Dystopia watch: Guide to spotting hidden cameras in your Airbnb

If you're worried that your Airbnb host has hidden a camera in the place you've rented, because that is a thing that garbage people do, you can use these handy tips to spot it. Read the rest

Relying on a ridesharing gig to make money ain't what it used to be

Making a living as an Uber or Lyft driver can be tough. An over saturated market, having too few people in need of your services, paying to maintain your ride and the high cost of gas can all take a serious bite out of a driver's bottom line. Read the rest

Drunk NYPD cop shouted racial slurs at family after breaking into their home thinking it was his AirBnB

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After Airbnb hosts converted New York's available housing stock to unlicensed hotel rooms, rents soared

Airbnb hosts are supposed to be smallholders: people who rent out a spare room or let out their homes while they're out of town -- but in New York (and other cities), the system is dominated by professional landlords who have illegally converted huge swathes of the city's available housing stock into unlicensed, highly profitable hotel rooms. Read the rest

Berlin regulates Airbnb and safely deflates its housing bubble while returning 8,000 rentals to the market

Berlin is one of many European cities that have faced new housing crises -- or worsening existing ones -- attributed to Airbnb, where homes were converted to unlicensed, super-profitable hotel rooms, driving up housing prices, shrinking rental inventory, and making the city unaffordable for the people who lived and worked there. Read the rest

The Paradox of Tolerance: should intolerance be tolerated?

With the rise of white nationalist groups whose allies in government extend all the way to the President of the United States, tech companies are finding themselves in the uncomfortable position of deciding where tolerance begins and ends -- where they have a duty to step in and silence certain kinds of speech. Read the rest

Airbnb's preferred smart lock vendor accidentally bricks 500 door-locks

The $469 LockState RemoteLock 6i is a "smart lock" that is sold to Airbnb operators through a partnership with the company, allowing Airbnb hosts to generate and expire unique, per-tenant unlock codes. Read the rest

Hobbit house above Washington lake now available on Airbnb

Kristie Wolfe loved The Hobbit ever since seeing the cartoon as a child, so she decided to build a hobbit house in Washington State. This fun video shows the whole process, and it's even listed on Airbnb. Read the rest

Airbnb stealth-updates terms of service, says it's not an insurer and requires binding arbitration

The March 29 edition of Airbnb's terms of service requires that people who rent out their homes acknowledge that despite the company's widely advertised Host Protection Insurance program, "you understand and agree that Airbnb does not act as an insurer." Read the rest

The mystery listings Airbnb "purged" before transparency report

Airbnb's New York data report—ostensibly an anonymized listing of all its hosts in the city—was intended to make the company look honest and to make its hosts look like normal, everyday homeowners. This effort seems to have fallen apart as journalists scrutinize what turns out to be a manicured view of its business.

Matt Buchanan writes that the most revealing thing about the 'purge' of bad listings is the fact it let the Airbnb landlords with multiple NYC properties stay on the service, albeit with less listings:

Perhaps most clearly indicative of Airbnb’s intentions, though—I mean, beyond its longstanding refusal to implement any real measures to curb illegal listings or to provide the city with what it needs to do so—is that “most hosts affected by the purge were left with some ‘inventory’ on the Airbnb site, indicating that Airbnb did not kick the ‘worst actors’ off the platform.” On average, “most hosts were left with 0.8 Entire Home listings, although the three hosts with the most Entire home listings (with 10, 11 and 12 Entire Homes at November 1, 2015) lost all of their Entire home listings by November 20, 2015.”

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Airbnb hosts consistently discriminate against black people

Harvard Business School's Benjamin Edelman, Michael Luca, and Dan Svirsky created 20 identical Airbnb profiles, ten of which had names meant to sound African-American, ten of which were meant to sound white and undertook thousands of attempted Airbnb bookings in Baltimore, Dallas, LA, St Louis and DC. They found that black-seeming Airbnb users were 16% more likely to have their requests declined than white-seeming users. Read the rest

Rent a camping tent in someone's backyard near Google X for $46/night

Need a place to stay near Google X in Mountain View? John Potter is renting out a 9' x 7' Coleman tent in his backyard on Airbnb for $46/night. You're allowed one shower per day and can eat inside too.

"It kind of is (outrageous)," Potter told CBS SF Bay Area. "But maybe they should build more affordable housing in Mountain View."

"Tent in garden next to google x" (Airbnb) Read the rest