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Airbnb is criticized for its impact on housing affordability, sparking protests,[133][134][135] and for its related data management.[136][137] As of the beginning of 2018, several studies found that rental prices in many areas increased due to Airbnb, as landlords kept properties off the longer-term rental market and instead get higher rental rates for short-term housing via Airbnb.[138] Landlords have been accused of illegally evicting tenants in order to convert properties into Airbnb listings.[139] In San Francisco, the issue led to protests in November 2015.[140]
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Airbnb features a review system in which guests and hosts can rate each other after a stay. Hosts and guests are unable to see reviews until both have submitted a review or until the window to review has closed, a system which aims to improve accuracy and objectivity by removing fears that users will receive a negative review in retaliation if they write one. However, the truthfulness and impartiality of reviews may be adversely affected by concerns of future stays because prospective hosts may refuse to host a user who generally leaves negative reviews. In addition, the company's policy requires users to forego anonymity, which may also detract from users' willingness to leave negative reviews. These factors may damage the objectivity of the review system.[126][127][128][129]
Shortly after moving to San Francisco in October 2007, roommates and former schoolmates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia could not afford the rent for their loft apartment. Chesky and Gebbia came up with the idea of putting an air mattress in their living room and turning it into a bed and breakfast.[16][17] The goal at first was just "to make a few bucks".[18][19] In February 2008, Nathan Blecharczyk, Chesky's former roommate, joined as the Chief Technology Officer and the third co-founder of the new venture, which they named AirBed & Breakfast.[17][20] They put together a website which offered short-term living quarters, breakfast, and a unique business networking opportunity for those who were unable to book a hotel in the saturated market.[21] The site Airbedandbreakfast.com officially launched on August 11, 2008.[22][23] The founders had their first customers in town in the summer of 2008, during the Industrial Design Conference held by Industrial Designers Society of America, where travelers had a hard time finding lodging in the city.[17][24]
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