A campaign to support Airbnb to continue operating in New York City has now attracted over 200,000 supporters.
It has now set a target of 250,000 supporters on its petition to the New York Senate.
The campaign was started by a New York host on the sharing economy support site Peers, and was later emailed around Airbnb’s membership by the site’s management.
However, the Peers site was co-founded by Airbnb’s global head of community Douglas Atkin, leading some to accuse the site of astroturfing support for its cause.
The San Francisco-based site allows travellers to book short-term stays in houses, flats or rooms with hosts. It has expanded rapidly over the last two years backed by hundreds of millions of dollars of funding. An average of 150,000 people a night now stay somewhere through Airbnb.
It has run into trouble with regulatory bodies in New York, where it is illegal in 2010 to rent out residential space for less than 30 days.
Co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk told the Washington Post that he was ‘very optimistic’ about the New York situation.
He said: “What we find is, once we meet with cities and we share some of the positive impacts they may not have thought of, and structure the conversation around what are their concerns, we usually get through this. Some good examples are, in Amsterdam earlier this year, it had similar issues as New York.
Quebec has also started questioning the site’s practice of allowing people to rent out their flats for short periods of time.