Airbnb has already spent $US8 million to fight a ballot measure in San Francisco, but now it’s taken the campaign to its own website.
San Francisco residents and hosts who visit Airbnb will soon see a new banner to “Vote No on Prop F.”
The ballot measure is a threat to the home-sharing site because it forces the startup to hand over its data to the city and limits the amount of days a host can rent their apartment in a year, effectively capping some of its growth.
Ballot measures in San Francisco are also dangerous because they cannot be undone without another public ballot measure.
Airbnb is clearly ready to step up to the fight. In a statement, Airbnb said it was “committed to defeating” the measure, and taking steps to bake it into the site itself is clearly a way to do it.
If a user is logged in, the site will detect their address (via IP or their account) and encourage them to vote no on the measure.
In addition, any confirmation email to San Francisco hosts or visitors will have information on the ballot measure and encourage people to vote no.
Silicon Valley companies have used their product to fight politics before. When Google opposed SOPA and PIPA, it placed a giant black box over its name as a Google Doodle.
Airbnb’s offensive is a little more understated, given that it will only appear to users who live in San Francisco.
“Our community is committed to defeating Proposition F, a misguided measure that circumvents the short-term rental regulations passed by the Mayor and Board of Supervisors last year. This measure will hurt San Francisco neighbourhood merchants, local tourism and the thousands of middle class people relying on home sharing to help make ends meet,” an Airbnb spokesperson said.