Uber Knows Who You Did Last Night (Sort Of)
John Hendel at TBD (Jon Hendel, who practically is TBD) notes that Uber—the rent-a-sedan company that we awarded "Best Squandered Goodwill"—has spun user data into a blog post about which cities have the most one-night stands: "Uber has distinguished itself with some oddball yet beloved PR moves and its staffers recently used math to quantify how many of its passengers use the $15-minimum car service to facilitate their casual hook ups," Hendel writes.
On the Uber blog, staffer Bradley Voytek explains:
One of the neat things we can do with our data is ask about rider patterns: are there weekend riders that only use Uber post-party? What about the workday commuters who use us every morning? It was while playing around with this idea of (blind!) rider segmentation that we came up with the Ride of Glory (RoG).
A RoGer was defined as anyone who took a ride between 10pm and 4am on a Friday or Saturday night, and then took a second ride from within 1/10th of a mile of the previous nights’ drop-off point 4-6 hours later (enough for a quick night’s sleep).
D.C. comes in third place, after Boston and Seattle, but ahead of Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City. Hendel runs down the reasons why the methodology may not be the most accurate—and we agree. It reminds us a bit of the pseudo scientific blog posts at OkCupid (they haven't updated in nearly a year, so maybe Uber is trying to fill a niche?).
But honestly, even though Uber isn't sharing individual user data, we also just find it kind of creepy.