Ontario’s Airbnb suite has a submerged dock – but the company didn’t allow a negative review

TORONTO – A Toronto man wonders if a major real estate ad platform is ditching negative reviews, highlighting its efforts to warn other users of a warped and sunk wharf that looked nothing like the picturesque scenes in the listing.

Jordy Gold says that when he tried to warn others that the reality in the sequel was very different from what was advertised, his messages came to nothing and he worried there was something wrong with the system. participatory review that turned Airbnb into an Internet powerhouse.

“Everything was supposed to be amazing. We showed up and there was a complete disaster, ”Gold told CTV News, saying a“ perfect getaway ”vacation he spent over $ 6,000 was wasted because he thought the dock was not safe for her two year old.

“We were shocked. We spent a year and a half going to this chalet. It was so bad in so many ways, we didn’t know what to do, ”he said.

Gold, who said they have had mostly positive experiences with Airbnb in the past, wrote a lengthy, detailed review on the site which included: “The incredible 30-foot dock had been completely destroyed and its use was unsafe.”

The review was not posted on the list, and when CTV News Toronto checked, there were mostly positive reviews. The host did not return a message from CTV News Toronto.

Airbnb told CTV News Toronto it had withdrawn Gold’s review because it did not meet its standards of “relevance.”

“There were a few details in the review that contained content that referred to circumstances that were completely beyond the host’s control,” Aaron Swor said in an email to CTV News.

It’s unclear why parts of the review went unpublished.

The company said in a statement, “When a review contains information that focuses on something that is outside the reviewer’s control, it may be deleted. Airbnb does not remove specific sections of reviews deemed to be contrary to our policy. , but instead assesses overall relevance so that hosts aren’t unfairly penalized for issues beyond their control. Genuine reviews are part of the foundation of the Airbnb platform, and it’s rare that reviews need to be removed, for for whatever reason.

A similar thing happened to Samantha Mayer. She says she posted a review of a dirty suite in a condo in Toronto and followed up on Airbnb’s Facebook page with a list of complaints that included photos of stains on appliances and brown marks on the seat. toilets.

She struggled to find her messages when she came back and checked.

“The impurity – it was disgusting in there,” she told CTV News Toronto. “Anyone who has seen this review before it went away, I hope they saw it. They shouldn’t be trying to silence people.

Airbnb has grown into a business worth tens of billions of dollars by finding a way for almost anyone to turn their home into a part-time hotel. They did this in part by using an online rating system to help their community believe that the suites they rented would be as described.

“Critics are important. They are the backbone of the sharing economy, ”said Shreyas Sekar, assistant professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, which studies how reviews work on online platforms.

Sekar said that people are generally more reluctant to post negative reviews, and even a single negative review can have consequences not only for the host, but also for the platform in general. He said companies need to carefully weigh their policies to strike a balance between positive reviews that are good for business and reliability.

“A lot of it depends on the stage of your growth as a platform,” he said. “When you prioritize growth, you can have a singular goal of becoming as tall as possible. Later, as is the case with Airbnb, you want to support your community and the focus needs to shift from growth to policies that help every user thrive on your platform.

Mayer and Gold were reimbursed for roughly one-third of what the hosting cost them. After asking Airbnb for news of Gold’s case, the company told them they were doing their own review of what happened.

Gold wants to be able to share its disclaimers with others in the Airbnb community.

“What is the whole system for then – that thing just flew off from there,” he said.

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