The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00180

Submission Number:
Ellen Hart
North Carolina
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
It's difficult to describe how the sharing economy, particularly Airbnb, has changed the way I view opportunity in this country. In our society, average Americans have become accustomed to feeling dependent and powerless when it comes to income. As middle class costs of living rise and wages stagnate, our attitudes have become more about putting your head down and taking what you can get rather than pursuing economic opportunities and proactively building the economy. We shy away from innovation and risk taking because we are afraid of losing what little wealth we have to work so hard to gain. The sharing economy, in addition to increasing my monthly income by 50%, has opened my eyes to possibilities once again. By utilizing an asset that I hadn't event realized I could capitalize on (my guest room), I can now pay down my mortgage faster, save more money than I was before, and also put more money back into my local economy by contributing to local businesses more freely than I could previously. But most importantly, the simple fact that I can make over $1,000 in extra income per month just by making a bed and welcoming wonderful people into my home, is changing my relationship and attitudes towards income. I feel more like a player in the economy rather than a pawn. I am now more open to the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur starting my own business someday. In short, I feel empowered, both financially and personally. It's been proven and goes without saying that Airbnb is safe, but I will speak to that a little bit as well. As a single woman I am very safety conscious, so the reviews and verification system mean a lot to me. The fact that I can contact the person and cancel them without much penalty if I feel unsafe is important. There is an emergency number should anything get out of hand. But honestly, I've never actually had a reason to worry about safety with this system. Every single person I have hosted has been wonderful, respectful, and considerate. I've even formed close friendships with a few of them. It seems that Airbnb just attracts a certain type of person who is kind and friendly. I don't know how else to put it! Airbnb has been nothing short of a game changer in my life. I don't know the nuances of what needs to be done for the service to overcome any legal hurtles, but let's get on that and make it happen. Do the right thing and let Airbnb continue to change the world for the better.