Uber Taps Into Google And Facebook Rivalry For Palo Alto Launch

Looks like Uber is putting the $11 million dollars it raised on Valentine’s Day to good use, expanding its car service into Palo Alto officially, with one catch. The Uber marketing department has apparently taken its cue from Charlie Sheen and cooked up a wacky stunt contest between Google and Facebook employees. What’s even stranger is that the company does not actually have any marketing staff, yet keeps coming up with this kind of stuff.

What is this contest you say!? Well, because the tech industry did not have enough venues for smackdowns, Uber will be pitting Googlers and Facebookers against each other for two weeks, between 3/1 and 3/15, to see who can rack up the most Uber rides. If Facebook wins, all Uber fares from Facebook to Google are free, and if Google wins all Uber fares from Google to Facebook will be twice the price. Heh.

Says Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on the expansion’s choice of locale, “Our users have been screaming and begging for us to launch in the Peninsula, and we already have the partnerships … And it’s the heart of Silicon Valley.” Uber has tested out its services both in New York and Paris previously, before setting its sights on Palo Alto. When asked why the company chose to give the inauguration period exclusivity to Google and Facebook, Kalnick responded, “Because it’s a hell of a lot better than doing MySpace vs. Yahoo!” True.

“Both companies, if they could name a rival, would name each other. We would do all startups, but we wanted to be focused,” Kalanick said, clarifying the decision. When asked what exactly he meant by including the conspicuous hashtags #PoachingInStyle and #PoachingCounterMeasure in the contest rules (below), he explained, “If a Google employee is going to an interview at Facebook, he/she wants to be relaxed and comfortable, in the best state.  And if Google wins they deserve to make it harder to get to Facebook.”

And while winning would be awesome for either Facebook and Google (but more awesome for Facebook) it will be pure entertainment to see how this all pans out. Because aside from the two companies competing on a pure product level, Silicon Valley is in a talent crunch and it is poaching season.

The stunt contest will be awesome for end users as well, as Uber will also be offering discounts for everyone who signs up using their Gmail accounts or for everyone who “Likes” Uber on Facebook depending on which company wins. Everybody gets a car!

In case you work at Facebook or Google and want to own this thing, here are the Uber rules from their blog post:


– For two weeks – 3/1 to 3/15 – Facebook and Google employees have exclusivity on all pickups in Palo Alto

– For Palo Alto pickups, Uber users MUST have a Facebook or Google employee email address registered with their Uber account (go to http://www.uber.com to change email settings)

– Palo Alto is defined by this geo-fence (Yes Google isn’t in Palo Alto, but anyone can do a pick up outside of the the area. And while Facebook has home field advantage, Google has 10x the employees.)

– Destination location does not factor into exclusivity

The Race

– The contest is to see which company’s employees can do the most Palo Alto rides over the exclusivity period

– The winners will be rewarded handsomely

The Stakes

– If Facebook wins:

*All Uber trips between Google HQ and Facebook HQ (either direction) will be FREE for the next 6 months –#PoachingInStyle

*All Facebook employees registered before 3/15 get $20 in credits

*All Uber users who ‘Like’ Uber between 3/1 and 3/15 will get $10 inUber credits – just go to Uber.com, login, and then hit the Like button at the top of the home page

– If Google wins:

*All Uber trips between Google HQ and Facebook HQ are twice the price for 6 months #PoachingCounterMeasure

*All Google employees registered before 3/15 get $20 in credits

*All Uber users that have signed up with a Gmail account by 3/15 will get $10 in Uber credits

You can follow the contest on Twitter here, Facebook here and on the leaderboard here. Or just Google it.


Image: Stillnetstudios