Airbnb apologizes for its passive aggressive ads in San Francisco

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Rental site Airbnb apologized for ads in San Francisco that appeared to be complaining about the taxes the company pays, and dishing out snarky advice on how the city should spend those dollars.


Another billboard said, "Dear SF Tax Collector, You know the $12 million in hotel taxes? Don't spend it all in one place." The ads appeared this week in the lead up to the city's municipal elections on November 3rd, when voters will consider a proposition to strictly regulate Airbnb's rental system.


The reaction to the ads was not quite what the company was probably hoping for. San Francisco residents were pretty offended by the implication that it's unfair for the company to be paying taxes, and didn't like their tone:

Hey @Airbnb, why don't you try helping our community instead of "disrupting" it?

— posh spice latte 🎃 (@steph_monette) October 22, 2015


After the backlash last night, Airbnb said the ads were supposed to draw attention to what they say is around $1 million per month that the company pays in hotel taxes.


"The intent was to show the hotel tax contribution from our hosts and guests, which is roughly $1 million per month. It was the wrong tone and we apologize to anyone who was offended," the company's public affairs manager Christopher Nulty told TechCrunch. "These ads are being taken down immediately."

One irritated San Francisco resident did the math, and wanted to let the company know that their tax contribution would actually only go far enough to keep libraries open for one or two extra minutes:

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