Not every sharing start-up is a good idea. A sharing magazine I follow just wrote up this newish app/service called Easynest, which enables people to split hotel rooms. With strangers. So I checked out their site. And I don’t like it, not one bit.
The press (NY Times! HuffPo. Etc.) has already noted some of the problems– no verification process, no insurance if your roommate fails to show, the general creepiness of something that reads as half hookup/ half cost-saving…
Also disturbing: no trace of who’s behind it. The NY Times and crew did not manage to ferret this info out either, quoting the “statements” of nameless “founders” as posted on the website. (Quality journalism, kids.) The thing claims to be a San Francisco start-up, but all the updates on their Facebook page show as having been posted in Hong Kong (yes, I realize this is not necessarily a contradiction). The look of the site is clearly airbnb knock-off design, and then there’s this tasty advertising morsel:
Cringe. “Rob” from the “USA.” Uh-huh. Sure.
Some of the kind words said about the service mention that it’s a great idea for popular conferences or events: attendees can cut costs by splitting hotel rooms and get a chance to develop a closer relationship. But why do I need to pay a service fee to Easynest for this? I’d much rather be invited to connect through the conference/event website with fellow attendees (which a good number of the events I attend are already doing).
This is part of a general trend of the real collaborative, community- and commons-based movement that is the Sharing Universe being usurped by profit-driven entities.
(Also on my shit list of share fails is the Leftover Swap app– although at least with it the dude behind it has a name and a twitter account… But Leftover Swapping? Really!? Monetizing the other half of your sandwich? That’s just gross AND greedy. Yes, I know all about the amount of food that is wasted in wealthy countries, the US in particular, and there are some smart solutions underway to tackle that issue. Of which Leftover Swap is not one.)
These kinds of enterprises are not going to help us gain wide acceptance of sharing or make sharing sexy, which we need to do.