VRBO Affiliate Program
ZoomTrans.com is offering our affiliates an amazing 45% per referred sale.
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Just Go to our advertiser account at ClixGalore site and choose one of our banner or link. Simply add links to your blog or web site using URLs with your affiliate id. We are now offering second tier, and extra bonuses too!
Don't delay, as the demand for this kind of services is already HUGE! Sign up today.Oct 26, 2012
Airbnb - Vacation Rentals Horror Story
AIRBNB: NOTE TO READERS: On Monday, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky issued an apology and announced several measures aimed at protecting hosts and guests.
UPDATE, Aug. 1: A second Airbnb victim has come forward, telling TechCrunch's Michael Arrington that his Oakland apartment was rented three months ago by a drug addict with a stolen identity who "did thousands of dollars of bizarre damage to my rented home and left it littered with meth pipes." In an e-mail last Thursday, Airbnb said that another account - that of San Francisco blogger "EJ," who wrote about being vandalized by an Airbnb client in June - was "our first major incident in over 2 million nights."
Also, the Santa Clara County sheriff's office and district attorney's office confirmed Monday that the suspect in the San Francisco Airbnb case, Faith Clifton, remains in jail in Santa Clara County. She has pleaded no contest to three felony counts involving stolen credit cards and possession of a forged driver's license, and sentencing is set for Aug. 5.
When a San Francisco blogger named "EJ" wrote a riveting account of how she returned from a week-long business trip last month to find that her home had been ransacked and trashed by a paying guest she'd connected with through the online rental agency Airbnb, the high-flying travel start-up addressed the ensuing blowback by insisting it was focusing its attentions on the victim and on ways to prevent a similar incident.
Then, late Thursday, "EJ" followed her initial post with a devastating rebuttal of Airbnb's claims. She accused one of the company's co-founders of noting the "potentially negative impact" her blog could have on his company's growth and current round of funding (Airbnb announced this week that it had received $112 million, and is now valued at an estimated $1.3 billion). She wrote that the unnamed co-founder asked her to "shut down the blog altogether or limit its access," and suggested she "update the blog with a 'twist' of good news so as to 'complete[s] the story.'"
Airbnb officials declined USA TODAY's requests for an interview. But in an e-mailed statement Friday, the company said it was "shocked and disturbed to hear about this unfortunate situation and since that moment have done everything in our power to assist EJ. We have offered assistance with accommodation, transportation and financial support to help EJ find some sense of security in light of such tragic circumstances."
Complicating the chilling tale: Despite Airbnb's statement that "we have confirmed with the (San Francisco police department) that they have a female suspect in custody that they are investigating for vandalism and theft," spokesmen for the police department and sheriff's office said Friday that while 19-year-old San Francisco resident Faith Clifton had been arrested on charges of fraud, possession of methamphetamine and stolen property on June 28 and that Airbnb had assisted in their investigation, she was no longer in San Francisco custody and they could not confirm whether she had been released or transferred to a nearby county where she faced a warrant for related charges. A spokeswoman for the San Francisco district attorney said the office will determine Monday whether to proceed with Clifton's case.
Meanwhile, I communicated by email and by phone late Friday with a woman who said she was "EJ," a corporate events planner who later asked me not to be identified by name because of her continuing fears that other suspects may still be at large and because of the online furor surrounding her experience. (She also said she was speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle, and I confirmed portions of her information with the San Francisco police department.)
She said she was "growing a very thick skin" because of accusations that she was part of a plot by the hotel industry to discredit Airbnb, and because of criticism that she courted disaster by opening her rented apartment to strangers. She also told me she had been contacted by Airbnb on Friday, after her second blog post, but that the company had not provided compensation for her ordeal.
"Obviously, the financial damages have been significant, but it has come down to a matter of principle and how I feel they disregarded me and my situation," she said. "I still hurt, and I don't know how you make that right."
As the news of her burglary spread, so did efforts to reassure customers of Airbnb and similar, increasingly popular online services that help individuals or property management companies rent out space to paying guests who want a more personal and economical alternative to a hotel.
Airbnb, while pointing out that the incident was the first of its kind out of some 2 million stays booked since the company's founding in 2008, announced that it would be doubling the size of its customer service staff (42 people at the time of the incident and 88 currently), offering insurance to hosts and creating a "Trust and Safety" department, among other measures.
Jia En Teo, co-founder of a competing rental agency, Roomorama, noted that its own safeguards include ID checks on potential guests and hosts, and said her company was spearheading a new initiative to send out collaborative alerts "whenever we come across fraudulent patterns."
But, said travel technology consultant Robert Cole, "the challenge is the structural model" as a reservation service in a fragmented market. And, Cole added, "the hotel industry isn't disappointed to see these kinds of concerns raised about a business that is potentially disruptive to their own. As painful as it is to this sector of the lodging industry, it's positive that these issues are being raised early."Jun 13, 2012