Earlier this month, Lyft alleged that Uber employees had booked and cancelled more than 5,000 rides in an attempt to sabotage the competing ride-sharing company. At the time Uber refuted the allegations, going on to claim that Lyft had used similar tactics themselves to cancel 12,900 Uber rides.
Now it has been revealed by The Verge that a special Uber team is operating with the objective of sabotaging the efforts of its competitors such as Lyft. The program is called Operation SLOG, which according to a blog post by Uber sees "brand ambassadors" recruit new drivers through incentives, partnerships and "marketing 101".
But according to The Verge's documents, Operation SLOG is deeper than just a simple marketing and recruitment process. Uber allegedly hires contractors to specifically target Lyft drivers, ordering rides where as a passenger they would try and sign the driver up to Uber, in the process collecting a large commission for any successful conversions.
To avoid detection by Lyft, Uber uses a sophisticated system of multiple credit cards, iPhones and fake Lyft accounts to order numerous rides for recruitment pitches. The outline for Operation SLOG requires contractors order rides from different locations to avoid being caught and add any recruited drivers to a GroupMe discussion. Cancelling some rides is part of the process, to avoid multiple pitches to the one driver and to avoid detection.
Recruiters have been warned by their company not to speak to the press about Operation SLOG, highlighting its secretive nature. One contractor who did speak to The Verge said that Uber is fully aware of and encouraging their sabotaging efforts, and in denying it, they're "flat-out lying both to their customers, the media, and their investors."
The end goal from Operation SLOG is to cull the number of Lyft rides ("#shavethestash") by making more Uber drivers available on the roads, in a fierce competitive cycle that hopes to make Uber the number one taxi service on the road.