Any review, negative or neutral, runs the risk of damaging AirBnB, too many negative reviews might have the effect where AirBnB has to address the allegations, when it's much easier to just keep making money off of the bad host and ignoring negative experiences.
I feel less likely to rent an AirBnB because of this article, simply by the fact that there is more than one negative review placed off-site.
They don't want to deal with it; you are just a number, always have been. DO NOT post negative reviews with your real name
I left a bad review (my first). Two days later I received a convoluted message from support, telling me that my review was incorrect and wouldn't be published, because it pointed out "things the property owner couldn't change".
This is sinister, but funny at the same time. If the property is dirty it can be cleaned. But if, for example, it has walls so thin you can hear the neighbors breathing, or the slope of the bathroom is in the wrong direction and water flows into the bedroom every time one takes a shower, you can't say that in a review! Because it "can't be changed".
I learned from that experience that AirBnb reviews can't be trusted, and "superhost" doesn't mean anything (except the power to kill bad reviews).
I haven't been to an AirBnb since; the best properties are very often on Booking.com as well, and those which aren't, are questionable.
I've been shouting that from the rooftops for a couple of years. I discovered that same thing happened to me, but without the support comment above. Then I discovered in the Airbnb subreddit, hosts telling each other that to remove a bad review it's easy, just show something in the review you can't change. Bingo.
You know what, F Airbnb. Anyway the cleaning and service fee add ons make it more expensive than a hotel, and with 0 flexibility to cancel or reschedule.
As a traveler, it's those things I want to know about. Not whether they did or didn't swipe the floor six months ago...
But presumably this is not something which is policy because it would lower the price of relevant properties which presumably affects airbnb's revenue as well.
This kind of behaviour should somehow be regulated in a similar way to advertising - if they're intentionally hiding negative information while posing as a place to reliably inform you about your stay based on the experiences of others (which is what "review" implies) then they're misleading you for profit. What they're actually running is a mislabelled testimonials section. It distorts the market by actively preventing people from accurately assessing the property's utility to them.
Can you imagine not being able to find out the exact location of a hotel until you book?
It could probably be automated too.
AirBNB will agree and remove the review.
User reviews are such a wonderful thing -- until companies figured out it's more profitable to hide negative reviews and just sell people crappy products.
Booking.com is the worst in my experience, and it makes me sad to hear that Airbnb isjust as bad...
As an example, Aliens Colonial Marines was literally unplayable, filled with bugs, and generally got a 48/100. To me that should be a middling game not literal unplayable garbage.
You want to look for new reviews (fake reviewers are active in waves, only for as long as they are paid), even if they are bad, read them and see what people dislike.
The only way to warn others without risking your account is by posting a reasonably high rating and a seemingly positive review that obscures how horrible the place is.
"Convenient if you drive a car, otherwise you'll want to rely on cabs since walking one way might take 30+ minutes. Lovely staff, make sure to ask about reception hours since they may not always be as advertised. Perfect bed if you like a hard mattress and aren't too tall (say less than 6 ft). Got a bit itchy in the morning, probably my skin allergies. Some roach sightings but they are everywhere in this price range right?"
This will stand out among all the paid 5 star reviews with two words and three grammatical errors.
The good thing about booking.com reviews is that you must have to have stayed at a property to leave a review.
Sure, that can also be gamed, but the risk is significantly lower that a review is outright dodgy.
Luckily I could book another hotel, even though it was holiday season.
I'd guess that they would be very unhappy about such behavior and eventually drop the property.
For what it's worth: I booked 100s of stays on booking.com (virtually always hotel rooms) and never ran into an issue.
Slightly off-topic, but this statement reminds me that it’s not just “profit motives”. I deal with third-party customer services (my clients work with third-party b2c who markets to customers, and my client fulfills the orders) a lot. Each company has a slightly different culture and structure. All have front line customer service for merchants, but it can take months to get through to higher levels of support—if at all.
Front line say yes yes yes but nothing is fixed or remedied. The only obvious recourse is to leave the platform.
Profit, yes. But also structure and roles of employees you are allowed to speak with who have no power for remedy, or incentive to be rational actors.
Maybe that’s a good use for AI. It could Calibrate itself to each persons “taste” and filter the world for them. Instead of making users rely on fake metrics like “stars” or hidden clues like the presence/absence of neon lights, or some quality in their logo to signal what type of establishment it is…this signalling/filtering could be done for them virtually.
Looks like the property count is not infinite, so many of them will accrue negative reviews with time.
So rental companies demonstrate to us they only care about their own livelihood and not about the quality of the product they provide.
Expedia/Hotels.com prevented me from publishing a negative review and made it impossible even to edit it (to supposedly meet their "review guidelines").
I also had terrible experience with Airbnb due to fake host review.
So yeah - just use Booking.com. Most apartments are there anyway.
At this point I have had enough of this. Trustpilot does this also and tries to conceal it with me not providing enough information.
The only times I have not received a guest review from a host on AirBnB is when I have left a 4 star review (instead of 5.)
The net result of this is that more properties have more 5 star reviews and so do more guests.
I left a bad review. They just deleted it saying it was against their TOS.
"Cancelled day-of booking"
I thought this was true, but disingenuous because I had also cancelled the day it was booked, but airbnb refused to intervene. I ended up creating a new account.
It'd have to be properly moderated, and vetted for having actually stayed there (automate with Google/Apple timeline?), but it could be very valuable.
How about warning other customers?
Just don't use your real name.
And by increasing the number of dishonest reviews, you are warning customers that you can't trust user reviews and there's no actual way of having actually verified reviews (e.g. Amazon brushing).
Be a bot. Become one with the dead internet. I don't even know if this comment was written by my hand or by GPT-3. Who am I?
And using a fake name is not a great solution because there’s often enough circumstantial data to tie a person to a review, whether that be metadata or even just the content of the review itself.
Further, the more everyone does honestly review, the more outrage occurs if that process is interfered with. The less acceptable it becomes to maliciously go after an honest review.
Airbnb should understand this. If no one dares to give bad reviews, there won't be any way to filter out bad hosts, which make people in general have much worse experiences (not to mention attracting more bad hosts), which make people use AirBnb less.
It is simple. If the answer to the question: "How would it be if everybody acted like me?" is "It would be worse", this means you are acting in a way that makes society worse for your own advantage.
That is, when he asks "What if everybody lied?", what he's getting at isn't that it'd suck if you couldn't even ask for the time and get the right answer, but that it'd destroy the concept of truth, and with that what does "lying" even mean?
Kant answered the specific scenario of "What if the Gestapo wants to know if you're hiding any Jews?" (his actual scenario was with a murderer looking for a victim, since Nazis weren't a thing yet), and said that yup, you do not lie, because to him the morality of an action is unrelated to its likely consequences.
If there were a fund (assume a spherical, frictionless, voluntary society) that was the only way to feed the hungry, everyone should donate to it. Unfortunately it's set up by an evil game master, and one in ten thousand donations is answered with a bullet to the spine.
Of course the categorical imperative says we should do it anyway. I wouldn't. You wouldn't. Rational defection on bad payoff matrices is correct behavior.
Just to be abundantly clear, I offered no advice. I simply offered a clarification to the comment I replied to, with my assumption of what they meant.
I most certainly do not get a positive feeling when watching someone recommend just keeping your mouth shut because "there's no point leaving a review"
Have Airbnb become the corporate mafia or something?
Did anyone say that? I know I didn't.
The parent I was replying to (and simply to offer clarification on what they might have meant) said:
>This is wise.
In reply to the suggestion of using a fake name to leave a negative review.
>Have Airbnb become the corporate mafia or something?
I'm not sure how this follows from what I commented? I don't have a reply.
Booked a hotel. When we got there, it was abandoned! Host unresponsive. Clearly a scam. Reported it to Airbnb, and after some back and forth we got our money back (pretty quickly tbf). We naturally left a bad review, warning others.
But then the host left us a bad review, despite never even meeting us or interacting with us in any way! We complained to Airbnb and of course, they "saw nothing that violates their review policy"... Diabolical.
I am sure that that listing is probably still up.
My story: used AirBnb perhaps three or four times. Always got good reviews from hosts. Months pass without me using it at all. They're emailing me from their marketing lists, no signs of any issues, so I know I was active in their system despite not using it. A few months later I go to log in, discover I'm banned.
So I write to their support. Why am I banned? It can't be for bad behavior because I'm literally not interacting with their service at all. "We can't tell you that for policy reasons". That's the end of it. Cause of ban: literally nothing.
Presumably it was something like an IP address I used was also used by someone who got banned, or some script that ran amok. My GF got banned because she rather foolishly let a friend use her account and then that friend hosted a party in an apartment, but that's her, not me. Can't think of anything else that could have caused it beyond being clustered. The weird thing is, whilst that kind of screwup is understandable for something like a free webmail account where the users are all anonymous, AirBnb requires identity documents!
I only booked via AirBnB once, but I am quite convinced now that this will be the only time. I don't want to rely on a system that can just do what they want without transparency.
Reality is that a platform like AirBnB should care about both sides - sellers and buyers. Sure, sellers generate the revenue, but without buyers nothing is sold and the platform is not interesting.
As a customer and hotel guest, it never made sense for me to not pay for quality control. So I will continue to pay Hilton/IHG/Hyatt/Marriott/Choice/etc. Not that all those brands have amazing quality control at all times, but at least there is some effort to use human labor to do something.
Yet there's plenty of stories of buyers getting banned for trivial TOS infractions. But when a host is essentially scamming people, nothing happens.
Unfortunately, many companies only understand the language of threats and lawsuits.
- We are jailing you
- The jail term is forever
- There's no defense
- There's no appeal
- We won't tell you what we think you did
"What's Kafkaesque ... is when you enter a surreal world in which all your control patterns, all your plans, the whole way in which you have configured your own behavior, begins to fall to pieces, when you find yourself against a force that does not lend itself to the way you perceive the world." 
The Trial is an awesome book.
They use a combination of browser fingerprinting and IP address for identification, but you can still create a new account and access it via VPN.
It's just not really worth it except in a few rare cases when you want to ask a specific sub a narrow question.
The main subs have lost all meaningful quality.... Even the larger tech subs like sysadmin are garbage now
Now, if I want to register a new account with a new e-mail and phone number, I also need to show my ID and get banned immediately.
In 2012 my PayPal account was deleted after one of my clients reverted payment after getting source material. After contacting PayPal and telling them that I would go to court with that. After just seconds, I was signed out of an account, and it was gone. Nothing was associated with my e-mail address... :-)
In the end, most likely every company does something like that. Maybe not on such a scale, but...
You should never ever say that!
You either act, or you don't, but you don't "threaten".
If you act (court), and then they act (deletion), it becomes a retaliation, which in itself is illegal - and therefore will not happen so easily.
Retaliation is not illegal.
I really do wonder what happens when someone uploads a fake ID. Can they catch that (after all, the check is probably automatic in most instances since they don't have the personell), and if they do, would they try to take that person to court?
Just block out the ID numbers and all and how will they identity?
I think we're very near the point where a system can change letters and numbers on a moving ID in a video, if we're not there already. (And if one is patient enough, and the video is short enough, it's not impossible to do it by hand.)
I got somewhat blindsided and I needed the service, so I complied. The alternative would be to show up in the cell operator shop and show the employee your ID. I find it even somewhat nice that I was able to register online at all.
It's mandated by Swiss law. Cell service operators must identify their customers by ID. You know, south of Switzerland is Italy and sometimes the honorable crowd is trying to put up bases here or already did. It's also a fight against money laundering.
Re your suggestion to tamper with the video: be careful, it's illegal. You don't know whether the hologram or other features encode the identification number. If you get caught it can get expensive.
I wonder how they would react if everyone would start trolling Airbnb and Facebook by submitting photoshopped IDs :D
Good point about the holograms. But since public companies are verifying them -- and not the gov't -- the information what is on them must be public as well. Heck, I'm even willing to bet someone in this crowd might be working for such a company and might know the answer.
And if the info is out there it can be photoshopped (or tampered with via AI, stable diffusion ID generation, my next weekend project maybe haha ;)
Ok, returning to more serious matters (that before waa a joke BTW), the only ethical way of verifying an ID would be an eyes-only approach, where you only show your ID to an employee, no copies being taken (this requires Airbnb to habe offices everywhere, which is not feasible they would claim). Then you'd use your ID to generate a number that can't be tracked back to your ID, akin to how datasets are anonymized. That way all the company knows is that a certain string of numbers identifies a semi-unique person. I have heard the German postal office had implemented such a system once, so it could be done actually.
One can see this on a large spectrum: taking away abortion, not selling alcohol, and lately forcing people to ID themselves for a measly Facebook profile - people will just resort to the black market to get these things anyway. This cat and mouse game is as old as time.
These days I guess you'd actually need to actively change the ID numbers.
But this is definitely something they can't do at scale, since their whole operation is set up to work at scale by automation.
So with high probability I'd guess not having an account is the worst.
But I may be wrong, maybe someone more knowledgeable can chime in.
The truth is, FB demands an ID but they have no real right or basis for making this demand.
I left her one star review and very small tip.
Next day I got message that my account suspended. It took me entire day but eventually I found out that she wrote complaint to company that my wife and I physically assaulted her during ride. And based on her word alone it was enough to permanently ban me
No tip says "I am an asshole"
Very small tip says "You are an asshole/incompetent"
It is a deliberate insult.
And who cares if an asshole thinks you're an asshole? If someone is a complete asshole to you for no good reason, don't reward them. This is giving them way too much space to live inside your head. It smacks of a guilty conscience on the part of the victim when it should be the other way around. But in the absence of that, the least you can do is spend your money on people who will do better with it.
There are many shades between someone who is grumpy, having a bad day, in the weeds, maybe doesn't smile but still brings your food and gets the job done well (I've been this person), vs someone that directly insults you while bringing it cold after clearly ignoring you for a prolonged period (I've had this happen to me–guess what? No tip for you!).
I look at the converse situation the same way. I get pissed when places bend over backwards to accommodate customers who clearly are assholes and exploit the fact that corporates will hand out gift cards, regardless of the absurdity of the complaint or the inappropriateness of their behavior. Why would you invite someone like that back?
Signed, waiter in America for 7 years. I was stiffed twice in that time, once by an entire family that skipped the entire bill, the other by a rowdy table I had to cut off from alcohol who then threatened to shoot me after my shift. Once or twice I had some foreign tourists tip me like 4%. Even then, I averaged maybe 19% tips over the entire tenure. Everywhere from dives to white linen tables with 4 different glasses and forks; chains and indie. Never more than $2.13/hr salary.
I've never heard what parent poster said. But now that I have, I must say that I didn't think the foreign tourists thought I was an asshole or incompetent, as everything went swimmingly between us, and I also didn't think they were assholes. I worked with a ton of people who complained plenty about that kind of thing, profiled people, etc. I still wonder to this day whether the family that skipped had some sort of emergency to tend to. It sucked at the time, I wound up having to pay it out of pocket, but in the end I made bank overall. C'est la vie.
That's all to say, the world isn't so black and white, learn how to spot outliers on either side of the average, and reward the good and disincentivize the bad as best as you can. And don't get too caught up in what you think assholes' opinions of you might be.
I don't understand such (American?) tipping system
Of course, very convenient to state that they don't, or that the "owner" doesn't pay them the mandated difference if their tips don't add up to minimum wage, etc.
Instead of just cancelling the ride, he reported me for being maskless in order to get a free cancellation that didn't hurt his driver profile. When I wrote Uber Support to explain I was wearing a mask (and had completed a mask-photo before I could request my next ride), they lectured me on mask-wearing and essentially accused me of lying. Note that I have a 4.9 star rating over 5,000+ Uber rides, so it's not like I'm an infrequent customer or repeat trouble maker.
No need for a ban, I'm outta this hellhole.
When I get frustrated by inexplicable behavior of strangers, Hanlon's Razor helps a little distancing myself and limit the pain brooding about it would cause...
"Non masked rider" is probably a way of getting a fee back or invalidating a bad review or something.
The more you question this norm, the higher the likelihood for change to more healthy business practice.
I am sure they would be all for a $15/hour minimum wage, as long as tips were still on the table. However, $15/hour and “we don’t accept tips” sign…you would get a big nope. I doubt you could convince them that it would be better for them to earn $300 for their 20 hours of work.
In Europe we are still tipping, but the waiters do not depend on it. This is a much sweeter situation if you ask me, voluntary good service, vs. forced good service, when you have to worry about rent for the next month.
The question of should their employer pay them more per hour? Well, I think the market does a pretty good job of managing that, especially now that in many places in the country restaurants are having a hard time finding the help they need. If I need a server, and my offer is I’ll guarantee them at least $10/hour…that is going to attract workers to me over the restaurant next door offering only $7.5/ hour. If I am fully staffed with good servers, I can attract the customers who will pay my tip earners for me compared to the place next door with lousy service.
I was like.....but surely.....the whole idea of a tip is to reward good service, right? If the service was bad, then why would you tip?
I still think about it sometimes. It's like the whole idea of tipping "maybe" started with good intentions(rewarding good service) but now transformed into some kind of idiotic virtue signalling(because at the end of the day, what if we look like jerks for not tipping? literally none of us will ever enter this restaurant again, the only thing we achieved by tipping was rewarding bad service, nothing more nothing less).
Unfortunately, minimum wage laws in the US have exemptions for workers who are expected to make most of their money through tips, which means that most restaurants pay them well under the "minimum". The question I'd ask in this situation isn't whether the service was good, but whether it was so bad that I think the employees involved don't deserve to even get paid minimum wage. I've yet to ever come to the conclusion that no tip is deserved, and in practice I struggle to think of any circumstance in which the service could be bad enough to deserve that. I guess if I was actually physically harmed due to malicious intent or something then it would maybe warrant that, but I don't think I'd realistically stick around to even eat in that case.
But ensuring the minimum wage is paid should be the responsibility of the employer, not some random customer. Everything is backwards here.
Minimum wage is still the floor. The restaurant has to pay the difference if they are under.
No waiter would accept minimum wage in lieu of tips. This is all bogus talk.
Not sure what the real point of this is but I wish people remembered that in the restaurant hierarchy servers are nowhere near the bottom.
Some folks are making around minimum wage anyway, and some employers steal tips. At least a steady wage gets you something easier to fall back on.
It should be said that minimum wage is low enough that fast food often pays more. So yes, you are correct that minimum wage isn't competitive enough. You'd have to pay more.
Few might trade tips for minimum wage, but trading tips for a steady income? Sure. No more getting shafted. No more getting stuck with low-tipping shifts because someone else is more liked by the manager (folks get punished with low-tip-earning shifts). Customers won't be able to have so much leverage over you because they will no longer be directly responsible for your week's wages.
Not if the wait-person believes that their low pay + tips averages out to a good amount more than the steady income would.
some restaurants have slow days, and the waitstaff doesn't have a choice. They get minimum wage because there are no tips, or there are so few customers as to make the tips meaningless vs the hours spent.
Actually you just made it bogus, by bringing up a strawman argument. Who mandates that waiters should only be paid minimum wage? Or that they would have to yield tips in exchange for a fixed wage?
Unless of course you think people who are bad servers don't deserve to make minimum wage.
I think that it shouldn't be the customers responsibility to even know what the server is making, and logically it shouldn't be their responsibility to make sure they are paid X or Y. You come in, order food, pay for the food, leave. The business owner should be responsible to keep their employees compensated well enough that they don't want to leave.
But like I said in another comment - the situation in US is a result of literally decades of social conditioning, where the population has been told by business owners that it's their(customers) responsibility to make sure that service workers are compensated well enough to not be in poverty, and it's your personal responsibility to tip or the person will starve.
It's gotten to the point where people make this argument in absolute earnest, and truly believe what they say, like it's the most obvious thing in the world. It really is a marvel of social engineering, and a boon for American businesses I'm sure.
>>because even though things didnt meet your expectations doesn't mean you should take advantage of the fact that the state makes it legal to pay servers only $2 an hour
That actually furthers my point above - the side taking advantage of $2 minimum wage is the employer, not the customer.
> It's gotten to the point where people make this argument in absolute earnest
Because the way the pay works at the moment is the way the pay works at the moment, and we tip based on that. The fact that people believe the pay _shouldn't_ work that way is no excuse for not tipping your wait staff at all _today_.
> That actually furthers my point above - the side taking advantage of $2 minimum wage is the employer, not the customer.
Not really, at least not in most cases. If tips went away and the employer paid more, the prices of the meals would go up to compensate. The restaurant owners aren't making more money because of the current system; most of them aren't making a large profit. The owners aren't paying sub-minimum wage because they want to pocket the difference; they're doing it because to do otherwise would drive them out of business (because their competition is also doing it). You need to change the rules for everyone in order for almost anyone to do better.
There are so many instances where the government allows people to be exploited here in America. If youre taking advantage of that and exploiting them -- you are a part of the problem -- it is that simple.
The only side expliting anyone here is the employers exploiting their employees. It's that simple. But we don't have to agree on this.
>> If you disagree with tipping then dont go to a restaraunt in a state that requires it.
Like I said in my comment above, I was only visiting America - and I did tip while I was there, for your information.
>> Your self righteous arguments fall on deaf ears of people who work for tips and have to put up with jerks like you.
All I have done so far is made my arguments here on HN, not sure that deserves being called a jerk.
Why should the responsibility of paying a bonus (a tip) to the server fall on the customer? Why shouldn't the business be held responsible for paying them the bonus? As someone from Europe, I find it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that it is somehow customer's responsibility to pay them a bonus/tip even if there has been a bad service. In my mind it should clearly be the responsibility of the business to pay them what they deserve.
Sorry for being obstuse but I still don't understand. How as a customer I would know whether the place where I ate at is paying less than minimum wage or not?
Can one really claim that when, in the same breath, one also claims tips are near-mandatory?
What this situation actually means is that the business entices you in with a low price in the menu, but that price is only tangentially related to the amount I end up paying when it comes time to pay. The thing that is "lower" is not the amount of money that leaves my wallet at the end of the meal, and I am never told up front what that total will be. This is actually true of most transactions in the US, because taxes also work in a similar fashion.
Elsewhere, the norms are different. In some places, when, as a customer, you see a price for goods and services, that is exactly the amount of money you pay; it is the responsibility of whoever is setting the price to set it at an appropriate level so they can appropriately compensate whatever third parties they need to compensate. In other places, the norm might be to haggle; but even there you know what the agreed total will be before you receive the goods or services.
That said, the US approach is actually not entirely an unfamiliar experience to Europeans: budget airlines operate on the same principle of "quote low price up front then the customer pays way more at the end for things that are technically but not really optional" here - and we hate those just as much.
Instead the state and the restaurant should take advantage of you and the employee?
You say this as a bad thing, as if basically every other country doesn't do this?
No but I do think the establishment has the responsibility to list the actual price of services rendered
Of course this is coming from an European, so the whole tipping culture is foreign to me.
It's not my job to fix laws and it's not my job to make sure a person has a good wage.
Once you use this definition, everything becomes much simpler.
Only if use a similar newspeak definition for "simpler".
I wouldn’t say the IK really has a tipping culture. We do it in restaurants occasionally, especially ones where drinking is a big part of it, but nobody will get annoyed if you don’t. My daughters work part time waitressing at a restaurant near us that’s pretty expensive and sells a lot of cocktails and such, and they sometimes come home with £30 in tips.
On the continent it used to be required. Waiters at cafes would get very upset if you didn’t tip, or didn’t tip enough. The guys that helped with luggage at hotels too. Then it just stopped. You still can and some do, but the passive aggressive pressure just went, everywhere as far as I can tell.
My friends and I still leave tips when service is exceptionally good.
Do Americans apply the same logic to other areas of life?
If your plumber comes over and messes up the installation completely so you have water leaking every time you use a shower, do you still pay them full price for the service? After all maybe they just had a bad day, and that shouldn't condemn them to poverty?
Of course I'm reducing it to some absurdity, but to adress your argument in seriousness - it's incredible to me that American businesses managed to successfully shift the perception of responsibility to you(customers) rather than business owners. It's a result of decades of conditioning and being told that it's up to YOU, the customer, to make sure our employees are not "condemed to poverty". It's a feat of social engineering really.
This is a wrong analogy. If the plumber came in pissed off and was swearing all the time but got the job done then yes I would pay. Would probably not call him again if I was that bothered.
If I got served uncooked food I would not pay, but if the waiter was rude and I had to wait long I'll still tip them - less then I would otherwise.
And context is a lot here as well - if I see the place is packed and there's like two people doing a shift I can understand they are stressed out and I'm waiting longer cause it's super busy.
Am European and honestly feel like tipping vs not tipping says more about you than it does about the service. When I see someone penny counting at the restaurant it usually makes me think less about them. I don't like socialising with miserly people (if I think you have the money to cover it, naturally). Depends on the setting too, if it's just grabbing lunch at the cafeteria then I just pay by card and usually don't tip, but when it's a social thing then yeah - it's a luxury thing you do and share with others.
Dining out simply isn’t just about being fed. The restaurant can’t just say “hey you consumed the calories, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!”
If I have a bad experience, I’m being stiffed by the establishment. I mean think what else is baked into the food’s sticker price: restaurant decor, music, ambiance, etc. Those are things you’re paying for. It’s why the price of food is higher than the grocery store.
On the other hand I don't go to normal restaurants to get entertained by waiters, and they have to be pretty terrible to cross the threshold where they are affecting my experience to the point where I'd leave (failing their purpose like the plumber example).
That's all good but why does this logic apply to the customers and not the business owners?
Which is brilliant, because 1. they are able to show "discounted" food prices on the menu, with the expectation that the customer will end up paying an extra 20% in tip and x% in taxes on top of it 2. they can pay their staff less than they would have to otherwise.
The consumer gets screwed. The staff gets screwed. The business owner does ok, but the restaurant industry is pretty rough anyway, so it's unclear if they're laughing all the way to the bank anyway.
I'm starting to feel very strongly about this. Not just about AirBnB but about every part where tech is pervasive that it becomes a monopoly (or close to it).
There has to be some balance between keeping malicious actors off the platform and the responsibility to not fuck peoples lives up (AirBnB is far from the worst offender).
Examples: Ebay & Etsy that people run microbusinesses on. Google locking people out of email with no ability to recover. Paypal freezing money indefinitely. The list goes on.
I live my life out of AirBnBs (and to a lesser extent booking.com -> aparthotels) and have had the complete gamut of hosts and properties. Losing access to AirBnB would be problematic to say the least.
The reason is not that these companies do something that other companies can't do. For example AirBnB is just a CRUD database with a website that connects demand and supply. Anybody could build it, I bet some HNers even in a weekend :)
So there must be anticompetitive practices going on. Or consumers are lazy and only visit the company that has the most offerings, thereby creating a vicious cycle.
Scaling a two-sided market app is hard. You have to carefully increase the number of sellers and buyers together. If it gets too lopsided in either direction, people get frustrated and give up.
AirBnB, like Uber, also benefited from a bunch of earned media because the idea seemed novel at the time. Reporters were interested in the concept. These days a competitor would need to spend like crazy on paid media to grow mindshare, or have some new twist that interests reporters.
The value is in the data, not the software. They have hundreds of thousands of properties on their platform ready to accept bookings - that takes a lot of legwork to produce. Same thing for Uber.
You could build it and start rolling it out locally in your town, but do you think a) you could convince a solid number of hosts to use your platform, and b) that people visiting your town would use your (unknown) platform rather than the "safe bets" of airbnb or vrbo? If you can solve those problems, go for it; once you conquer your first locale, hire some salespeople and expand to the next geography.
I was thinking more at the level of the economy. How can we fix this nasty bug in the free market so the best service wins, not the one with the most users?
Edit: VRBO should be removed from above list since Expedia owns it.
I did get VRBO wrong though, they should have been omitted since they are owned by Expedia.
Thousands of hotels and AirBnB hosts etc. are one level below and compete in a different market.
Perhaps for casual sellers looking to earn rental income on a part time basis, their only two options of easily reaching many people are Airbnb and Priceline (booking.com), but I am not sure how much of society’s concern that should be.
The problem is that for most people, airbnb.com is the search engine.
I'm now a Lifetime Diamond at Hilton Hotels, and use Lyft when I need to rideshare.
At the time I didn't realise she had used the wrong email address, and frankly it didn't occur to me because usually sites need you to click a link in the email to verify.
She also couldn't remember her password so we were in a catch 22 situation. I couldn't reset the password because all password resets went to the wrong email and I couldn't change her email without knowing the password.
Incredibly Airbnb could not (not would not - it was impossible for them to) fix it.
After 3/4 days of panic (a guest was due to stay at her house and she couldn't communicate with the guest or even set up bank details) I managed to find a password she'd previously used and was able to login and change the associated email address.
I'm still amazed that Airbnb allows for user error and is unable to fix it at their end once they have established identity etc.
How is that possible, since they send an email to your address before confirming your account?
It wasn't always like that. They used to verify only your phone number.
I wonder if the dilemma is on both sides (I think it is), meaning hosts are actually incentivised to leave bad reviews on their patrons _if they are a bad host_ as a means of defense.
We had a similar experience to this article where the host left a fabricated negative review.
Oh they cite it, but it's all about cost savings. Customer service costs. By refusing to interact, a platform like airbnb saves into 7, likely 8 figures easily.
Abusers/scammers always, always know why they are banned. It doesn't help a bit to not-disclose. A google search will turn up the why of it too.
The real gain here is fiscal.
I'm beginning to think that the only response here is legislative. Make it illegal to cancel accounts without a full rendition as to why, and evidence to validate the same. Essentially, statements of "you broke the ToS" turn into "here's how you broke our ToS".
And most importantly, the ability to challenge the evidence.
To make it easy on small corps, maybe there should be a corp-size requirement. Lots of stuff (fiscal duties, for example) change over a certain size.
Very good course of action, assuming you can go viral.
What is the purpose of half-heartedly censoring the word "fuckwits", when it is immediately obvious to everyone what you are saying?
- HN doesn't ban users, or stop comments from being posted if they contain the word fuck.
- If you have moral objections to saying/writing fuck, then why even use it in the first place? Why not say something else?
- You are not sparing anyone else from the word, because we are all filling in the blanks automatically even if we don't want to.
So please tell me why you did it. I cannot think of a reason.
But Cunningham, who believes the company only acted “because the story got so much attention,” says he hasn’t used his account since its reactivation. He believes the company sees its customers as “data points” rather than individuals. “If somebody is showing in their policies that they really don’t care about the individual, I think it’s just a really dangerous thing,” he said.
“He was removed by mistake,” the Airbnb spokesman told MarketWatch when asked about Cunningham’s case. “We reinstated his account and apologized to him for the inconvenience.”
A heartfelt apology with some conciliatory gesture would be the absolute minimum after such injust horror story. But no. All rbnb did judging from this, is damage control of the viral story, and they even failed at that.
I'd rather stay at a best western than an airbnb 99% of the time, and policies like the above are part of it.