I tried to send a question to an AirBnB host before making a reservation. The web site would not let me proceed with any question or reservation without posting a photo.

I do not post photos of myself, for privacy, and the company should offer an opt-out or an option to skip posting a photo. I could not get help either.

So, I was unable to ask question or make any reservation, which is the business that AirBnb is supposed to be in. AirBnB was easy and pleasant when it started, but now it seems to have become one of those companies where you never encounter a human being or a telephone number.

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Raleigh, North Carolina, United States #651826

I require an online photo and offer one of myself. While you cannot see all the bad things a person might have to offer from a photo, you can, however, see if the information you are being given matches up with the visual appearance.

For example, I once had a potential guest ask to stay with me who claimed he was in his 20s. The photo showed an gentleman who was at least as old, if not older, than my mother.

I'm not ageist and wouldn't have minded hosting him if he were 110 years old, but the fact that he is asking for my trust in opening up my home and putting at risk my safety when he cannot even be trusted to either list his correct birthdate or display his correct photo showed that this was not an equal exchange of trust.

Anonymous in Boston - Please take the time to consider the trust that you are asking of someone just like yourself, only with a guest room as those are the majority of the hosts on AirBNB. The website is a big corporate thing, but all that big corporate thing does is maintain a database. When you find a room that you like, you are looking at a room owned by a person who is just as protective of his or her privacy and safety as you are. Would you walk in to the home of someone that you only knew an online monicker of? I hope not. I hope you'd insist on some sort of identifying details.

So, while you might not be able to contact each and every host that you want, based on their preferences for putting a face with a request, I hope that you do offer some proof of identity or human personality in your requests and questions to those hosts you are able to contact.


To Anonymous from Boston. I am an airbnb host.

The way it works on airbnb is the host gets to determine how much information about themselves a guest has to include on his or her profile before the host will consider accepting them as guests. Many hosts require face pictures of the guests before they will consider taking a reservation from them. It might be silly or illogical because you can't judge a book by its cover, but it is reasonable to allow hosts the right to determine how they will determine whether they want perfect strangers staying at their place. They are not running hotels that have security.

You probably could not send a message to the host because that host required guests to have a picture posted. If you don't like it, you should go to a hotel. Nobody is forcing you to use airbnb.

And given that you are online complaining about the site because of that, makes me think you will have complaints about everything. You should probably just stay at a Holiday Inn.


Anonymous, to be honest, airbnb probably isn't for you. I host on airbnb, and the first thing I do when I get a reservation request is go look at the person's profile.

I want to see something about the person so I know who I'm allowing into my home. If a potential guest didn't have a photo, I'd assume they were brand new to the site, and I'd ask them to complete their profile including verifying their phone number and connecting to facebook or linkedin so I could be reassured they have SOME sort of online history that confirms they are who they say they are. (For the record: I can't see your phone number or full name until I've accepted a reservation from you, and I can't see your facebook or linked in profile even then. But your profile would indicate that you had verified your phone number and a facebook or linkedin account and it would list how many contacts you had on those accounts -- not a perfect way to 100% prove you are who you say you are as you could with some work probably set up dummy accounts and phone numbers, but it's reassuring to see that someone has a linkedin account with 120 contacts.) Ditto if a potential guest has a photo but no reviews yet -- I'd want to see they'd verified their accounts.

I'm inviting strangers into my home to sleep in the bedroom next to mine; it would be silly of me to just throw open the door to ANYONE.

If posting a photo online is more risk than you're comfortable with, I assume you also don't have a facebook or linkedin account. So you don't have any way to prove to a potential host that you are who you say you are, and you'd probably have a hard time getting reservation requests accepted.

to Val Miami, Florida, United States #579889

val you sound like an advertisement for Airbnb. You sound like you are working in PR, I believe it could br true as dishonest behavior is part of the root of what was wrong with Airbnb, i have a big surprise coming , saddle up boys and girls

to Val Naples, Florida, United States #684810

Val,can you somehow imagine that there are people who don't have a face book account,like me, or a linkedin what I don't even know what that is.

I'm new to airbrb and I too think that their varification is over the top.

You have my credit card info ,my SS,my address,my picture,I answered several question only I could know ,exchanged E-mails with the host,they run my CC and didn't gave my booking to the host till i also provide a 30 second video,that is over the top ,period!

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