The stealth PR crisis: Airbnb and #ransackgate—what you need to know

Startup Airbnb bungled a PR crisis and finally apologized for the screw-up. Here, the author explains the crisis and why PR pros were slow to latch on to this story.

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This one comes by way of the Quixotic, pie-in-the-sky Silicon Valley startup Airbnb, which enables people to rent their apartments, bedrooms, even living room floors to complete strangers, with little to no background check of that person’s character.

Think about how absurd that concept sounds.

The crisis in question involved a San Francisco woman, known only as EJ, who blogged that she was the victim of a heinous property crime by a guest who arranged to stay there through Airbnb. In what is being called “#ranscackgate,” Airbnb has, perhaps not surprisingly, totally flubbed its response.

EJ followed up her original post with one claiming that Airbnb tried to persuade her to remove the post and that the company failed to adequately address the issue.

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