New York Magazine's Jay Hathaway takes a closer look at a recent report that accuses Airbnb of "Photoshopping" its data in order to conceal the true number of members hosting multiple rentals—a potential violation of short-term housing laws in its largest market, New York City.
In December, the company released a set of numbers in response to criticism from New York City council members. Portrayed as a snapshot of a typical day for Airbnb in the city, the company claimed only 10% of local hosts were listing multiple rentals (or as the council sees them, illegal hotels.) However, a counter-report from sharing-economy skeptics Murray Cox and Tom Slee claim that just before that date, Airbnb purged 1,000 local listings, including multi-listings.
The upshot is that while 19% of the listings were “multi-listings” for most of the year, the figure was only 10% on that day in November. Cox and Slee say it’s already going back up after the purge, and now sits at around 13%.