3 BIG Data and Surges Blunders That Hurt Uber’s Rep

Written for Uber Car Organization
Published November 30th 2015

Uber blunders

Uber blunders blog

Every company makes mistakes, so has Uber. I’ve looked for the worst. These 3 Uber mistakes were all data or surge pricing related. How you can fall victim to your own automatic system.

Here’s the original blog I wrote:

The road to success is never a smooth ride. Uber knows all about that.

Recently, they had to retreat their services in Germany and The Netherlands. Even though it was announced that the EU wants to make it easier for companies to be innovative, Uber can’t wait until they actually really do. In The Netherlands, Uber drivers could’ve been heavily fined and in Germany Uber got banned altogether. It was time to call it quits.

But, while you could file that under “you win some, you lose some”, the following 4 Uber failings were just plain stupid:

Data leak

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Uber had stored location, username and password to their database on a server that was easily accessible by any slightly computer savvy programmer. The database housed information of thousands of Uber drivers. A major Oops!

Rumors emerged that competitor Lyft could’ve had something to do with the hack, but it was a beginners mistake on Uber’s part to have login information at such a public location.

Surge pricing fail

When demand is high, prices go up in an attempt to get more Uber drivers on the road. This drives prices up during holidays or other events, but also when people are trying to leave the New York area where hurricane Sandy was about to hit. Demand was high during the storm thread, so prices went up automatically, giving Uber the reputation of a company wanting to benefit from a bad situation. Uber shut surge pricing down, but their image had really caught some wind.

Surge pricing fail 2

Now, it’s one thing to make a mistake once, but when you do the same thing twice….. After hurricane Sandy, Uber Australia let the prices surge at Sydney’s business center when people were in a hurry to leave the location during a hostage situation. It was the first time Uber Australia even introduced surge pricing to the country. Ouch!

Various Australians posted angry tweets about the heartless high prices that were maintained during an emergency situation. Uber quickly corrected the situation and gave away free rides to try to repair the damage to their image.

Learning curves

To the outside, Uber might seem like a fearless company. They seem to battle bravely wherever they go and are just at daring in their marketing approach. They take risks, fail and succeed. It is true what they say, the only thing that makes successful people stand out is they have no fear to fail. Failure is one step closer to success. It teaches what didn’t work, making it clearer what could. Uber still has a lot to learn.

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