The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01081

Submission Number:
Mark Williams
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
My spouse and I have been hosting our guest room since Feb 2013 and are completely thrilled with the experience. So far we've had some 70+ guests from all over the world. The extra income has been critical in allowing us to make ends meet during a period of unemployment for me; and, during other times, a big bonus that allows us to make home improvements (and hiring local contractors). We often hear people say, "oh, I would never let strangers into my home." But in fact, this experience has taught us that the world is still full of wonderful, honest, respectful, and interesting people. Our hosting platform, Airbnb, provides us with ample information, about the people we host, well in advance of their arrival. We know who they are, have access to their facebook accounts, know why they are coming, and much more. We can trust what we learn about our guests and have complete confidence in the program. Our city, San Francisco, can be very expensive for tourists, so our hosting allows visitors to come to SF who might not otherwise afford to, and allows others to stay longer. This equates to more customers for our local merchants, restaurants, and tour groups. It literally spreads the wealth in a superb, free market context. By staying with locals, our guests feel like locals - they have a richer and heightened experience during their visits and leave with a more positive outlook of our city and region. (Proof is in the rave reviews guests leave about their stay here). We provide lots of information about what to see and do here, points of interest, history of the area, local cultural distinctions, and much more. We often go out to local games, entertainment, and dining with our guests too. At this point, Airbnb is providing us with essential additional income, and allowing us to meet and have many new friends from throughout the U.S. and the world. We'd be at a major loss economically and socially without this opportunity. We benefit, our guests benefit, and so do local merchants - it's truly a win-win-win program. Thanks for your interest, Mark Williams