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Looking to make a change for the greater good though SEO...

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by LvldUp, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. LvldUp

    LvldUp Newbie

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    For more than a year I've watched as Uber destroyed a good friend of mine livelihood. I worked under him for years in business development for a high-end transportation company; Mercedes-Benz sedans, Black Escalades, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, etc. It was great to work in the Bay Area doing wine tours, corporate functions, weddings and so on. That is until Uber came along 8 years ago.

    At first, they came to us as beta testers of their product. It was amazing, this shiny new Silicon Valley platform that promised to change our companies growth, and it did, at first... but, over time we saw Uber's "Silicon Valley Bro-culture" and what it is known for today, and that is to exploit the drivers that Uber's success is built on by taking up to 50% of the total fare. Simply look up "Uber News" and you will see scathing report after scathing report about how Uber is exploiting drivers.

    I was lucky enough to switch careers before the downfall (SEO and product management), but my friend was not. His million dollar company was destroyed by Uber that has underpriced rates to a point where not only taxies are going out of business, but also the private transportation market through subsidized fares ( not based on any real-world value or costs), and all people can tell him is "adapt or die."

    This is where I've had enough, he has a family and a home mortgage to pay for and that's the kind of mindset people have in this world? Where a handful of investors create a shiny little product that gets people from point A to B and just underprice the product to where all competitors are losing their livelihood while having the majority of cost be pushed onto the drivers? That's not innovation that is a conman's game of exploiting people into a new economic class, which is now called the precariat class.

    The precariat economic class of people are now at a greater risk of being homeless or destitute if an unforeseen economic situation happens, which if you are a rideshare driver this is an everyday occurrence of it happening.

    After reading the recent MIT brief that drivers are making $3.37 an hour I became sick of it. To personally know a friend who life was destroyed by companies like Uber and Lyft, and read about this lady being run over by one of Uber's autonomous cars I have finally had it.

    Silicon Valley likes to put up this fake image of liberal-freeing-progressive agenda, but it's only when it's for their investor's bottom line. They will easily switch to being a Republican-Hawk using massive amounts of money to pay for political favors through lobbying. Things have to change.

    Today I want to try to make a difference and see how far I can take it, today in the world of corrupt data (don't get me started on Facebook), fake news, Silicon Valley, and shitty companies like Uber I want to see how powerful SEO can be.

    Over the week I've learned that a company just got acquired called Fasten, they were actually one of the few companies that charged drivers only $1 commission per ride, allowing them to make 40% to 50% more than with Uber or Lyft. Now that I know it can be done (easier said than done), I believe the timing is right to try to push my SEO skills to the test to create a movement to help gig economy workers have more control over their pay and lives.

    I call the movement RHYD, "Rethink How You are Driven." I am planning to research the keywords that will allow me to create content on the disparity of drivers pay so it ranks with Uber or Lyft on the first page along with a PPC for a Tshirts campaign to fund patents and a beta rideshare platform (the beta is affordable, around $4k.)

    The goal is when people type in Uber or Lyft you will one day find articles from RHYD talking about this industry and the goal to create a driver-focused platform. There are over 1 million drivers in the US being completely screwed by these companies and there has never been a competitor yet to simply try build a movement for a product that pays drivers a livable wage, well today I'm taking on that challenge.

    I know transportation, I know if the TNC insurance cost is covered by a booking fee and the company only takes $1 commission it can be cash-flow-positive (Lyft boasts they do 10 million rides weekly). I know that if nothing is done the gig economy is going to Branch out into other job verticals as well (Read the Guy Standing link above, the white collar sector is next).

    I believe if there was ever a social experiment of how powerful SEO can be this would be the campaign that could be a success with a little luck and like-minded people that share my point of view (any help is greatly appreciated). I know I can do this on my own, but I am also open to any support from people that understand that this is a cause that is both important to drivers, but also to send a clear message to Silicon Valley that things need to change, and that SEO can be a tool used for the greater good to make a change.

    If you made it this far, thanks for reading my rant. I am very passionate about this and know that this is a challenge, but if no one tries then I would hate to think later on in my life "could have things changed?'
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2018
  2. Sherb

    Sherb BANNED BANNED

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    Good luck, David.
     
  3. davids355

    davids355 Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I must admit I don’t agree with a lot of Uber’s policies. But I also have to say that it’s the way business works and competition is healthy for the consumer - if I business can come in, lower the prices and take all the business then clearly the existing companies were charging too much and / or not adding enough value.
     
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  4. MisterF

    MisterF Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    We were in a hotel in Redondo Beach ( Southern California ) last year and a woman in the bar was saying the Uber ride from LAX airport to the hotel was a third of the cab she'd used the time before.

    We used Uber in December and January when we toured the Southern States, plus we found they also do Uber Eats, so you can order fast food delivered.

    Companies like Uber have fans and haters, however they are innovative and progressive thinking. People need to accept that big players will come along and rock the boat. The solution is adapt or die.
     
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  5. jazzc

    jazzc Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I find your rant completely off-base in terms of economics but I applaud entrepreneurial action no matter the fluff behind it. So good luck!
     
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  6. Yep, it's a worrying trend. Setup some technical infrastructure, spend a shitload of your investors money in marketing and your good to go.

    This whole "gig economy" thing is effed and not sustainable in the long run. Eventually the, as you call it "precariate" will not simply accept their fate in silence and keep running around like some weirdo's from the hunger games.

    Sadly I can't really express my thoughts well enough without analysing and critisizing the existing socio-economic power structures and everything that goes along with that. This, because of the simple fact that politics and religion are topics that are off limits on BHW. However I do wish you all the best with with taking on those "Uber shysters."

    Maybe it's an idea to contact Fox News. Tucker Carlson in particular, since he's been railing against FB and Alphabet, basically the whole "tech" industry lately. No idea how easy this will be, since I am not a fellow inhabitant of your country, but it might be worth trying to get some additional exposure.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2018
  7. Thulf

    Thulf Junior Member

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    But here's the thing. I think it is adaptation when a new competitor has the same benefits, but more, by respecting its workers with the smaller commission fee.

    That was the whole point of this post, I figured.

    The pushing of the win-win innovation rather than the one that has clearly went off the road a bit. I would understand if things were like this if human drivers were unneccessary due to the AI taking over, but AI has not replaced the human drivers yet. Things are as if there was a break-through in AI technology (the tests make it seem like there was, but... kind of wasn't, too)...

    It's more complicated than that, but I do feel things are a little mismanaged there. I could be wrong. It might solely be the inner righteousness that's a little triggered by this.


    Not trying to argue just for the sake of arguing, I just tried to approach from a different perspective.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
  8. LvldUp

    LvldUp Newbie

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    Prices for riders would not change, the profits would be passed on to the driver. Uber and Lyft are taking 50% of the fare, while also taking 20% to 25% commission from the drivers.

    This campaign would be a competitor that actually allows driver's to make a living.

    Here is a link to Fasten website on pay, it's outdated since it doesn't account for the 50% that Uber and Lyft increased the pay through "Upfront Pricing", you can play with the slider at the bottom. The business model would be very similar: https://fasten.com/us/drive


    I've noticed that my post links was edited by moderators, but as I can imagine we are all Data-driven when it comes to SEO on BHW.

    One of my links was to the MIT paper that shows that driver's are making $3.37 an hour after expenses. The only time I use figures it's always based on cited information, or real data.

    If driver's are only making $3.37 an hour is thought as "off-base", how can I post this paper so that the community can see the information?

    There was also another link to a researcher named Guy Standing whom discussed the issue of the gig economy and the precariat class.

    I'm not sure if posting links to this information was against bhw policy, but those links are important facts to the claims I'm making.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2018
  9. GringoMonkey

    GringoMonkey Elite Member

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    Ulitimately there will be no drivers with uber, hence their investment in driverless cars.

    There are a lot of online companies who will automate what people currently do for a living.

    The question isnt really what should those effected do. It is what will society do with the millions of people who dont have the skills to set up their own dotcom or whatever and end up being unemployed.
     
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  10. ExperimentalSEO

    ExperimentalSEO Junior Member

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    The MIT paper was flawed they added $.59 cents per mile in expenses, even though many drivers might have only a fraction of that in expenses. In Phoenix if you have a car already its going to be around 8 to 10 cents per mile in expenses for UberX.
     
  11. Asif A Khan LONDON

    Asif A Khan LONDON Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I read halfway through and skimmed the rest.

    I think the biggest problem you will find is that consumers seem to like the product and why would they change their habits and pay more for a ride because a driver might be earning less?

    Obviously I have read plenty of horror stories about these companies but Drivers drive for them for a reason.

    If you really want to make a difference then start a service that performs better than the current offerings and pay your drivers more, obviously this will cut into your bottom line but your your Drivers and Customers should be happy and that's what counts right?
     
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  12. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Marketplace Mod, Jr Exec, Jr Vip Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    Maybe you can also mention that you had at least one link to a non approved DL site with no virus total and two others to sites you built to support/back up your deal for promotional purposes.

    Do-do birds are extinct because they could not fly.

    Half truths usually have the same demise.
     
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  13. jazzc

    jazzc Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    Society will be fine and prosperous. Guess what the unemployed workers in the horse-carrier industry and all the assorted professions did.
     
  14. jimbobo2779

    jimbobo2779 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    This is true, I looked at that report when it came out but, as with all stats, you need to look at what they are looking at to get a real idea of what is actually the case. I seem to remember them inflating expenses and costs and slightly downplaying what a driver could be making.

    With the above said however even when the stats were not overly skewed the money being brought in by uber drivers was not great and if they really do take 50% that is scandalous and it hopefully won't be long for another alternative to come along that really rewards it's drivers while still being convenient.
     
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  15. GringoMonkey

    GringoMonkey Elite Member

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    Depends on the country, some had a revolution.
     
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  16. jimbobo2779

    jimbobo2779 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    They became jockeys?
     
  17. jazzc

    jazzc Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I suppose that depends on the riding skill...

    Which country had a revolution due to the invention of the automobile?
     
  18. GringoMonkey

    GringoMonkey Elite Member

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    I am talking about the loss of work and the concentration of money in the hands of a few. Not the invention of the car! In which case, russia, france, cuba and many more. I am just pointing out there is a circle which if we are not careful we will go round again.
     
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  19. jazzc

    jazzc Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    Too bad this has nothing to do with automation then. That is unless you think that the industrial revolution (i.e. automation) decreased the wealth of the masses.

    I assume you're talking about the 1917 revolution in Russia, you should realize that was the result of the impoverishment that came with the bad results from WW I. Something like 15 million workers had been enlisted on the army, which meant significant shortage of food production, coupled with the harsh winter of 16-17 - you get the picture. Severe lack of support for the Tzar due to a) hunger and general fall of life conditions b) humiliating defeats by the Germans c) the army abandoning the Tzar.

    For the French revolution, that was largely a result of a political crisis. France had been the richest and most powerful country up to the decades before the revolution. In terms of the economy what happened was a combination of a) government going bankrupt (mostly by funding the Americans in their war against England) b) series of bad harvests leading to shortages + political interference stopping food imports to Paris and c) much more taxes. So again, the economic part amounted to a general loss of wealth.

    For Cuba, I know little about Latin America so I'll take your word about it.
     
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  20. GringoMonkey

    GringoMonkey Elite Member

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    Yes @jazzc you are repeating what i said just in a long winded way. The reason why wealth was lost does not really matter. It is the loss of wealth that caused revolution. And if we are not careful that loss of mass wealth will happen again.

    There is a fundamental difference between what companies like uber do and the industrial revolution.

    The industrial revolution replaced one type of low skilled job with another.

    Companies like uber want to eliminate all low skilled jobs and not replace them with any other job, just automation. As technology advances that will creep up to medium skilled jobs etc.

    Uber only have 12,000 employees. Starbucks is a similar size and has over 250,000.

    My point is what are all those people going to do when there is no work for them?
     
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    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018