Airbnb business tycoons

“There is a certain amount of liquidity that these big sellers inject into a market that can be very helpful for the market to grow quickly,” said Arun Sundararajan, professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University. who studies the sharing economy. me. Competition should also help reduce costs, which helps consumers. But these markets, he added, must “balance the short term by accelerating their growth while maintaining quality and, in a sense, stay true to what their consumers are looking for” – which could be the freedom of consumers. big banks, or the stupefying sterility of budget hotels.

Yet traders seem to pop up wherever the opportunity arises. Juliet Schor, a sociology professor at Boston College who studies the sharing economy for the MacArthur Foundation, said she discovered evidence of ad hoc temp agencies on TaskRabbit, an online marketplace for shopping and chores . For gigs like editing or proofreading, she said, people who score well on the site and receive a large number of requests sometimes outsource their work to others, taking a bit of the upper hand. for themselves.

Getting ahead on Airbnb is much easier – just sign multiple leases in desirable locations. Of course, this requires an initial investment and good financial sense. But once it’s up and running, an Airbnb rental network can become very lucrative. A 272 listing transaction recorded $ 6.8 million in revenue from 2010 to June of this year, according to the attorney general. The economic forces at play are similar to what the French economist Thomas Piketty discusses in his recent bestselling book, “Capital in the 21st Century”, only in miniature. In a slow-growing economy, Piketty argues, wealth offers better returns than labor, so those with wealth to invest in things (like, say, rental apartments) will tend to get richer. ; those without probably won’t. Listing a spare room on Airbnb may keep you up to date with your ever-growing Manhattan rent, but true entrepreneurship (as always) takes real dough.

As Schneiderman has it put pressure on Airbnb, large operations disappear from the site. But it still derives about a third of its income in New York City from users with three or more lists. And these Airbnb pros have taken up arms. Another New Yorker, a 49-year-old entrepreneur (who also insisted on anonymity), debuted at the site after shareholders pushed him out of the information technology company he had founded, leaving him with no source of income. “I would have been dead,” he said.

But after renting his apartment on Craigslist and through word of mouth, he signed up for Airbnb in early 2011, intending to make short-term rental his full-time job. He signed leases on old factories in Lower Manhattan, renovated them, and listed them on Airbnb. At his peak, he said, he managed 12 listings and hired a team of cleaners, receptionists and handymen to keep his scattered hotel running. His relationship with Airbnb, however, deteriorated when Schneiderman requested data from the company on carriers like him.

Now he is leading a group of users who are suing Airbnb to prevent them from passing on the information. The name of the group embodies this vast gap between Airbnb’s sweeping promise and its reality: New Yorkers trying to make ends meet in the sharing economy.

And who would want to stop a man with 12 apartments from making ends meet?

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