When you have an unapologetic asshole for a CEO, your company does things like this: Uber is conducting a full-blown street campaign to destroy Lyft using deceptive tactics, The Verge reports. This is what "disruption" really looks like.
According to internal documents and interviews with Uber contractors, the mega-valued transit startup is trying to steal drivers away from Lyft—its chief competitor—using a nationwide guerrilla campaign called "SLOG."
SLOG seems to work using two methods: trying to get Lyft drivers to defect to Uber, and creating fake Lyft accounts to gain a better understanding of how the company is operating alongside Uber. Sources tell The Verge this is a deliberate effort to subvert the entire Lyft service, using an army of covert workers:
Contractors were...handed two Uber-branded iPhones and a series of valid credit card numbers to be used for creating dummy Lyft accounts. Uber assumed every contractor would be caught by Lyft eventually; the second phone, according to a contractor interviewed by The Verge, was issued so "you would have a backup phone if and when that happened so you wouldn't have to go back."
Like prior attempts at killing competition, this is a concerted effort on Uber's part to win at any cost:
"What's simply untrue is that not only does Uber know about this, they're actively encouraging these actions day-to-day and, in doing so, are flat-out lying both to their customers, the media, and their investors," the contractor said...Uber's recruitment program has vastly increased in size and sophistication, and recruiters cancel rides in part to avoid detection by Lyft.
The campaign—which Uber is already trying to downplay via transparent, corny PR messaging—is reminiscent of earlier attempts at commercial sabotage in New York. Remember: this is the flagship golden child of the "sharing economy."