When Lawyers Send Letters

The Attorney General of New York Has Subpoenaed Airbnb for Local Hosts’ User Data

Hi bub. (Photo by Chris Weeks/Getty Images for Airbnb)

Guess AirBnB’s legal headaches aren’t over just quite yet. The New York Daily News says that the state’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman (last seen busting up the fake Yelp review cartel), has subpoenaed user data for the 225,000 New Yorkers on Airbnb for all local hosts (the precise number isn’t clear).

He’s reportedly investigating violates of a 2010 state law against short-term apartment rentals. The idea is to go after those renting out to drunk French kids every weekend, but it’s not really clear where the line between “bad actor” and “power user” sits. Read More


Booting Up: Let’s All Watch Somebody Bypass Apple’s Supposedly Secure Fingerprint Sensor

Your dick works on this. (Photo: MacRumors)

Can you smell the excitement that is Advertising Week? Twitter can! It’s set to announce a flurry of television-related ad products as the company continues to tart itself up prior to going public. [Wall Street Journal]

Watching people hack into the new iPhone’s fingerprint sensor is the new unboxing video. [MacRumors]

AngelList, the casual connection meeting place between investors and entrepreneurs, raised $24 million. [Fortune]

Just like a real company, Airbnb has tapped an ad agency for an upcoming campaign. [AdAge]

The JOBS Act goes into effect today, allowing startups to ask for funding on social media and crowdfunding sites. [New York Times]

Airbnb and Me

Sorry, New York, But the South and West Are Whupping Us at Airbnb Hospitality

Charming as hell but kinda busy right now.  (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Let’s say you’d like to go on a little excursion, but only the most charming Airbnb hosts will suit your discerning tastes. In that case, according to numbers crunched by the company’s own resident data nerds, you’ll probably want to cast your eyes to the West or South.

Airbnb looked at the rates of five-star reviews from guests who stayed in private rooms, rather than renting a whole apartment or house. The top three cities: Tampa, Florida, Mendocino, California, and Eugene, Oregon. Also in the top ten were Raleigh, Nashville, Memphis and Lake Tahoe. “Conspicuously absent are big cities and the Northeast,” says Airbnb, adding that “in aggregate, they are outshined by our Southern and Western hosts.” Read More

Disrupt This

Airbnb Hiring ‘Heart Baker’ To Make Holistic Vegan Cronuts for Its Employees

Betabeat's patented system is way easier than making a cake. (Photo: myheartstaging.com)

Apartment sharing service Airbnb may have hit some legal snags in New York, but that isn’t stopping it from partying like a bubble times startup should. The company recently listed a position for “Heart Baker” on its jobs page, which is just culty startup speak for a regular baker. As in: someone to come into the office every day and bake desserts for the company’s no-doubt starving employees. Because who wants to hustle without a belly full of vegan cake? Read More

When Lawyers Send Letters

Airbnb Goes to the Mattresses on Behalf of Busted Host

airbnb sexy ad

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: Read More

Airbnb and Me

NYC Judge Rules Airbnb Stay Illegal, Fines Host $2,400

(Photo: Airbnb)

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. Read More


Booting Up: Everybody’s Got an Opinion About the Tumblr-Yahoo Deal

Mr. Karp (via livestream.com)

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

Airbnb Is Gonna Need to See Some ID, Ma’am

Not so fast, buster.

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. Read More