How The Service Recruits & Deceives Its Hosts

The Great Gatsby

I just received a very strange email from AirB&B. Or, well, technically, from “Laura.” Who the fuck is Laura? Unclear. But I can address any and all questions to her, whoever she is.

Here’s the email.

Funny things about this email:

  • It addresses me as “there.” My name is not “There.”
  • It claims to be from “Laura.” That’s a good generic name, a safe choice to trigger a positive reaction in the recipient (“Oh yeah, Laura …”), but in my case, it’s a fail. I don’t know a single Laura from whom this email could plausibly originate.
  • No, wait, it’s actually from AirBnB. No, it’s from Laura. No, it’s from Ireland??
  • It does not mention the detail most relevant to people in New York City who might be interested in renting out their homes via the service, which is that doing so is illegal. It’s even more illegal than it used to be, as a recent piece in Esquire points out.
  • It does not suggest that I consult state or city laws before proceeding in case renting out my home in AirBnB might be illegal and might well result in a fine of $1000-$7500 and/or punitive action from my landlord. It just kind of blithely suggests I get in on making the money, since everyone else is doing it. Like Laura.
  • It’s basically the email equivalent of those spam messages and Xeroxes you find taped to streetlights that read, “WORK FROM HOME AND MAKE MONEY TODAY!!$$$!1!”

In conclusion, my opinion of AirBnB went down by about five points just from receiving this stupid email, so well done, marketing team. Or should I say, Laura.

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