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Review Questions and Answers

Use this topic here if you have any questions or comments about Airbnb’s policy on reviews. I’ll do my best to answer the question both with my personal opinion and the response you’ll get when calling into support so you aren’t going into the call with csr blindly.

I have been a super host for 3 years and have over 250 5 star reviews. I don’t really sweat an occasion bad review but I recently got a review that disclosed that the host lives below the suite. He gave me 3 stars.

In the listing it states that there is a person living below but for safety sake I don’t want them to know it’s me. I almost always say hello (once I feel comfortable) but not always. I have asked Airbnb to remove just the sentence about him disclosing that I’m living there. I have escalated it but they refuse. I have never files a claim and only one other times ask for a review to be removed because of libel and they removed it. I asked that they escalate it to the trust and safety department but that didn’t work. The review is buried now and I don’t think anyone is going to notice it but could I have approached this differently>

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Unfortunately and to be blunt, no. Nothing can be done for a guest reviewing your listing to state that the owner, or host, lives below the listed space. They are not disclosing your address or exact location for anyone who has not yet booked your property and received your listing’s address via check-in instructions. I definitely understand your concern for safety but trust and safety department will kick the request back because there is not a direct threat to your personal safety and no violation of the review content policy had occurred based on what you’ve stated.

There is no violation in policy to just ask kindly of your guests to not mention on the website that you live below the listing and if/once you’re comfortable with the new guest(s) you always reach out to say hello. Most all guests will respect your privacy/safety reasons behind this and will not say anything. I’m assuming that the guest who did say something, didn’t do so to intentionally put you in harms way but from a guest prospective, it is reassuring to hear that the owner/host lives very close and can have a prompt response time in case of an urgent matter coming up during a reservation.

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Keep in mind that reviews are never in the same order for any user. This is a marketing strategy done by the site automatically that can not be changed by any support member. You may have a guest from France that sees a 3-star review that was written in French two years ago before that same user sees a five-star review written yesterday. In the same breath, as many hosts have came to understand, guests rarely actually read the entire listing page in detail let alone the details of a review so I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

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What is in your opinion the best way to respond to a bad review particularly one which the host deems to be spiteful and designed to put off future guests?
Is it:

  1. Ask AirBnB to remove it which they won’t in most cases.
  2. ignore it totally so it will get buried and not attract attention
  3. briefly rebut it but don’t go into details
  4. apologise with some obvious boilerplate like: “Sorry your experience was not what you expected…” even if it was the guests fault and just say the issue has been addressed
  5. provide a point by point rebuttal knowing that it can take three sentences (or one very long one) to address a single point the guest has made like “the owner was rude because we hadn’t checked out on time”.

Thanks for giving us your CSR insights.

For what it’s worth @JamJerrupSunset, you know what I’m going to say - #1.

Many hosts are working with small profit margins so any time taken up by responding to reviews is eating even further into their profits. (And is bad for their mental health!)

I’ll be interested to see what @TheInsider has to say though…

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0 = true most of the time under almost all circumstances
1= a review doesn’t get “buried”. ever. Each review is seen in a different order by each guest based on location, search criteria, etc.
2= respond to give your side of story but don’t snoop to their level
3= typically the best and most professional response under most circumstances
4= don’t waste your time with that much detail responding to a review. #1 it’s going to their level and showing other guests that you’ll likely dispute their stay in some regard too and #2 most guests don’t read an entire listings details, let alone the review response from owner.

Beg to differ.

@Lynick4442 has a legitimate concern. Unless you have only 3 or so photos and all are from the bowels of your listed space, you can readily find most U.S. urban, small-town and suburban hosts – probably 98% – via a bit of Internet forensics, language clues and public records.

For ex. –

Had a “person” – not a booked guest – show up on my front door once after writing me a letter, again, to my real address not disclosed in the listing. This person had run me down via forensics … Which I’ve taken some steps to counter.

EDIT TO CLARIFY:

This person WANTED TO STAY WITH ME, and was unknown to me entirely, but had tracked me down to stay off-platform based on clues in my listing.

@KKC ^ now I think I see where I was a bit unclear.

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OTOH, there are many ways people can get your address and get to your door. In my town property records are public and online. What is it that someone on Airbnb can do that others can’t? Come into your house if you have it set up to let them do so.

I’ll say, (with some embarrassment) but to make the point… I once sent a letter to an ex, finding an address online. This was internet era but pre-Airbnb era.

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That was official response mode from support agent if this was the topic of phone discussion. Not, in any way, disagreeing with what you say.

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@KKC, absolutely, if folks are looking up someone by name, oh hellz yeah they can find where you are.

What we have here though is a case where a host want to keep private the fact that she is the person on site living below the listing. Which could be for a number of reasons, most likely something regulatory her town has put in, but it could be anything.

@TheInsider’s statement that:

They are not disclosing your address or exact location for anyone who has not yet booked your property and received your listing’s address via check-in instructions.

… to me implies that “this particular host’s address is safe from prying eyes.” My point is, it is not.

P.S. If anyone would like, post a random link to an average non-rural AirBNB anywhere in the U.S. (Ideally with 20 or more photos, and 4 screens or more of reviews). I bet I can tell you the owner and address in 30 minutes if in Baltimore, 45 minutes in Maryland and 1 or 2 hours anywhere else.

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I agree. I’ve looked up the address of most if not all the Airbnbs I booked before I booked.

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We should offer ourselves as assets to the CIA.

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LOL. My studies/degree in Criminal Justice back in the late 70s convinced me that I don’t ever want to work in law enforcement at any level. It seems the public is now catching up and wants “criminal justice reform.”

Oh yeah.

Being totally facetious.

With that said, it should be possible to monetize an ability to go from “itty bitty clues” on an AirBNB listing to “the address.”

I think some cities are paying investigators big :dollar: :moneybag: :heavy_dollar_sign:to track down AirBNB scofflaws for ex.

I could do that. But software can probably do it cheaper.

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Hi Insider, I found the following listed on the Airbnb website about reviews:
Content that is illegal or that violates another person’s or entity’s rights, including intellectual property rights and privacy rights
a) I feel like my privacy rights were voilated

Content that is sufficient to identify a listing’s location or other content that may pose a personal safety risk to an Airbnb community member.
a) I feel like my personal safety risk has been escalated due to this review.

I’m over the bad review but it feels unauthentic to have these rules in place and then poo poo my concerns by Airbnb. Just saying.

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First, I understand where you’re coming from and how you feel on a personal level. With that said, both of these say “i feel” which are highly subjective to one’s opinion. Airbnb will never delete a review with the information of you living below listing because it doesn’t give an exact address in any way. Again, I’m not agreeing with this policy but they are very tight on what reviews are removed and the reason behind removal. I’ve had hosts call in to remove reviews that state “the owner is creepy and has sociopathic tendencies.” or “there wasn’t a damn pool!” even though the listing didn’t say anything about having one to begin with. Reason behind this is that the reviews are that of the guests own truth therefore protected. I know it’s weird and can be very frustrating but it’s just the way the policy is for now.

And always will be unless they end up with a shortage of hosts.

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