I used to think AirBNB was cool, but now that Thomas Friedman has slurped it in the Times, I'm not so sure. One interesting thing in the piece was how the AirBNB founder confuses his company's revenue with new economic activity.
Surely most of AIRBNB's revenues are actually just diversion, no? I'd guess that at least 75% of their revenue is just diverted from hotel/motel revenue.
This is a common mistake. "look how much NAFTA increased trade", "Look how much the new stadium will boost the local economy" are examples of this kind of erroneous thinking.
Creation vs. diversion is an important and often overlooked distinction.
I just had a great stay in an AirBNB property in Brooklyn, but the Staten Island Hilton Garden Inn lost the revenue that AirBNB generated.