Airbnb releases NYC data (sort of)

Trove is available by appointment only, at the company's office
December 01, 2015 02:15PM

After years of holding their cards close to their chests, Airbnb executives in New York are inviting would-be analysts to the company’s offices to peruse its user data.

The firm, in the midst of a push for political acceptance in the city, made available anonymized information about the length of time that units are rented, as well as the amount of money made by hosts.

The data — only available through an appointment at Airbnb’s New York office — will allow analysts to assess the legality and economic impact of the service, which hosts over 2 million listings in 34,000 cities worldwide. 

Of those, 35,966 were in New York, according to the New York Daily News.

Airbnb, valued at $25.5 billion, is by far the largest player in the online short term rental market. The company promised to release data after clashing with members of the City Council last month, the New York Times reported.

Airbnb is fighting three bills currently making their way through the city that would increase penalties and strengthen disclosure rules related to the company’s service.

The firm has been criticized for enabling some of its users to violate the city’s subleasing law, which forbids subleases of fewer than 30 days unless the owner or lawful tenant is present for the duration of the stay. Critics have also cited so-called “commercial hosts” on the site, whose units are rented so frequently as to render them de-facto hotels, removed from the local rental market.

In October, The Real Deal attempted to quantify the effect of “commercial hosts” on various neighborhoods’ rent using information scraped from the company’s website by independent data site Inside Airbnb. [NYT] Ariel Stulberg