The ongoing war of dominance in the mobile ridesharing industry between rival services Uber and Lyft (identified by its cars' pink mustaches) is showing no signs of stopping. One recent report based on Lyft data accused Uber's contractors of booking and canceling 5,560 rides since October 2013. New information is showing just how far Uber is willing to go to add to its roster of drivers, as well.
During Lyft's introduction to New York City, Uber set up a systematic approach to sway as many of its rival's drivers as possible to switch sides. According to The Verge, the company hired a street team of so-called brand ambassadors and gave them cell phones and credit card numbers to use. Their job was to hire Lyft drivers for a ride and try to talk them into changing teams. These recruiters would also take down driver information and cross-reference it so that their compatriots didn't waste energy by going after the same person multiple times. One anonymous ambassador speaking with The Verge, said that they received $750 each time they swayed someone to swap employers.
Now, Uber has decided to take a similar strategy nationwide with Operation SLOG, for Supplying Long-term Operations Growth. It recently announced the plan on its blog and immediately copped to the controversy that the company has experienced saying: "There's been a lot of discussion – and a lot of misinformation – about Uber's driver recruitment and the ridesharing industry's at large."
Uber claims that its drivers are small business owners, and it believes that the best way to add to its roster is direct marketing. "We can't successfully recruit drivers without talking to them," the business says on the blog. It also flatly denies ever intentionally canceling rides, despite earlier claims to the contrary. At the end of the post, Uber offers people the chance to sign up and join the team.