The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
My experience in the sharing economy is primarily with Airbnb, as both a host and a guest. I am a huge advocate of this organization. I am freelance commercial artist who often travels for photo shoots. I am not always compensated for my lodging and finding affordable, furnished temporary lodging is difficult in many communities. Hotel bills can get expensive and lack a lot of comforts when you need a room for a week or more. That is why I started using Airbnb. It was a huge help for me while away from home. I was able to rent an apartment with a kitchen as well as a washer and dryer in a really great neighborhood. I've been using it ever since and have stayed in dozens of Airbnbs in the US, Canada, Germany, Italy and Mexico. It is a really great way to experience a new place. I became a host last summer. I had been short on work and needed a way to supplement my income so my fiancé and I decided to rent out our spare bedroom. It was a big help to me financially, but it also allowed me to connect a lot of new people. A lot of people who stayed during the fall were in town for conventions and seminars. They would share their stories and their knowledge on our porch at night. We've hosted organic gardeners from Connecticut, bike mechanics from Michigan, travel agents from California, a tech start up group from Germany, a writer from Brooklyn and dozens of others. It has been a really great experience. We don't host people every day and we certainly don't make a living off hosting, but it is a great way to connect with others and learn something outside of your own life. it's also not for everyone. I have a lot of friends who say they would never use the site. Some people prefer the privacy of a hotel. I would like to add that Airbnb sends us a 1099 and we pay federal, state and local income tax on all payments we receive.