When tens of thousands of cab drivers took to the streets of major cities in Europe to protest of Uber this week, blocking streets, shutting down traffic and in some cases even becoming violent, an unexpected consequence may have come out of the protests called the ‘Streisand effect,’ according to Forbes Magazine.
Contributor Tim Worstall writes that the Streisand effect refers to an incident years ago where singer Barbara Streisand tried to stop a photo of her home being posted online, which only brought more attention to the photo resulting in it being seen around the world.
After demonstrations across Europe, the attention brought to Uber by its protestors may have had the opposite affect and instead helped grow its popularity. According to The Telegraph, Uber’s UK and Ireland general manager, Jo Bertram said the company saw and 850 percent increase in downloads in just one week.
He said it was the biggest day for Uber since it launched in London. Of course, many of the people who download a free app just to see it may never actually spend money on its services, but nevertheless the company’s name, brand and service were exposed to a lot of new potential costumers as a result.
The massive 850 percent increase also comes on the heels of The New York Times reporting the company is estimated to be worth $18 billion, more than the entire taxi industry of the United States. But according to the article, $18 billion might not be enough.
The company takes a 20 percent cut on each fare, owns no vehicle to service or maintain, and according to the NYT could even be going after the shipping and logistics business at some point. At only four years old and backed by money from Google, Fidelity and BlackRock, the company seems to show no sign of slowing down.
Read about Uber in the Curbing Cars eBook from Forbes, available here.