The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01307

Submission Number:
William Clark
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
May 25, 2015 To Whom It May Concern: Economics involves the efficient allocation of limited resources. It is not often that valuable resources are in excess at any time. In industries and at times that excess does occur -- the value of a sharing economy becomes evident. Computer technology has allowed fast transfer of information, thus it provides rapid information to many involved entities when there are excesses that can be shared. This sharing allows the vendor to marginally increase revenue, while allowing the consumer to appreciate a lower cost. Craiglist, eBay are examples of the sharing economy. Car sharing has also become quite popular. The marketplace now has internet companies that facilitate the sharing of homes, when the owner has available non-used days. Airbnb is one of these companies; it is one of the leaders in this industry. As economic factors fluctuate, individuals who purchase homes sometimes have trouble paying their mortgages. Job loss due to layoffs or other factors make it impossible to continue to pay a mortgage; not to mentions problems with fluctuating mortgages in the home lending industry. The Federal Government can only go so far to assist these individuals. Thus, actions of the private sector must step up to bat to help. Using one's home to rent out at times when not occupied helps pay mortgages, pay rent, pay medical bills and a whole host of other costs that are unaffordable to the person. It keeps then out of credit problems and perhaps even bankruptcy. It may even prevent them from personal harm due to severe depression as a result of their financial woes. I personally rent my home out through several internet companies. However, there are several stellar features of Airbnb which advances it above the other major companies in the industry. 1. The community approach of verifying the credentials of the owner and the guest. 2. Their extensive TV advertising. 3. Their easy to navigate website. 4. Their streaming video on the face page of their website. 5. No charge to the home owner when renting their home for short term rental. 6. Their low booking fee compared to others in the industry. 7. Ease of contact to the company when questions or problems occur. What is the main delineating factor about Airbnb that separates them from others in the industry? It is their effort to create a friendly community relationship between owners and rental guests. Their dedication to certifying the identification of the both the guests and owners minimizes any felonious criminal activity. This is a major issue in this time of identity theft and terrorist activity. Airbnb and others in the industry assist hard working families make extra income. It also assists these same individuals find an affordable home for their family to stay on vacations. Hotels and motels are far more expensive when there is a large group and they do not allow the entire family group to remain together at night; they are separated in individual rooms. Local economies are flourishing due to the economic impact of this revenue. This is very evident in the Galveston Texas area, where recent economic impact studies have been completed. As a tax paying consumer, I can state without reservation that this industry is a value-added benefit to many citizens in this country. I furthermore can state that Airbnb, thorough its continuous efforts of improvements, puts it on the cutting edge in this industry. Sincerely, William Mike Clark, M.D., M.B.A., M.S. [REDACTED]