Securing Trust in a P2P World

As a fellow P2P company, we feel compelled to join the conversation around Airbnb member EJ’s tragic experience. For those of you who haven’t heard the story, a San Francisco Airbnb host came home to find her apartment and, consequently her life, devastated after a renter’s “stay.” Read her heart wrenching account here.

There are countless articles highlighting Airbnb’s failure to respond appropriately to this incident. As a result of the media frenzy, on Monday Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky announced the company’s new security policies that will serve to prevent and better address future misfortunes like this one. Some of these policies include:

  • $50,000 max insurance coverage for property damage
  • 24/7 customer hotline
  • Verified profiles

While it’s great that these and other security measures will now be in place, the move begs an interesting question: why did it take a tragedy to implement them?

What’s great about P2P companies is that they’re helping rebuild trusted communities both online and off. At the same time, that hopeful vision we all share needs to be tempered a bit by reality; not everyone is trustworthy and the vast reach of the Internet makes weeding people out even more complex. That’s why we’re proud to say that from the start, security and combatting misuse has been our number one priority at JustShareIt. The policies that Airbnb is establishing after three years of operation are already baked into our about-to-launch business.

Trust is a precious thing. Once it’s won, relationships can flourish. But it’s important that P2P companies enabling these connections give their members and users the tools to forge these bonds safely and securely, especially since many of the goods being shared are expensive.

Our hearts go out to EJ for the catastrophe that was bestowed upon her. EJ, if you’re reading, we hope that your experience has not soured your relationship with P2P companies. As a small token of our sympathy, we’d love to welcome you into our budding community with a $100 driving credit (if you meet our security standards, of course…).

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