The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01674

Submission Number:
Marsha Barr
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Hello, thank you for providing an opportunity to make comments. I have been a host with Airbnb for 4 years. I am a single 64 year old woman, retired and on a fixed income. I was desperate to make ends meet when I discovered Airbnb. For me it closed the money gap. I own my home but property taxes at this point are more than half of my monthly mortgage payment, and rising. Typically, I share one or two rooms in my house and on rare occasions when I am gone, I share my whole house. For me it is more than renting a room ... I consider it a service. I pride myself in keeping my prices affordable (not exceeding what I can pay), and providing a clean, artful, safe, environment. I also consider that the personal connections that happen in my home on a regular basis, contribute to building bridges between people in positive and unexpected ways. Many of my guests return again and again, and all of my guests without exception speak highly of my space and their experience. This has resulted in a 5 star rating and a "superhost" status. My experience has led me to consider the "sharing economy" as a concept that I embrace. I believe that at least in this venue, (and I expect in many others), the benefits far outweigh the risks. I have witnessed Airbnb continue to step up to provide the guidance and sharing of information that keeps us and our clients safe. They have been proactive to try to deal with challenges while remaining true to the basic tenants of a shared economy. It is a distinctly different entity, and part of the beauty of it is that it is largely self regulating and built on trust. What I provide through Airbnb, is a unique opportunity, both socially and economically to provide an affordable alternative to "business as usual" . The people who choose to stay with me do so because they appreciate the social and economic benefits. They are largely middle class folks who are being squeezed in the same way that I am. I quite simply can't afford (though I am a retired teacher of 20 years), to stay in a hotel, even a cheap one, when I travel. I appreciate that I have an alternative, and that Airbnb has safety measures in place for me and my clients to make reasonable choices that fit our pocketbooks. We are a nation built on innovation, progressive ideas, and trust. The concept of "shared economy" deserves to continue to move forward, free of undue regulation that drives up prices, forces people to go underground, changes the nature of the concept, and makes it less safe. I count on continuing my Airbnb ... it is good for me, my guests and for the economy. Thank you!