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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Uber Using Burner Phones to Sabotage Lyft

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 5:18 PM

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It's no secret that the war between transit startup rivals Uber and Lyft has escalated to the point of bloodsport.

First, the two companies targeted each other via billboards plastered on Muni buses and throughout Silicon Valley, which gave the impression of a passive-aggressive death match.

Then, they tried a more direct campaign over social media, offering $500 rewards, and other perks, to drivers willing to defect from one company to the other. 

Now, Uber has launched a full-on assault, providing teams of "brand ambassadors" with burner phones and credit cards which they can use to anonymously request rides from Lyft or other competitors, and then try to recruit the drivers, according to a new report from The Verge

Uber brass didn't comment for the story. Instead, the company posted a blog primer about its marketing program, dubbed Operation SLOG (Supplying Long-term Operations Growth). It tried to spin its aggressive tactics as a savvy way of doing business, rather than an underhanded way to undermine competitors. 

Uber also denied that its recruiters intentionally book and cancel rides with Lyft or other companies, such as Gett, the app-based transit service whose CEO says it was the victim of an Uber-orchestrated ride-ditch hoax in January. In August, Lyft accused Uber of canceling 5,560 Lyft rides, in a similar coordinated plot.

If these stunts hearken to recent TV dramas, critics have also equated them with real-life warlords.







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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Bio:
Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

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