Airbnb mess tests web-connected trust

Credit: flickr/Saucy Salad

The clever Web service Airbnb more or less leads the market putting together those looking to find space for travelers with those looking to stay in private residences rented out by owners looking to make a few bucks. (Couchsurfing fans exempted). You list your house or apartment and Airbnb finds someone to pay your rate for your space. Airbnb handles some of the messy details.

Unless the messy detail is that your guest trashes your place and steals your valuables. Such is the issue for an unnamed blogger using the tag EJ who rented her San Francisco apartment via Airbnb for a week in June. She detailed the damage in her blog Around the World and Back Again.

Most are horrified her apartment and trust were so abused. Most are amazed Airbnb hasn't dealt with this before (unless they were able to cover it up). Many believe the Web is a less trusting place after than it was before. Others point out the total lack of photographs of the damage, and the lack of identity for the blogger who claimed to be the victim.

Remember hotels?

What? It is not a great idea to let strangers stay in your house? Shocking.

John McCrea on

My concern with the service is the safety issue. When I use a hotel, at least I know they have a significant financial interest in maintaining a safe environment. What happens when some jerkoff doesn't have a smoke detector in his apartment. I think that is more likely than some psychopath.

Random Guy on

This sounds like a hit piece. Most of the blag is devoted to trashing airbnb, when the real nexus of what went wrong here is 1) owner had no insurance and 2) bad renters. This is anybody but airbnb's fault. Mark my words, this was done by the hotel lobbies, someone needs to dig into this person. Dig deep enough and I suspect you will find the connection to the very powerful hotel world.

Ben Cannon on

Airbnb should have prepared for this better

Awful experience! I have friends who have used airbnb without a problem. It seems like at the very least, they need to revamp some security procedures and find a way to confirm someone's identity.

Jillian on

Roomorama provides security for its community by: 1. Putting ALL new hosts through a validation process so we can verify they are legitimate. 2. When a guest books, we always get a signature on a guest agreement and a copy of ID to make sure the charge was authorized by the cardholder. 3. We advise hosts to take a security deposit when guests check-in to protect against losses or damages. 4. We advise hosts to check IDs when they get last minute bookings to verify the ID matches the person checking in.

nicolerr43 on

I think this creates a great business opportunity for a company called who will basically track down people who do things like this and settle the score.

SonsofAnarchy on

Have you ever met an insurance salesperson?

I have full confidence in the insurance industry's ability to find a way to finagle a deal of this sort if there are enough zeros behind the dollar sign.

wheels on
There would be plenty of large insurers happy to insure AirBnB hessenwolf on

Word to the wise: Use a professional Property Management company that carries insurance and protect yourself. This will become a trend on AirBnB.

Anonymous on

When reading this story, do you think A) revenge first, B) nobody gets in my home, or C) time for my business plan insuring airbnb?

ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon