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Report: GrubHub buying websites of restaurants without consent, running shadow sites

Illustration for article titled Report: GrubHub buying websites of restaurants without consent, running shadow sites
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Hot LinksHot LinksWe spend way too much time on the internet

It’s already been a rough week for GrubHub, which has had to refund one New York restaurant owner $10,000 in erroneous fees. Today, The New Food Economy published a story today that, if true (and there’s no reason not to believe its reporting), is truly infuriating.

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We encourage you to read Claire Brown’s story and click it a few times. In short: GrubHub has been allegedly buying the URL of thousands of restaurants, often times without the knowledge or consent of the restaurant owner, and running a shadow site under the GrubHub platform.

Many of the GrubHub-owned pages resemble the restaurant’s actual site, except the listed phone number is a GrubHub-affiliated number, not the actual business phone number, and thus GrubHub receives a cut of sales. In some cases, the restaurant owners have no idea it’s happening and find the practice predatory. In some other cases, owners don’t know it’s happening but when notified, say they welcome the greater online presence. GrubHub did not respond to the reporter’s questions. Read The New Food Economy’s story here.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.

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DISCUSSION

The app economy is only reinforcing my belief that we should wall off Silicon Valley Escape From New York-style.