back to article Airbnb turns its anti-partying tech on American lodgers

Pleased with the "success" of a pilot program in Australia, Airbnb is bringing its "anti-party technology" to the US and Canada.  The lodging app claimed this tech can automatically identify so-called "high-risk reservations," aka parties, and block them. Airbnb said it piloted the system from October, and said it found a 35 …

  1. Nifty Silver badge

    Been trying to find a nice Airbnb with less than 5 bedrooms, not much success so far.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Maybe try looking for one with fewer than five bedrooms and you might find it easier

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        This shibboleth is not justified by etymology, historical usage, or frequency of current usage.

        Still kinda funny, though. (I didn't downvote you.)

  2. Oglethorpe

    Place your bets

    How long before we discover that their algorithm discriminates against one or more protected characteristics?

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Place your bets

      It's Animal Cruelty.

      Party animals of course.

    2. Geoff Campbell
      Facepalm

      Re: Place your bets

      My very first thought. It's a racing certainty. Talking of which, my money would be on race as the characteristic, as it so often is.

      GJC

    3. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Place your bets

      It started out as short stay (short time) shagging parlours but now wants to be posh.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad Actors

    “We anticipate that this new system will help prevent more bad actors on our platform while having less of a blunt impact on guests who are not trying to throw a party."

    So with his defamation acquittal in the US is Jonny Depp ok domestically but as has still to appeal his UK Libel verdict … is he still banned in the UK??

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Bad Actors

      "Lets make fun of the domestic violence victim"

  4. elregidente

    False positives and unexpected consequences

    I've used AirBnB for many years.

    The fundamental service it offers is for me vital and is a monopoly; the "alternatives" really are not, in particular because they have no notion of discount pricing for longer stays.

    AirBnB customer service has over time relentlessly declined in quality. They are a living hell, and that was some years ago.

    AirBnB log-in is a roll of the dice; there's constant change in their procedures. When I come to log in, I never have any certainty that log-in will work.

    I remember a hideous two and a half hour session on the phone with some helpless India woman, working from home, to solve a login problem which AirBnB had created, where, in the end, it turned out you could in fact *ignore* the requirements AirBnB had issued ("do this to complete your log-in") and log-in anyway.

    The issues with customer support combined with the issues with log-in; the time came where I could not log in ("we think you're suspicious") *and* the options for handling this were reduced to "click here to contact customer support, who will get back to you in two or three days".

    At this point I back-doored my own HTTPS traffic, using my own proxy (mitm) on my own server, so I would always present the same IP address to AirBnB, and this seems to have helped a great deal; I only rarely now have problems logging in.

    It's completely insane. The company which allows me to move around the world blocks me as a suspicious login because I move around the world.

    All large companies (and a lot of small companies) are complete and utter madness from the end-users point of view; Support function to deflect and ignore all reports of issues provided by end-users.

    In general, this doesn't matter, because most companies are not monopolies.

    1. Google

      Re: False positives and unexpected consequences

      It's not just AirBnb, I've had similar experiences with booking, no customer service at all. Room facility descriptions which are blatantly false (no refund), extra charges which were never mentioned before booking, etc.

      In all cases it was up to me to collect the details of the discrepancies which is a pain because the description of facilities is different when viewing the "room booked" details from the "room available" view. Pro tip: always screenshot the promised facilities and services before making the booking.

      One of the more flagrant incidents was when I booked a room but never received a confirmation yet the payment was made with a transaction code confirming it. There was no way to contact booking directly, impossible by phone without a booking code. I sent off multiple e-mails which would be looked at within a few days which is rather annoying when the booking is for the same night.

      The hotel was equally useless and only when I suggested they contact Booking did they make an effort. No use though, because they're not contactable to their partners either. Stuck in purgatory it was or paying a lot more by directly booking another room with the hotel and hoping I'd get my reservation refunded.

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    A bit ironic really

    AirBnb, which built its success on being an unregulated hospitality provider, now finds it increasingly necessary to regulate its services. Ironic but not really surprising as the problems are far from new and rather obvious. The other night I watched a 1963 Edgar Wallace movie (Act of murder) about a holiday home swap that led to an attempt at house clearance. If it was a matter for entertainment in the '60s, the need for regulation has been evident for ages.

  6. John69
    Unhappy

    > Airbnb has said that long-term stays "of 28 days or more" remain its fastest-growing category

    Is it only me for whom this is the most worrying thing? Does this not indicate that AirBnB is now an accommodation provider rather than a holiday provider? When I stayed at an AirBnB in NY everyone else there was living there not on holiday.

    1. elregidente

      AirBnB is a God send, not a worrying thing.

      The rental market in just about every country is a living nightmare.

      Have you tried renting in Amsterdam? or Stockholm? or Berlin! 25 people turn up to every viewing, and I recall three months notice being common and the deposit usually being two months rent.

      State control of rental prices, which is always done to lower prices, destroys supply and after a while the rental market is living hell on toast.

      AirBnB provides a way around this, and it keeps being banned; to my eye, it provides a terrible contrast to what *ought to be* against what is, and by doing so, is an embarrassment to States which over-protect tenants.

      Over-protection leads to those who *have* a place being feted and those who do not living in a hell of illegal, secondary lets.

      Moreover, rent controls do not do what people think they do. Controlling rents, and keeping them low, over a reasonable period of time, reduces wages accordingly, as living costs are reduced. People are not better off by it; *companies* are better off by it, as their wages bill is reduced.

      However, it then also penalizes companies, because it becomes impossible to get staff from outside of the rental control area, because they cannot move in.

      It makes no actual sense, and I think in general companies would prefer access to talent than a moderately reduced wages bill.

      For example, for a while, it was possible to easily rent in Amsterdam : you could take an AirBnB. Plenty of supply, reasonable prices and no deposit!

      Then it was (effectively) banned by the State, and now we've returned to the smallest, cheapest short-term rental option being 2500 euros a month for 25m2, and there's very few of those, and the locations are not good.

      I worked once in Stockholm. The company hires another company, who have their own stock of housing to rent, and you pick one of these; and the rental contract is between the company who hire you, and the company who own the property. When the gig ends, you also lose your home.

      AirBnB provides a way around these absolute insanities and horrors; and then it gets banned.

      Government is the problem. The real solution to housing is a plentiful of supply of housing.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      It's providing a service that isn't already available: staying somewhere for longer than a short tourist vacation but less than a permanent residency. If you want to live somewhere for a month or more, the prices of short-term accommodations are likely prohibitive, so people find something cheaper. I'm not sure why that service is worrying to you, but I can certainly understand why people want it sometimes.

    3. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      The Onion

      As usual, my news source of choice, The Onion, illuminates this point:

      Report: More Young Americans Achieving Homeownership By Changing Locks On Airbnb

      https://www.theonion.com/report-more-young-americans-achieving-homeownership-by-1849156454

  7. AnAnonymousCanuck

    AirBnB: Where a Confirmed Reservation is Not

    See the title. 3 times I have been left without a place to stay despite having a confirmed and paid for reservation. Airbnb's response: "Here is a 10% credit for a place of EQUAL or MORE VALUE."

    I no longer use AirBnB, I will no longer use AirBnB and if I was younger I would take them to small claims court for breach of contract.

    YMMV

    Another Anonymous Canuck

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: AirBnB: Where a Confirmed Reservation is Not

      I've never used Airbnb. I find their business model and practices vile, to be perfectly honest. Around here, Airbnb has done tremendous damage to the real, regulated lodging industry and to legitimate long-term rentals for residents. It's helped drive Yet Another real-estate bubble. City and county governments are finally cracking down on Airbnb rentals (for violating licensing and other regulations), and I'm all for it. I'd be happy to see them regulated out of existence.

    2. Swarthy Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: AirBnB: Where a Confirmed Reservation is Not

      I also refuse to use AirBnB again. The last (and first) time I used them the provider of the house contacted me immediately after check out claiming evidence of illegal drug use (there was none), and demanding $x00 for cleaning costs, or else they'd call the police. The cleaning charge got applied to my AirBnB account as a balance due. After replying that the "pay up or else" wording fell squarely into blackmail, and I would not hesitate to get a lawyer involved, the balance due was removed, and I got a very positive review.

      Yes, I dodged a shakedown; but I believe it should be up to the platform to prevent this kind of thing, rather than the client to dodge it.

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