Marketing

Fast Lane: Why your business is not the Uber of anything

Cara Waters /

My heart sank a little this morning when Freelancer founder Matt Barrie described Freelancer’s launch of its Local Jobs business as “like Uber, but for local jobs”.

It seems every new business that launches now must be the Uber of its sector.

Here are some of the most recent offenders:

  • Cleaning website and app Scrubb launched last week describing itself as “akin to Uber for taxis”;
  • But there’s competition from Whizz, which also claims to be the “Uber for cleaning services”;
  • Rewardle revealed a new payments system its spokesperson describes as an “Uber style payments experience for local merchants powered by Rewardle”;
  • Crowdsourced courier business PPost says it is “similar to being the Uber in courier”;
  • Class is the Uber of hotel bookings; and
  • The Tennis Buddy app says it is the “Uber of finding tennis partners”.

My favourite is perhaps the text message service ASAP, which is not content with being the Uber of just one industry and instead bills itself as the “Uber of Everything – Hint: Next Big Thing”.

The problem is even more widespread outside Australia, prompting the collation of the list “Uber for X” which highlights on-demand services including “Uber for alcohol Minibar” and “Uber for medical marijuana Eaze”.  

I’m contemplating creating an email rule that catches any press releases describing a company as the “Uber of” which sends them straight to the spam folder.

Freelancer is a global success story, surely it doesn’t need to describe its latest offering as the Uber of anything?

Freelancer’s Local Jobs business will be revolutionary enough if it manages to be the Freelancer of the local jobs market.

Leave Uber to be Uber and let your business make its own mark on the world.

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is a former SmartCompany editor. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter for the Financial Times' website and worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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