. “Their expertise with mobile vehicle digital out-of-home networks and programmatic ad sales is compelling.”

Adomni announced the partnership on its website and Twitter. 

An Uber spokesperson confirmed the partnership to The Penny Hoarder. When asked for additional information about how drivers can sign up for the program, spokesperson Steve Imm sent a link to the Adweek article, which doesn’t include such information.

The rooftop advertisements are ultra-high-tech. According to the Uber OOH website, the ads are “two-sided, internet connected screens on the tops of participating Uber drivers’ vehicles” that play videos and cycle through a carousel of still ads.

To many ride-share drivers, car advertisements are nothing new. But the car ad industry is rife with shady actors. Both the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission urge consumers to be wary of car wrap scams — which are on the rise. 

In 2018, the FTC received 57 formal complaints about car wrap scams. In 2019, that number jolted past 130. Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 18 this year, the FTC received 27 – far outpacing previous years.

The Penny Hoarder recently spoke with Florida resident and ride-share driver Chip Adams about his car wrap. When looking for the right company, he says he came across some “really fishy” ones and that there were “bad reviews all over the place.” 

In the end, he found a local company he trusts. His car wrap earns him $250 a month, covering gas and other operating expenses from driving for Uber and Lyft.

“Anything you can do to make a little bit more money,” he said. “It’s a no brainer.”

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.