airbnb just coughed up a nasty hairball

Airbnb sent me this email/threat this morning. I found it preachy, punishing and lacking in human psychology.

Am I over reacting or are they overstepping their role as a brand? Have they gone from the ‘cool friend’ that helped me travel cheap, to being the big corporation now dictating terms?

Here is their email…..


Earlier this year, we launched a comprehensive effort to fight bias and discrimination in the Airbnb community. As a result of this effort, we’re asking (actually telling if you read on) everyone to agree to a Community Commitment beginning November 1, 2016. Agreeing to this commitment will affect your use of Airbnb, so we wanted to give you a heads up about it.

What is the Community Commitment?

You commit to treat everyone—regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age—with respect, and without judgment or bias.

How do I accept the commitment?

On or after November 1, we’ll show you the commitment when you log in to or open the Airbnb website, mobile or tablet app and we’ll automatically ask you to accept.

What if I decline the commitment?

If you decline the commitment, you won’t be able to host or book using Airbnb, (so airbnb if I don’t agree with your brand, I can’t stay in a persons home that you broker? that you have no equity in?) and you have the option to cancel your account. Once your account is canceled, future booked trips will be canceled. You will still be able to browse Airbnb, but you won’t be able to book any reservations or host any guests.


The Airbnb Team

I do like their intentions – the principles of their code. Most of us try to live that way.

I do applaud and support corporations who go beyond the immediate gratification of profit and invest in ways that positively impact the lives of people and the livelihood of our planet. I especially admire the ones that do it quietly.

I don’t like to be preached to or threatened by anyone, especially a brand

It’s my take on how the USA election is being fought. It is the playbook of most religions, and it is why the Sabres rattle in Foreign Policy as one country tries to dictate to another their ‘code of conduct’.

In my opinion airbnb is doing the same thing. “You commit to treating everyone—regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age—with respect, and without judgment or bias.” If you don’t fall in line….Or you can’t book or host with Airbnb”.


Coke doesn’t deny me their product until I have proved I have exercised.

Apple doesn’t deny me their iPod if I choose to download hate or bad country and western music.

Dyson doesn’t deny me their vacuum cleaner until I agree to clean everywhere, even under the heavy sofa.

The airbnb brand just coughed up a nasty hairball

Where does Airbnb, an organization that has only eight years history on this planet, have the audacity to tell me what my judgement and bias should be?

One could argue that airbnb is different. That their business is different than Coke or Dyson – as it involves human-to-human transactions.

airbnb is a well oiled toll booth

My counter is that they are simply a broker, a well-oiled, on line toll booth and they are very lucky to have both guests and hosts to collect their tariffs.

I hate to disappoint the Leaders of airbnb but we all have our own judgement and bias. Our own community code. We are born with our ‘spider sense’, our ‘fight or flight syndrome’ and intuition. Our Parents and our upbringing shape them. It’s how we learn to make decisions, some on the fly and some thoughtful.

And yes, sadly, there are a lot of people on this planet with ugly prejudices and racism. I wish a magic wand could be waved over this planet and people would treat other people equally and well. It doesn’t work that way.

Consumer behaviour has shifted from trusting brand to trusting strangers

In todays world consumers need their judgement more than ever. Our behavour has shifted from trusting brands to trusting strangers. We now hook up with strangers on Tinder, get ‘ubered’ around in strangers cars, stream content and sell stuff to strangers and yes sleep in their beds.

Most consumers mitigate the risks that go with an economy of sharing with strangers through their own judgements and bias.

Signing airbnb’s Community Code will not impact my choice in what strangers sleep in my home and what strangers home and neighbourhood I decide to sleep in. If you are a single mother with children, hoping to make a few bucks with your guest bedroom – then you should be allowed to discriminate, and only host woman, or elderly people, or whoever brings you cash and a peace of mind.

If you look like Charles Manson you might be Charles Manson. If I cross the street to avoid you and I will certainly not surrender my house keys.

You can call me prejudiced all your want. My judgement, biases and freedom to choose are mine and mine alone. They will never be surrendered.

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