The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I believe these products are part of the "new future." Ones where prices are actually set by the market, of what people are actually willing to pay. Sites like AirB&B and apps like Uber provide a service otherwise unseen in the general space of the industries they are disrupting. Hotels typically don't have multiple rooms with kitchens, and those that do tend to cost more per week than an apartment of the equal size costs per month in their area. Cabs are never around when you need them, especially during shift-changes (ever try catching a cab in NYC around 4pm? or even worse, 4pm when it's raining?). To directly reply to a few of your questions: - What are the advantages and disadvantages for consumers of engaging in transactions facilitated by a sharing platform; for example, convenience, diversity of offerings, additional sources of supply, safety, quality? Having Peer-Reviewed places that count on customer satisfaction to continue working or selling or sharing their space or commodities enables buyers/customers to ensure their own safety and piece of mind. I've had more things stolen in Hotel Rooms than anywhere else I've stayed, I've couch surfed, I've AirB&B'd, I've camped and left things alone in my tent for hours, yet over all that I've only had a laptop-charger go missing (and that could have been my own fault). In the last year I've had 2 laptops stolen from a hotel room, and all of my baggage go missing from the hotel's "safe" storage after I checked out. I've had tons of skeevy cab drivers, propositions made to pay for my ride, instead, where I can, I now call an Uber, which has reviews on their drivers, and payment all made through a secure system. - What economic considerations might lead to the adoption of a peer-to-peer platform model as opposed to a one-sided online sales platform? There will always be a place for the one sided sales platform, but as our communities grow, and our neighborhoods merge, and people begin to be more neighborly the ability to trust in Peer to Peer models vs direct with business models will grow exponentially. Humans, at their core, are social creatures, we judge and pull back from perceived harm, and go towards the new, exciting, and safe. Being able to see rankings for peer-to-peer based vacation stays is changing the hotel market in similar ways to discount sites like expedia and travelocity, they are just taking it a step beyond. Couch Surfing has always been a thing, but till there was a site for it, you would have to take your chances on craigslist, now there's a rating system for couch surfers to follow, and bad ones get kicked off the site. Sites like AirB&B merge what Couchsurfing and Expedia have done, it's a natural evolution of the marketplace.