The Real Deal New York

Tale of two tech companies: NYC welcomes Uber, while Airbnb faces new restrictions

Airbnb's adversaries are more sophisticated than Uber's, according to experts
October 27, 2016 09:45AM

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, airbnb founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky and an Uber car

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky and an Uber car

In a tale of two tech companies, Uber is seeing the best of times while Airbnb is perhaps about to see the worst.

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law that will impose fines of up to $7,500 for listing illegal short-term rentals on Airbnb. The company immediately filed a lawsuit against state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city seeking to block the measure. Meanwhile, another tech giant that faced similar political hurdles, Uber, is thriving in New York.

According to Politico, the difference in the two companies’ experience comes down to two main factors: Airbnb’s adversaries are more sophisticated than Uber’s and are also viewed by the general public as more sympathetic. Uber has shown more of a willingness to compromise with regulators.

Uber’s biggest opponent was the taxi medallion owners. Airbnb, on the other hand, has faced off with affordable housing advocates and the Hotels Trades Council, the union that represents hotel workers. (Airbnb also attempted to work with the Real Estate Board of New York, but talks collapsed after Airbnb ran ads against a politician REBNY supported.)

Uber has also agreed to considerable regulations in the city, making it more of a black-car service than a ride-sharing company. There’s a perception among lawmakers, however, that Airbnb hasn’t been as willing to compromise.

“Uber engages with regulators and complies with regulation,” City Council member Ben Kallos said. “And Airbnb does whatever it wants in violation of the law.” [Politico]Kathryn Brenzel