News for May 22 2012

Airbnb damage guarantee•Air seating fees•Viral video•Facebook bad press•Googlerola•Flames & Lasers


Airbnb’s new “host guarantee” covers damage to hosts’ property up to $1M at no charge. Airbnb started offering $50,000 of property damage coverage following the well-publicized trashing of a host’s apartment last year. While Airbnb’s initial offering was a reactive response to bad situation, the new coverage (albeit limited) can serve to differentiate Airbnb as a trusted intermediary in the rapidly growing person-to-person travel rental segment. Intermediaries like Airbnb started as a means to reduce the search and advertising costs of the people involved, but it makes sense that such intermediaries can also provide value by insuring risk as part of the transaction. I predict that most of the intermediaries in the market segment will eventually offer some sort of risk insurance. Competition will ensure it.

Add one more annoying fee to the increasing list of options airlines have figured out they can charge extra for. Want to sit next to your family? That will be extra. The way it’s going, base fare will get you a middle seat and anything else will be extra. Does it really have to be this way?

USA Today Travel

Yesterday, I included an item that mentioned several new roller coasters. This article goes into white-knuckle detail, with pictures, on some significant advances in the state of the art. Quote: “The technology and design have evolved more in the last couple of years than they have in the last 20.”


Our traveling friend Joel Oleson has gone viral. In the last 24 hours, his video of a baby Antarctic penguin crawling on his face has been featured on Good Morning America, ABC News, Yahoo!, the Huffington Post (UK), CBS news and more. It’s interesting to read his post on the analytics he’s used to track the viral progress of the video.

Traveling Epic



The press coverage of Facebook’s IPO was brutal today and the stock fell another 7%, closing at 31.68.

 Google completes the acquisition of Motorola Mobility and becomes a hardware vendor. How will its Android licensees feel about competing in the device market against the company that’s providing their operating system?

Just one more: As a homeowner with a large lot, I’ve always wanted one of these flame weeders, because as any guy worth his XY chromosomes intuitively knows, a 500,000 BTU torch has to be a superior method of controlling weeds. (My wife, of course, doesn’t get it…But I digress.)

However, this new development promises to revolutionize the practice of weed killing—with lasers…


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