Another of example of "Airbnb" as Proprietary Eponym

Say what you want about Airbnb; the ubiquity of their brand name can’t be argued with. I wonder what that value translates to in dollars?

The model was pioneered and popularized by Airbnb, the now-ubiquitous home-rental platform. When Airbnb started in 2008, the idea of turning your house into a crash pad, or paying a few hundred dollars to sleep in a stranger’s guest room, was still fringe. There were some full-home rental websites like V R B O at the time, but single-room rentals were an option mostly for backpackers on a budget or cash-strapped college students.

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That’s interesting. It might have been the case in the States (and maybe other countries) but in the UK (earlier though - in the last century) it was commonplace for people with a spare room to take in a lodger or ‘paying guests’ and/or do what I did and run B & B establishments if they had a spare room or rooms.

And for as long as I can remember (which is a long time!) students have congregated in assorted grim crash pads, sharing the financial load.

But yes, I guess it was Airbnb that started the online influx of the ‘sharing economy’. Although like many other things, what seems to be an up-to-date idea has actually been going on for a long time before the internet.

I’m thinking for example of the people who have been recycling for generations by collecting scrap metal and other thrown-away items. (Those much-maligned gypsies).

Airbnb has become a generic term now so it’s an excellent example of a brand name that has become a generic word for STR. (Like other brands, for example, Jacuzzi. Kleenex). It’s become a verb and a noun now. E.g. “I’m Airbnbing my spare room” and 'My Airbnb is in New York". Pretty good going for only eleven years.


I see what you did there, you hoovered up all the brand names, and next you’ll be asking for this topic to be scotch taped as a sticky, a little bit like a virtual post it note. Or maybe even velcroed as opposed to being sellotaped :slight_smile:

Maybe if it gets a bit out of date you could tippex it over, just before someone Xerox’s it and add it to another forum, so it becomes a bit of a frisbee. Maybe if we wanted it preserved for prosperity we could take a polaroid of it…

Ok, I’ll get my coat anorak!



I just pressed the heart button to like your post but it’s simply not enough! :heart: :heart: :heart:


Ditto! So funny @JohnF

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I had to look up tippex (Tipp-Ex).

I dunno about pioneered - even as a kid my family rented out other people’s homes and condos, and even in 2008ish my friends and I were still using VRBO (I think?) to rent homes and condos as well. Also, AirBNB didn’t start as a home rental site in 2008, they started out as essentially a couch-surfing platform (for developers attending conferences in San Fran). I don’t think it took them long to expand, but still - their actual original intention was vastly different from it is today.

Agree with the rest of the article though - they definitely popularized it (for better or worse)!

This makes me wish I was back in university and could learn all about how they took over the space in marketing class :slight_smile:

If anyone is interested, this podcast on the founding of AirBNB is a good quick listen:

I just posted an excerpt, maybe this gives a better context:

a growing number of startups forging new rental marketplaces for luxuries like boats, extra bedrooms, or backyard space. Call it the sublet economy. Everything you own can become an source of extra income, and everything you want to rent can be leased from a friendly stranger.

The model was pioneered and popularized by …

I do agree that Airbnb popularized renting your things out and showed how it could be easily done. I still give ebay the credit for pioneering a peer to peer internet economy and demonstrating that the key to making it work is mutual reviews.

But it doesn’t matter if Kleenex was the first tissue or if Oreo was the the first chocolate sandwich cookie.

I could be wrong though, as I don’t know a lot about the business field.

Actually, the first thing that came to mind when I read the OP was “No, that was eBay!”

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Yes I know! I read the article as well - sorry if I didn’t make that clear :slight_smile:

To me, “pioneered” implies “did it first” which AirBNB definitely did not. But they did change the way it was done. They did something right and crushed Homeaway/VRBO. That’s the part I’d love to know more about!

Creating a platform for the rental of spare rooms instead of entire home listings, perhaps? It seems to me it grew from rooms to separate living space to entire homes (and now, hotel rooms).