NYC Disrupts Disruptors

Airbnb Finally Adds a ‘Don’t Secretly Film Guests’ Policy

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Update: Airbnb has responded to our request for comment, which we’ve included in full at the bottom of this story.

Imagine you’re staying in an Airbnb, and you wake up in the morning to discover a discreet video camera. Has your host been recording you? Worse, what if you and your traveling companion were tearing up the sheets all night, and now your host has some guest porn on their hard drive? Is that even illegal?

In September, we examined how Airbnb had no policy that said you couldn’t film guests, or even a single mention of guest privacy in its hosting policies. Turns out, Airbnb quietly updated their policies shortly after our reporting. Read More

Airbnb

Airbnb’s Latest Subway Propaganda Reminds You That You Love, Support Airbnb

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Just about everyone in New York has seen the ads: “New Yorkers agree: Airbnb is great for New York City.” But apparently, the message wasn’t clear enough the first time around.

Airbnb has updated the campaign to be much more in-your-face and explicit. On many of the new ads, the smiling portraits of the lovely and diverse cast of Airbnb hosts have been scraped away for bold, white space and much bigger text. For anyone who didn’t get the message before — many New Yorkers we spoke to simply thought they were ads for Airbnb’s service — the message is much clearer. Read More

NYC Disrupts Disruptors

Hiding In Plain Sight: What Airbnb Doesn’t Want You To Know About Their New Lobbyists

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A few hundred people sat in the summer heat in Central Park last night, waiting for tickets for the Public’s opening night of their production of “King Lear,” when they were approached by a young woman with a clipboard.

“Would you like to sign a petition saying you support Airbnb in New York City?” she asked, going one by one.

“Support what, exactly?” asked the first person she approached.

“Oh, you know, like the service Airbnb provides, and just what we’re doing,” she said, obviously lacking an aggressive, prepared script.

One by one people signed a petition saying they supported “AirbnbNYC,” and why not? The vague, upbeat language — asking for an endorsement without a clear mission statement — seemed entirely unobjectionable. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Solange Knowles Seems Weirdly Obsessed With Airbnb

Ms. Knowles earlier this month. (Photo via Getty)

Every once in a while, you discover a new technology that’s so awesome, so amazing, you just can’t stop talking about it. You start to sound like a commercial advertising the product, but you don’t care; you just have to spread the gospel of Minibar or Snapchat or that app that helps you get laid on a flight.

Right now, Solange Knowles is apparently going through that annoying phase, and her tech obsession du jour is troubled home-sharing startup Airbnb.  Read More