The Verge has a fascinating story today that examines Uber’s questionable recruiting tactics that is part of an attempt to take down its largest competitor.
Internal documents show that Uber hires independent contractors to take Lyft rides as a way to convince drivers to leave Lyft and work for Uber. Some of these recruiters cancel Lyft rides to avoid being caught by Lyft.
The report follows a similar story from earlier this month showing how Uber employees have canceled thousands of Lyft rides since last October in order to lower the amount of available Lyft drivers on the road, while also wasting the time of those drivers. It also reminds us of Uber’s illegal marketing tactics in Seattle.
Many took to Twitter today to show their disdain for Uber following The Verge story:
I'm getting concerned that @uber may not truly believe in the Sharing Economy.
— Prof Jeff Jarvis (@ProfJeffJarvis) August 26, 2014
These Uber tactics are disgusting because they harm individual Lyft drivers who are just trying to earn a living: http://t.co/z81RUly1rp
— Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) August 26, 2014
— DHH (@dhh) August 26, 2014
However, some didn’t have a problem with the way Uber was recruiting drivers:
Seems to me that ordering cars with intent to cancel is unethical, but taking rides with intent to talk drivers into joining Uber is fine.
— Neil Irwin (@Neil_Irwin) August 26, 2014
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick also responded to angry tweets:
@dhh drivers take 1000's of rides, one ride that is paid for to recruit shouldn't be an issue. Also realize lyft also does this at scale
— travis kalanick (@travisk) August 26, 2014
In response to today’s Verge story, Uber published a blog post detailing its marketing program.
“We can’t successfully recruit drivers without talking to them – and that means taking a ride,” Uber wrote. “We’re all about more and better economic opportunity for drivers. We never use marketing tactics that prevent a driver from making their living – and that includes never intentionally canceling rides.”
So, how do you feel about Uber’s business practices? Is it enough to make you think twice the next time you request a ride?