Facebook, Airbnb, and The European Commission: This Week’s Collaborative Economy Big 3
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Facebook Tests “Local Market” Feature to Connect Buyers and Sellers on the Network
For a select group of Facebook users, their iPhone app briefly displayed a new feature in October – “Local Market,” a buyer and seller platform to help connect Facebook members and existing “for sale” groups. The feature is only in testing, and allows users to search, browse, and post items for sale across a variety of product categories. Users can customize their own Local Market by selecting “collections” to follow, based on product type, price, or other demographic criteria. The option to cross-post to Local Market will also be available when creating status updates on Facebook, as another way to boost views and selling opportunity. When Local Market launches publicly, Facebook will be in direct competition with other local-sale companies, including Craigslist, as well as other Collaborative Economy marketplaces like Etsy. Read details on Local Market testing from TechCrunch.
Airbnb Partners with BridgeStreet to Offer 50K+ Serviced Apartments to “Airbnb for Business” Travelers
In its latest move to offer competitive service to hotel chains, Airbnb has partnered with BridgeStreet, a hospitality group with more than 50,000 mid-range and luxury apartments in 60 countries. The serviced apartments will be available to Airbnb users through its newly launched “Airbnb for Business” sub-platform, aimed at corporate travelers looking for a different type of accommodation. Also battling for the business traveler market is hospitality incumbent Marriott, announcing in October that its chain is opening more than 100 serviced apartments. This move by Airbnb and Marriott to claim the serviced apartments space shows that both understand the needs of the evolving traveler within the on-demand, Collaborative Economy, and are adapting accordingly. Find out more about the Airbnb + BridgeStreet partnership.
The European Commission Urges the EU to Embrace Sharing Economy Business Models
Late October, the EU’s executive Commission issued a statement that Europe should not shut itself off to “new business models” offered by the Collaborative Economy, including partnerships with the likes of Uber. The Commission reports that the instinct of member states is to favor traditional business models, but that new business models could lead to economic growth. These new models may include reliance on non-professional service suppliers, which often faces resistance from established European companies. Elzbieta Bienkowska, the EU Commissioner for the single market, has called for “one European approach” to sharing economy legislation, rather than a country-by-country basis. The Commission does not plan new legislation, but it said that it would provide guidance on how to apply current rules to the sharing economy. More information is available from Reuters.
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