The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I have been a public school teacher for 28 years. My participation in the "sharing economy" enabled me to pay off my mortgage and retire 2 years early. It also gives me a feeling of confidence in my ability to support myself in my later years. I have been both a host and a guest with Airbnb and DogVacay. I understand very well need to balance competing interests in the regulatory sphere. As a consumer I want to be protected from deceptive practices and unsafe conditions. But I trust my fellow individual entrepreneurs more than I trust a faceless corporate entity. Peer to peer networks made me into a businesswoman, something I never thought I would be. I have been a resident of El Paso Texas for 54 years and as an Airbnb host I relish the opportunity to share hometown hospitality with people visiting. I direct my guests to locally owned businesses which is good for our economy. As a DogVacay host I board dogs in my home. This is an experience that simply cannot be replicated by the traditional business model. My at home businesses will also allow me to help care for my aging sister. This not only saves her money and keeps her home for more of her final years; it is also a great emotional help for my brother in law and me. All levels of government will be challenged by the unfamiliarity of the new business model of the sharing economy. The benefits are tremendous. I urge the commission to find innovative methods to protect both the consumer and the small businesses empowered by this new model.