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Airbnb app reviews are soaring as the company aims to avoid Uber’s legal problems

1 month ago by Jon Marino in Retail

Airbnb ($AIRBNB) surely doesn't want to be faced with the same pitfalls as Uber, which was recently kicked out of London. As a result, Airbnb is now working closely with local law-enforcement agencies to soften the party vibe out of its rentals, particularly those in residential areas where the service might be considered disruptive. 

“The goal is to make sure we’re preventing those homes from being misused," Airbnb VP of Trust Margaret Richardson said Thursday at the Skift Short-Term Rental Summit in midtown Manhattan, announcing policy changes that would punish loud and hard-partying Airbnb users for disrupting their neighbors. "We will do that with a combination of tech, community and our team members." 

It's tough to tell how well it's working, because it's so early on. Part of Airbnb's plan comes in response to a California shooting at one of its rentals, making the issue both a sensitive one and a priority. But one thing is clear: more and more, legions of users that have made Airbnb a $35 billion app, are increasingly happy with the way it's working for them. 

To start, we track Airbnb's average Apple ($NASDAQ:AAPL) store rating, and can tell from it that for years users have been giving the app higher and higher ratings, a great sign of satisfied customers. 

So when Richardson says the company is going to take on the challenge of working with both law enforcement and property owners to make sure Airbnb renters aren't a nuisance to the neighborhood, it's looking more and more like Airbnb will take on the challenge with the team it has, instead of the team it needs to hire. Part of this could be due to the fact that it's already quite experienced in the community organization and development front, from having launched its Open Homes initiative to help survivors of disasters get temporary housing. 

The next chart illustrates this point a bit more clearly. Not only are Airbnb job postings down 34% since their early June peak, engineering-focused roles (not shown) are down even more over the same timeframe. And none of that should be taken as a grain of salt that it's not serious about its service to the community, or a knock on it's growth. 

This chart tracks the company's job postings, by role, over time - which allows us to see where Airbnb was emphasizing hiring by role over time. Hit the play button in the bottom-left-hand corner to see how roles like Engineering, Community Support and Product occupy top slots in recent months.

Brian Chesky's home-sharing startup has been reportedly plotting out a 2020 IPO, and at Thinknum we've seen a drop-off in job postings for other big startups pre-IPO, as they try and tidy up a bit before their roadshow. It's likely that, to Richardson's point, Airbnb is putting some serious coding muscle behind its community initiative, and that it's just doing it with a still-growing workforce, per its LinkedIn Headcount, which we're also able to track at our site. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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