Airbnb and Me
The number-crunchers at Priceonomics recently
Absent from this list is New York City. Then again, there are entire boroughs that tourists never see, so why would folks in the farthest-flung neighborhoods even bother to create a listing? Meanwhile, according to Pricenomics, there are 400 active listings in Hell’s Kitchen alone, and the median price of Read More
When Lawyers Send Letters
When last we checked in with poor Nigel Warren, the Airbnb host accused of violating the state’s illegal hotel laws, a judge had just ruled he had to pony up $2,400. That’s less than the $7,000 he was originally cited, but still–yikes.
But while Mr. Warren surely doesn’t want to cough up a couple grand, it’s even more important for Airbnb that he win the case, because otherwise legal precedent suggests their service is verboten. And who wants to risk legal troubles for a little extra cash?
So today, the company announced it would support Mr. Warren and his landlord throughout the process of appealing the ruling. “We may lose again before we prevail, but we intend to fight this ruling until justice is done,” wrote David Hantman, the company’s global head of public policy, in a blog post announcing the move. He added:
Airbnb and Me
Temporary apartment renting service Airbnb has had its share of tussles with New York law. In 2011, the city instituted an illegal hotels statute that makes it illegal for users to rent out their apartments for less than 30 days, effectively rendering Airbnb hosts subject to fines. Last September, the city council jacked up the fines that could be levied upon illegal hoteliers advertising their wares through Airbnb from $800 to $2,500.
Marco’s confident Tumblr made the right call: “This is clearly what David believes is best for his product. On such big decisions, he hasn’t been wrong yet. This time, though, I don’t have any doubts.” [Marco.org]
Dave Winer, on the other hand: “When you sell your company, no matter what promises were made, you sold it. It’s theirs now. They will do what they want to with it. Promises don’t matter.” [Scripting News]
Sounds like former Tumblr president John Maloney is just irked he’s being left out of the story. [Twitter]
Fab is reportedly raising a round somewhere in the ballpark of $250 million to $300 million, pushing the company’s valuation north of a billion dollars. [Wall Street Journal]
The Senate, meanwhile, says Apple dodged, oh, about $44 billion in taxes. [Politico]
Anon No More
Got big plans to save money on your summertime Hamptons excusions by renting someone’s designer couch via Airbnb? Well, get ready to hand over your driver’s license.
AllThingsD reports that starting today, 25 percent of users will have to submit to the company’s new “Verified Identification” process, or you will not be booking any more futons. Hosts can now restrict their rentals to verified users, incentivizing signups.
Prolific startup investor and jOBS star Ashton Kutcher has news for everyone: he’s a total brainiac, not unlike Steve Jobs! The whole time he was playing dumb bro characters in sitcoms like That 70′s Show and Two and a Half Men and tweeting clueless riffs on sensitive news stories, he was actually acting.
Mi Casa Es Su Casa
Airbnb had a good year, and the company wants everyone to know it. Today the site released a beautifully designed series of stats touting its progress over the last year. Listings are at 300,000, up from 120,000 at the start of 2012. The platform has served 3 million guests in 2012 alone, even as the company opened 11 new offices and launched in nine new markets.
The presentation also cites heartwarming stories like that of Jörg, a former West German guard on the Berlin Wall who took a trip and found the man who’d served as his double on the East German side. It wraps up with a triumphant declaration: “192 countries. Thousands of neighborhoods. Millions of users. One community.” The background: A photo of two people hugging.
What you won’t see amid all this glowing good feeling: Any mention of fines or legal troubles, which haven’t exactly been magicked away just yet.
Airbnb and Me
Airbnb greatly values design, and for good reason. Fugly old Craigslist’s primacy in New York apartment rentals notwithstanding, most people don’t want to rent a room using a website that looks like a social network for serial killers.
But could it be that CEO Brian Chesky perhaps overestimates the power of design just a tad?
Airbnb and Me
Today at a press event in San Francisco, travel startup Airbnb announced Airbnb Neighborhoods, a guide to help travelers decide which neighborhood best matches their interests and vacation style. Deemed “the definitive guide to experiencing neighborhoods” by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, users can click on different tags relating to the cities to help better acquaint them with local neighborhoods; in London, for example, you can click on “museums” and it will pull up the neighborhoods and rentals closest to museums.
Not all of us can afford luxurious yachts on which to sunbathe and drink Moet and count our jewels, no matter how hard we wish to be Captain Larry Ellison. But a new startup in Athens, Greece wants to help everyone feel like a glamorous seafarer, if only for a day.