#Uber vs. #Goober: Behind The St. Louis Ridesharing Parody App

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When was the last time you took an Uber in St. Louis?

Four members of the St. Louis startup community thought of a clever way to raise awareness about the fact that the Midwestern city remains the only U.S.-American metro without ridesharing.

They created Goober, a web-based app parodying the lack of Uber in St. Louis. When users go to the site, they’re greeted with the friendly (yet doofus) face of Jim Carrey from Dumb & Dumber, and a headline that reads “Sign up for our completely imaginary ridesharing service, converse with your driver, and then never get picked up!”

After entering their phone number and fake destination into a web form (which shows MTC’s phone and address as the example data), the user receives a text message from your fake Uber drive followed by some back and forth about why he can’t pick you up.

Goober Uber St. Louis

It all started last Friday, when Kyle Tabor (CEO/Cofounder of My Invisible Girlfriend/Boyfriend), Chris Zempel, Michael McGreal and Tyler Kessler came up with the idea. Edward Domain joined the initiative after the foursome ran the concept for Goober by him. Within 48 hours, the team had the website up and running.

At the time of this post, almost 500 people had entered their phone numbers to request a Goober and more than 4,000 text messages had been sent out, according to the Goober website.

Since its launch Monday morning, Goober has received press coverage from local news stations KMOX (“New App ‘Goober’ Is Like ‘Uber’ Except It’s Allowed in St. Louis“), Fox 2 (““Goober” website pokes fun at ride-sharing services banned in St. Louis“) and KSDK (“‘Goober’ parodies STL’s lack of Uber“). Even Inc. Magazine published a piece on it (“Uber’s Showdown With St. Louis Satirized by Parody App“).

The underlying reason for the inception of Goober is the prolonged battle between the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission and ridesharing service Uber. In this context, Domain has emerged as an avid supporter of Uber and an outspoken adversary of the MTC. In an open letter to Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Steve Stenger from July 7, Domain publicly voiced his opinion, making several proposals about ridesharing and the MTC. At the Commission’s July 29 public meeting, the MTC postponed their vote on allowing Uber in St. Louis after issuing a public statement the week prior stating the commission was on track to make code changes to allow it. As it stands, the MTC has not publicly announced the date of their vote.

The Goober creators say they have more plans for the app. Look for continuous updates on ridesharing in St. Louis here on EQ.

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Benjamin came to Missouri all the way from Germany to get a Master's degree in Communications at Lindenwood University. In the spring of 2013, he sailed around the world on a ship with 600 college students and 10 startups, which made him realize that he wants to pursue a career at the intersection of journalism and entrepreneurship. He is an avid traveler, football player (American football, yes), and collector of new ways of thinking.