Vacation rental service Airbnb proves this week that you can run a streamlined community-driven business and respond to its users’ gripes on a friendly case-by-case basis, contrary to what Facebook would like you to believe.
Facebook has been slammed countless times in the past for running an automated content-blocking filter that enables homophobes to effectively ban harmless LGBT-related content and the users who post it. Rather than respond to complaints individually, Facebook relies on a robot to make a judgement call on what is “appropriate” on the site.
But that’s not how Airbnb rolls, apparently. Though they operate under similar terms of service as Facebook, an Airbnb customer service agent named “Kristi L.” personally responded to a less-than-humble photo posted on the site this week, proving a little human compassion and friendly interaction can go a long way.
The photo in question (above) was posted by legendary New York event producer Daniel Nardicio on a page advertising his Fire Island cabana rental. It shows two go-go boys standing in the shower that comes with the property.
Kristi L. writes Daniel:
I hope this message finds you well! My name is Kristi and I’m a specialist with the Trust and Safety Team here at Airbnb.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that official introduction out of the way, your (admittedly, mesmerizing for my tastes) photo for this listing: [link] has garnered more attention than may be warranted for the listing itself. I’m a writer of m/m erotica and was very, um, pleased to see your photo, but I think it may be just outside of our current realm in terms of general non-risqué photos for listings. Again, not saying that I personally didn’t think it was captivating, but if you didn’t mind putting up a photo less visually – compelling – while still keeping the verbiage, some of us will sigh with disappointment, but it will also fit more soundly in our Terms of Service.
If you didn’t mind dropping me a line when you insert a different photo, I’d be grateful. Also, if you happen to know any friends with ringleted red hair, please let me know; my most recent writing submission could use a book cover.
In all seriousness (and the book cover part was serious!), I’m so glad you’re hosting with us, just want to ensure that the preliminary photos are showing more of the listing.
My warm regards,
“In my line of work, I often get asked to tone things down a little,” Daniel tells Queerty, “but this by far is the best, kindest and funniest customer service letter I’ve gotten! Kristi L is an Airbnb employee I want to have a drink with!”
Customer service gold star for Airbnb right here! Somebody please get Kristi a raise, and more importantly, a hot ginger boy for the cover of her novel.