Sharing Economy

Uber wants to be the Vegas of gay weddings, only even faster

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In their frantic desire to be first with the next big thing and to grab market share by any means necessary, tech companies often act before really thinking through the implications of their ideas. And with its latest idea — facilitating on-the-spot weddings during Pride weekend — rideshare company Uber has finally jumped the shark.Read more »

Does carsharing really reduce overall driving?

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At the Share conference that I covered for this week’s Guardian, there were wildly divergent claims for how many vehicles carsharing companies such as City Car Share, Zipcar, and Getaround take off the road. I was also a little skeptical of claims that carsharing dramatically reduces overall driving and greenhouse gas emissions, so I decided to take a deeper look at the issue.Read more »

Asking questions inside Airbnb's SF headquarters

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As I covered the last week’s Share conference for this week’s Guardian, I finally got the chance to poke around the 888 Brannan Street headquarters of Airbnb, the company I’ve been doggedly reporting on and getting stonewalled by over the last year or so. Read more »

Chiu introduces legislation to regulate Airbnb and short-term housing rentals UPDATED

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After more than a year in development, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu is introducting legislation today to legalize and regulate the short-term housing rentals facilitated by Airbnb and other online companies. But the legislation won’t address all the concerns of Airbnb’s critics — from landlords to tenants to labor to neighborhood associations — and it’s unclear why it took so long to develop.Read more »

Taxi drivers protest rideshares as government mulls new regulations

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Car horns honked and tempers flared as around 30 taxi cabs circled around the California Public Utilities Commission yesterday [Wed/9], protesting what the cabbies call lax regulations of rideshare companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.

"They're totally unfair competition," said cab driver Jonathan Khin, a 20-year cabbie who came to San Francisco decades ago from Burma. "They don't have to pay regulations and fees that we do."

The drivers complaints over the rideshares, known legally as Transportation Network Companies, were many: the TNCs don't provide adequate insurance for drivers, don't have the number of cars regulated (like cabs are), and don't have to pay regulatory fees that cabs currently pay. This all leads to an uneven playing field, and the taxi cab industry is getting creamed.

Read more »

Insurance Commissioner to CPUC: Tech "rideshare" companies must provide insurance

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Rideshare companies must provide their drivers with insurance. That was the gist of a public letter released today from the California Insurance Commission, addressed to the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates transportation network companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.Read more »

Is Airbnb's day of reckoning in SF on its way?

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The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office is finally preparing to take action against the illegal short-term housing rentals facilitated by Airbnb, something we’ve been hearing that the Examiner also reports in today’s issue, an action that would address the company’s apparent stall tactics.Read more »

Into thin air

"Shareable housing" is causing apartments to vanish from SF's rental market — yet popular, profitable sites like Airbnb violate local laws

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By Steven T. Jones and Parker Yesko

Airbnb is an audacious corporation, particularly in San Francisco, the city where it's headquartered and where its business model works best. This city is tech-savvy and popular with tourists, but hotels here are expensive, while rent-controlled apartments are still affordable, creating a strong incentive to rent those rooms at a profit through Airbnb.Read more »

What's ours?

A brief exchange with Collaborative Lab's Lauren Anderson

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The term "collaborative consumption" was coined way back in 1978, but the 2010 book What's Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman and Ron Rogers is credited with popularizing the idea, mostly in a tech industry context. The book raises some interesting questions — Botsman's insights into how exposing more of ourselves online actually builds trust rather than depletes it are especially revelatory, and the library-like digital tracking system set up to trace the book itself as it's lent, borrowed, or swapped is pretty rad. Read more »