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 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
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
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
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:
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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.”
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
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."