shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Customer Service Edition

rumormonger2 Rumors & Acquisitions: Customer Service EditionCHRIST, AIRBNB, GET IT TOGETHER. Airbnb, a company heretofore known mostly for a beautiful website, innovative business and the charm and grit of its founders, as well as their notorious Craigslist spamming, has potentially smashed its reputation to pieces as one user’s horror story came to light. CEO Brian Chesky responded publicly yesterday with a rather mild apology, and then the victim, a travel blogger named Emily whose existence and story have not been independently confirmed, wrote an update on her blog claiming that:

  • some of Mr. Chesky’s statements, such as the claim that a suspect was in police custody with Airbnb’s help, were false; and
  • an Airbnb co-founder had been harassing her about taking her blog post down because it would endanger the company’s future growth and imperil the round of funding they were trying to close.

Pretty damning stuff. But even though the story reached as far as the Financial Times and the Washington Post online, no one in the press has published an interview with the actual victim. Emily blogs anonymously, so we left her a comment–two, actually–asking for a chat. No response yet. We tried the phone number and email address she posted as belonging to her home’s attacker. The number, a Portland area code was a Google Voice number. No one picked up. Unsurprisingly, we haven’t received an email back either. Airbnb is also ignoring us. WTF, everyone?

Airbnb’s investors and friends have remained silent on their interblogs since the late developments today. But we bet Airbnb-fanboy Fred Wilson is beating his head into a table over the founders’ ineptitude.

RUMORS WITH DISCLOSURES. We hear “major merchant integration” for Bitcoin is coming later this year. “Can’t comment yet on the details,” a Bitcoin developer told Betabeat. Disclosure: Betabeat is currently in possession of six Bitcoins, although we’re not sure where they are. The site where we were keeping them was down today. LOL Bitcoin!

DEPT. OF GETTING GROOVES BACK. The company formerly known as SeamlessWeb is going for a full make-over! After securing at long last the seamless.com domain name from what claimed to be the “first commercial legal website” established in 1994, the food delivery company teased that “big changes” were coming. New York’s Seamless outsourced at least some of its redesign to UX developers in the city, Betabeat has learned, and a refresh is coming soon. As long as we get our munchies, we’re happy cats.

CALL TECH SUPPORT! News.me is hiring, but it’s experiencing technical difficulties! Or maybe just one hapless Rochester developer is. “They have a job opening that I’m a good fit for and none of their emails (jobs@news.me or feedback@news.me) work,” he tweeted at Betabeat after receiving the “Delivery to the recipient failed permanently” error. “Strange, it’s working for us,” News.me replied, directing the fellow to newsdotme care of Gmail. Don’t you love having that conversation? We love having that conversation.

But when Betabeat test-emailed the Betaworkers, we had no trouble getting the autoreply that puts butterflies in any applicant’s belly: “Thanks for your interest in joining the News.me team. We will get back to you as quickly as possible if there is a relevant fit.” Yay! How many tech bloggers do you need? Damn, we’re all nervous now.

Follow Adrianne Jeffries on Twitter or via RSS. ajeffries@observer.com