New Study Claims Airbnb Is Fudging Its Numbers

Airbnb, arguably the most famous symbol of the sharing economy, has a court date with the New York State Attorney General in March. Meanwhile, a new report has evidence that Airbnb is fudging its numbers relevant to a key issue in the case.
February 14, 2014, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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According to Airbnb’s ongoing public relations efforts, many of the people who rent through the service aren’t running a business operation, but they also say its hard to quantify exactly how their users are profiting from the service—and that’s expected to be a central argument when New York examines the legality of Airbnb’s business model.

Jason Clampet, writing for a website called Skift and using the data crunching services of Connotate, however, has found evidence that “the vast majority of the platform's hosts in New York appear to be people who are absent from their apartments or the apartments that they manage when guests appear.”

Recently Airbinb told Skift that “87 percent of Airbnb hosts in New York share only the home in which they live.” But after crunching the numbers, Skift finds that “30% [of the platform’s rental inventory] comes from users who have posted more than one listing. This is made up of a mix of either one listing owned or leased by the person listing it and one other unit, or people who are renting multiple spaces on behalf of themselves or others.”

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Published on Thursday, February 13, 2014 in Skift
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