Airbnb stands accused of artificially massaging its listings in an effort to look good after the company conceded that it had purged dodgy listings from the service before the release of key rental data in New York.
The listings clear out took place just one month before Airbnb went public on its rental numbers in New York City with an estimated 1,500 of 37,000 listings expunged in the city throughout November.
Explaining the crackdown in a letter to New York state legislators josh Meltzer, Airbnb’s head of public policy, wrote that targeted listings: “…appeared to be controlled by commercial operators and did not reflect Airbnb’s vision for our community.”
Airbnb has been under fire from city officials for allowing commercial users to flourish on the platform with regulators identifying examples of multiple listings from a single owner and even entire home listings which are expressly forbidden under New York City law.
All eyes are now on Airbnb to ensure that it maintains its recent enthusiasm to crack down hard on illegal operators or whether its tough stance was just a one-off push to look good ahead of filing its numbers.
Housing is a hot button issue in New York where is concern that a lack of supply and sky high prices are being exacerbated by a loss of stock to services such as Airbnb.