Don’t Blame the Medium : The AirBnB Episode
A lady rented out her apartment to another person using the site AirBnB, a site that helps home owners rent out an extra room or the entire house to a guest who is willing to pay. So, look at this as a commercial version of Couchsurfing.com.
Problem erupted when the house owner returned to find her house completely ransacked. She blogged about it and this started an avalanche of bad press for AirBnB, a company that has raised $120 million in funding at over a billion dollar valuation.
A quick look at the news about the news reveals that almost every news item points its accusing finger at AirBnB.
Here’s my take on this. AirBnB is a platform that connects hosts with guests. Its as much a responsibility of the host to do background check on the guest before letting out her home.
I feel that AirBnB is getting a raw deal here because they are a funded company. And there is money involved in the entire process. I know a few incidents that have happened at CouchSurfing.com and The Hospitality Network. I don’t see such a huge outcry against these sites because these sites are free and they work on trust. Hence, people have much lower expectations.But when you pay money to stay at somebody’s house like in AirBnB, you go in with certain expectations and anything that falls below will tick off people.
I mean, if a marriage happens via Shaadi.com or BharathMatrimony.com and the marriage sours up, would you blame the site? If you bought an item after watching a TV commercial and you are unhappy with the product, would you blame the TV channel? These are just mediums. You need to do your round of research, ask for recommendations, do background checks before you take the decision. Blaming the platform is stupid. You know whats even more stupider? Its creating a huge mountain from a molehill of a story.