The ads being put out by the Hotel Association of New York City are cynical at best, and that is being kind. I understand the problems that airbnb is causing for them as an industry, but backing an ad campaign that suggests your rivals are connected to terrorism seems not only irresponsible, but also insulting to both airbnb and anyone that has been a victim of terrorism.
Smear campaigns rarely work in the way people intend – just because you make someone else look dirty it doesn’t necessarily mean you are suddenly going to start being placed on a pedestal, and you are the one who often looks bad. Why do you feel the need to sling mud, can’t you win it on a level playing field?
Politics has long used the tactic to lessen the appeal of rivals, and this last election took it to new lows. but a lot of people grew weary of that whole approach. It detracted from the issues, and it detracted from the policies, and it allowed rational debate to be replaced with a game of how loud can someone shout over their opponent. For a lot of people the person shouting in a way that shuts down their opponent looks worse.
Maybe behind the decision to put this message out there, there was something less inflammatory that might have been a valid point. The use of hyperbolic, or just plain false, statements, just doesn’t seem like it is going to end anywhere good. Airbnb is doing the same to hotels as Uber and Lyft are doing to Taxis, and these established institutions don’t like it. The thing is, people have a right to spend their money how they want to spend it, and the model is proving helpful to house owners and people using their properties.
Microsoft basing Apple always kind of bugged me; I don’t expect a rival to necessarily be full of compliments, but I don’t think it it odd to want them to just focus on their own plus points and leave the sniping alone. Certain things about an electronic product recommend it: software or service bundles, or the hardware. The same is true of using an airbnb over a hotel room. Isn’t choice meant to be a cornerstone of the free market economy?