Airbnb is an App/website that allows strangers to rent their homes out to other strangers as vacation rentals. Regardless of which end of the transaction one is on, users of Airbnb share an implicit sense of trust and I believe this is a result of the crowdsourcing dynamic this website relies on. Merriam-Webster defines crowdsourcing as “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content, by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers”. As someone who has used Airbnb a multitude of times, I can confidently confirm that this App exemplifies crowdsourcing because it relies and requires contributions from all of its users.
When someone wants to rent out their property through Airbnb, the site requires the host to post pictures from the inside and the outside. The host is also required to provide the number of rooms, amenities offered, and all of the other details a typical hotel would provide. After someone rents the property, that guest is also required to fill out a detailed survey. Throughout the survey, the guest answers questions regarding the accuracy of the host’s descriptions, their overall experience, and ultimately give the host and their property a rating out of five stars. Similarly, the host is required to write a review on how the guest left the property and whether or not they were clean, caused any damages, other general reviews, and the host also gives a rating out of five stars. The more someone uses Airbnb, the more reviews they will receive. With more reviews, other users can get a sense of which hosts and which guests are trustworthy and ideal to do business with. Furthermore, it naturally weeds out those who are dishonest hosts and bad guests.
Airbnb is a successful crowdsourcing site because its users are not only constantly contributing and updating the site but also the average user is not employed by Airbnb (it is fair to assume that some employees use this website, however for the sake of this argument, the overwhelming majority of users are not employed by the site). Last year, Airbnb boasted 100 million users, which evidently speaks to the effectiveness of its crowdsourcing (Expanded Ramblings). Furthermore, this website is exclusively digital, seeing as it can only be accessed via computer, smartphone, or tablet. This site is successful and reaps the benefits of crowdsourcing because everyday people are the ones using it; this concept makes the website more trustworthy because users can relate to one another. Airbnb has created a community that relies on its users to be the spokespeople for their own experiences, which can be easily translated into any other experience. As it has been said before, this is a successful crowdsourcing site because while everyone inherently has their best interests in mind, they subsequently are looking out for all of the other users. Therefore, every update by each user is new data that contributes to the efficacy of this site.