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Airbnb wants to show officials it is both sharing and caring

Thursday, 12 November 2015 | By Denham Sadler

After spending more than $US8 million on a recent campaign in San Francisco, Airbnb has announced a new, more co-operative set of principles that will be guiding how it deals with local governments.


The renting startup eventually won the fight in its hometown against a proposition that would have greatly limited short-term rentals . In the wake of the triumph, Airbnb signalled further plans to launch similar aggressive campaigns, saying it was “now a movement”.


But it looks like the home-sharing startup has back-tracked from this confrontational approach with the announcement of the Airbnb Community Compact, a guiding set of ideals that aim to “foster a spirit of co-operation with local governments”, as the New York Times reports.


“Given the size of the Airbnb community, this just seems like the right time for us to be very specific about the types of commitments we’re willing to make,” Airbnb head of global policy and public affairs Chris Lehane tells the New York Times.

“Cities are looking to do the right thing, and they need the right information to do so.”


The new commitment has three main principles: to pay a “fair share” of tax, to release troves of anonymised data on its hosts and guests, and to stamp out illegal listings.


To kick-start this apparent new transparency, Airbnb released its recent estimates on its annual economic impact in its top five cities, clocking in at nearly $US1.96 billion in New York and $US1.95 billion in London.


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