Should I be afraid of Uber?

The most popular story today on SFGate.com is Report: Uber exec plots revenge on journalists, eliciting outrage. The story is about Emil Michael, Uber senior vice president of business, who allegedly said at a dinner last week, Uber could spend a million dollars and hire researchers and journalists to go after reporters critical of Uber in the media.

Uber is a social media darling on BoardingArea.com with their free ride credits and affiliate marketing credit. Bloggers frequently write about on demand car services, especially when there is marketing money to be made with membership referrals.






I have nothing against Uber as a transportation service. Last month I downloaded the Uber app to my iPhone.

I have never used Uber myself. Nor have I booked with Lyft, Sidecar or SilverCar. I rarely use taxis either. I can count all my taxi rides from the past decade on my fingers. The last time I was in a taxi was Detroit Metro Airport in January. That was the only time I actually looked at Uber for a potential ride.

The news story reporting the Uber executive’s dinner comments about tackling journalists had me thinking back on articles I have written covering Uber. As a daily reader of San Francisco papers, Uber crosses my eyesight regularly.

Checking my Loyalty Traveler tag for Uber articles reveals I might be on the social media bad side of Uber. I published three articles about Uber in 2014. None of them mentioned Uber ride credits.

California Regulators tell Uber and TNCs to stop illegal airport pick-ups and Europe taxis strike (June 12, 2014)

Mayday Seattle: Uber vs. The Counterforce (April 30, 2014)

Uber sued in San Francisco girl’s death (January 30, 2014)

Should I be afraid of Uber?

I am kidding…mostly.

The web trail from the SFGate article is what I found even more interesting with stories about rogue business practices and misogyny in the corporate culture of Uber. The ‘revenge on journalists’ story in SF Gate mentioned Sarah Lacy as a journalist who is a specific nuisance to Uber.

Sarah Lacy worked for Silicon Valley company TechCrunch and in January 2012 launched Pando Daily, an online news source about Silicon Valley tech start-ups.

Uber Pando-1

You know there is something big brewing when a tech story opens with these lines:

A big debate among the Pando staff for the past two years has been over just how morally bankrupt Uber is. Earlier this evening, a bombshell story by Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith proves the reality is way worse than anyone on our team could have expected. – Sarah Lacy


Sarah Lacy wrote a piece last month about misogyny in Silicon Valley tech culture.

The horrific trickle down of Asshole culture: Why I’ve just deleted Uber from my phone (Pando Daily 10/22/2014).

You can easily spend an hour clicking links in Sarah’s articles to get a different view of Uber and tech start-up culture than you might have seen from the back seat of your Uber car ride.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. You still have a few more days to get your new member $30 Uber credit. That is the most important thing readers need to know about Uber.

Isn’t it?


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.


  • LarryInNYC November 18, 2014

    You state that Mr. Michael “allegedly” said that Uber was planning to hire a team of opposition researchers to investigate the families of journalists but both Uber and Mr. Michael have confirmed that he did, in fact, make that statement. (They’ve also apologized and claimed that — allegedly — his statement did not reflect any current or future plans of the company to threaten journalists).

    I think you can safely and accurately remove the term “allegedly”.

  • augias November 18, 2014

    it’s a conundrum since the app is so good, but the people running that company are such nasty jerks…

  • Chris November 18, 2014

    I gave up on these guys a long time ago. You cannot trust anything they say and frankly, I don’t trust that their surcharging is actually due to high demand considering there have been many times where I’ve gotten surcharged followed by a conversation with a driver on how slow it’s been that night.

    Give zTrip a try. It’s the new up and coming app. Loving it so far.

  • MattyIce November 19, 2014

    Honestly, I used Uber for the convenience of ordering a ride via my phone, but with competition like Lyft (lyft.com) and zTrip (zTrip.com) I would just much rather take my dollars elsewhere.

Comments are closed.