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Peers.org launches to support the sharing economy

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The sharing economy has grown massively over the past few years, with companies such as Lyft and AirBnB making big waves in their respective industries.  Earlier this year, Altimeter released a flagship report documenting the rise of what they termed the collaborative economy.

This week saw the launch of a new non-profit organisation that is styling itself as an advocate for this burgeoning industry.  The group, called Peers.org, can count the likes of AirBnB, Lyft, Taskrabbit and Vayable amongst its 22 launch partners.

Peers aims to support the sharing industry in three main ways:

  • Mainstream the sharing economy By raising the profile and visibility of sharing
  • Protect the sharing economy Through policy campaigns for smart regulation
  • Grow the sharing economy By discovering, joining and using new peer and sharing services

The second point is particularly interesting given the moves against AirBnB by New York hoteliers earlier this year.  Hoteliers in the city started lobbying officials to make the site illegal on the grounds that they users were often renting out their spare rooms for less than 30 days each year.

Peers director Natalie Foster has been adamant that they are not a lobbying organisation for the industry, but nevertheless it seems inevitable that this will be a large part of their role.  It also seems that given their heavy industry backing that they will be primarily looking out for the platforms and marketplaces that dominate this space rather than the individual users that help to make it thrive.

I’m not entirely sure this industry needs such a body acting on its behalf, but it certainly be an interesting body to follow over the coming year.

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