The OrderAhead saga continues. On Tuesday, Eater reported that after nearly a month, the San Francisco-based delivery service OrderAhead was still creating fake (but official-looking) websites for restaurants in Washington, California, and New York, and siphoning off their business. Google has intervened to try to "penaliz[e] the unauthorized sites in search results, remov[e] them from restaurant profiles in Google Maps, and revok[e] the 'verified' status on Google Business restaurant listings that connect to the OrderAhead sites," which has been somewhat successful, but a gross problem remains.
Yesterday GeekWire, who has been covering this story for weeks but unable to get a comment from OrderAhead, tried another tactic. The International District's World Pizza was one of the country's first restaurants to notice a fake OrderAhead website diverting customers from its real site, and on April 17, the owners filed a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General's Office. OrderAhead did not respond within the Attorney General's requested three-week time period, and apparently the office cannot make it respond, though there is the possibility of doing a formal investigation in the future.
In the meantime, working with the World Pizza owners Aaron and Wren Crosleycone, GeekWire made a test order to the restaurant through the rogue OrderAhead site yesterday. Per GeekWire: "After we placed the order online, it was called in to the restaurant by someone who used our name without identifying himself as an OrderAhead representative. The order was then picked up and delivered by an OrderAhead worker.
"When we pressed for details about how many orders [the OrderAhead caller] calls in during a typical day — hundreds? thousands? — he declined to comment further, saying he needed to get off the phone," GeekWire writes.
"After we received our pizza and salad, World Pizza gave us the phone number that was used to place the order. When we called, the man who answered the phone acknowledged that his job is to call restaurants to place orders after they're made by customers through the OrderAhead site ... When we pressed for details about how many orders he calls in during a typical day — hundreds? thousands? — he declined to comment further, saying he needed to get off the phone. Before he hung up, he referred us to a number for his supervisor at OrderAhead, but the mailbox on that line was full when we called."
Find GeekWire's full coverage here, including that of other Seattle restaurants—Queen Anne's Golden Olive and Ravenna's Zouave—still suffering from fake OrderAhead sites listed above their actual ones in online searches.