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Does Paul Graham Understand PR?

July 30, 2011 21:42:50.000

A while back, Airbnb (a "rent your home to strangers" service) had a nasty incident where some grifters took advantage of a user of the system and robbed her blind. I read about that on TechCrunch - and they asked Airbnb what they were going to do for the customer. When he got an equivocal answer, he said the understandable thing: they weren't guaranteeing any compensation at all. To which Graham responded:

The story Arrington wrote yesterday about Airbnb not offering to help was bullshit. He asked a company spokesman what Airbnb was doing to help her. The spokesman, who’d been told by their lawyers that he couldn’t go into detail about that because of the precedent said “I can’t comment on that.” So Arrington, in typical Arrington fashion said “Well, unless you tell me I’m going to write that you’re not willing to do anything for her.” And he did. Really not cool. I’ve talked to the Airbnb guys and they are already doing everything they could be doing to help this woman.

Well. I can only assume that Graham hasn't even heard of PR. When something bad happens to a customer, and the PR staff are only willing to come back with blather, what the heck does he expect?

posted by James Robertson

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