The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00802

Submission Number:
Montgomery Sexton
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I am using AirBnB to supplement my vacation rental income. Basically by vacation rental cottage is on a higher end market for summer travellers to Make Michigan. During peak months I bring in over 70% of my yearly yield. But the other seasons weren't in high demand. I needed another way to get my property to the demographic I was looking for. The off-season rates are much lower but the platform I was using to attract guests (VRBO) is the wrong demographic. I added AirBnB and immediately saw results. I am able to get qualify renters, easy form of payments, and fill up my off-peak days. Having this open platform available to me increases my small business income, almost making it a profitable business! I can use the money to reinvest in my properties and also plan for other purchases. It gives me a lot of breathing room in those regards. The online community is not the future of hotels. Nothing will replace big solid brand name hotels because it is a different demographic. Businesses do not rent with me. And vacationers do not have an option of a Lake Michigan Beach house unless they go to a private residence. Basically, we are given a unique opportunity to take advantage of the opportunities that have always been there, just not accessible until now. Without the internet and online community, I wouldn't be a homeowner, I wouldn't be a business owner, and I wouldn't have the potential to someday be a large business owner. I live in Hong Kong and can run my business from there. (I am a U.S. Citizen and file and pay all of my taxes.) This source of income, of experience and ability should not be limited. The internet is a powerful tool to keep societies open and communicating and that can only happen if the Internet is kept fair and not limited in content or speed. When a race car driver wins a race, he gets a trophy and money and respect from his peers. What they do not do it give that winner a better engine or tires or a lighter car. They keep the rules the same for them. The financial world in the U.S. should be similar. You get rewarded by hard work, taking risks, doing your research. But in return for this it seems that people are given not only money but they are given more opportunity in the forms of lower interest rates, more tax loopholes, private investment opportunities, and access to funds most are not. This type of system is creating the huge wealth gap. And limiting internet speed based on who pays would be a huge step in this horrible direction. Please do what you can (which is everything) to keep the internet open and fair. I can invest anywhere in the world. I've chosen the U.S. because of the enormous potential and amazing educated workforce. This can easily be changed if I see the government over reach their authority into internet legislation that infringes on a fair treatment of every person.