The platform has set up numerous pages that look similar to the official restaurant websites but feature GrubHub numbers.
While many restaurants get their own website set up and running as soon as possible, those slower on the uptake may run into a problem snagging their preferred URL—because GrubHub may have gotten to it first.
The New Food Economy found that GrubHub has purchased more than 23,000 website domains, many of which appear to refer to existing restaurants, even setting up full web pages in some cases. Instead of restaurants’ direct lines, these “shadow pages” feature GrubHub phone numbers that forward to individual restaurants but are tracked by GrubHub to receive its cut of the transaction, according to the article.
These sites were often purchased and created without restaurant owners’ knowledge or permission. One owner interviewed in the piece believes that the delivery company bought three domains that refer to her establishment’s name to prevent her from doing so; on the other hand, another owner welcomed the increased web presence.
GrubHub emailed The New Food Economy the following statement: “Grubhub has never cybersquatted, which is identified by ICANN as ‘generally bad faith registration of another person’s trademark in a domain name.’ As a service to our restaurants, we have created microsites for them as another source of orders and to increase their online brand presence. Additionally, we have registered domains on their behalf, consistent with our restaurant contracts. We no longer provide that service and it has always been our practice to transfer the domain to the restaurant as soon as they request it.”
Read the full article here.