We need privacy regarding business

Dear Team,

I am not comfortable with my neighbors or the entire town knowing my business, or that I rent my home out.

With these public reviews, it seems as if any Old’ Joe off the web can look up my past feedbacks from customers, decide they don’t like music coming from my house, and file a complaint against me.

Peerspace needs to keep reviews private and only available to registered users. Also, it should not mention that if you register that you can see all the feedback and ratings. Otherwise everyone will just know they can register and all you need is an email address to be verified.

I’d like to keep my business private and not open to the public. We hosts need this option. Thank you.

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Disagree.

If you want to keep your business private, you probably shouldn’t be on Peerspace. The vast majority of locations listed here – at least for film/photo productions – are dedicated businesses, not private homes. Your idea would kill my inquiries.

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I’m not sure how it would kill your inquiries. Your space is in demand, people will sign up if interested, they have to either way, to contact you.

Again, they already have to sign up to contact you.

But the public displayed feedback… I’d prefer there were an option that privately conducted business deals are not available to the public.

Having the option would make a huge positive impact for the site. The reality is, most people want privacy of their business affairs from the public. And with public displayed feedback, any Joe knows exactly who did what in your yard and for how much.

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I agree. I bend over backwards to have as small an impact/footprint on my neighbors as possible. I’m very successful with that but the large numbers of public reviews effectively sabotages my efforts and discourages me from taking more bookings on PeerSpace. I could do lots more small engagement/wedding/influencer shoots but don’t want to look like I’m overdoing it by having too many reviews. Nothing good can come from having the details of my bookings placed into the public domain.

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Whether or not you have your reviews on Peerspace, it’s fairly likely that in time your neighbors will know what you are doing. If you have the nosy, complaining type of neighbor, they will probably figure it out. If they call the police for excessive noise, for example, the police will poke their heads in. If your neighbors know enough to look on Peerspace, they probably know enough anyhow. So . . . I really don’t think it makes much difference one way or another. Also, at times, the crew may want to get a permit. If they do that, the neighbors will be advised. Personally, I live next door to a +&^^*(^Jp who will do whatever he can to get me in trouble. So, I must get permits. He hasn’t figured it out because I am on Peerspace. He figured it out because he spies on me. So, if your neighbors are easy going, you have nothing to worry about. If they are like mine, again, your listings on Peerspace will make little difference.

Ultimately, reviews are bad for a service like this. If you have a bad client, it turns into a he said, she said situation that can harm your business.

Case and point, I have a guest here now that has repeatedly bugged (pun) me about this alleged fly ‘infestation’.

She’s running around with a reflector and repeatedly texting me about it.

So I came out to inspect and it turns out there is ONE FLY in my home right now. They fessed up and admitted that there weren’t swarms. They’re claiming two or three flies, but we only found the one.

But I heard her use the word 'infestation, which is probably what’s going to go into a review.

My point here is that reviews are fairly baloney. I’ve read other hosts’ reviews and have seen one or two star reviews given because a building elevator that the host has no control over was broken.

I once got a one star review (that was removed) calling me a racist (against my own ethnicity) because I charged them overtime…which they used.

You end up with Karens or precious, entitled people who think they’re going to get a refund or a prize if they leave a nasty review.

Hosts end up sucking up to bad guests out of fear that they’re going to receive a negative review.

Instead, the star rating system should be replaced by ‘recommend’ or ‘do not recommend’, with no other words. Just show the percentage recommended. It’s a more ‘grown up’ and sophisticated method, I think.

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If you rent out a home as a business, either get a business tax certificate, or it’s not a business and you should expect your neighbors to reasonably and lawfully complain about noise and other impacts to the neighborhood.

There is a reason we have zoning laws and residential districts with noise and use ordinances. Those of us with event centers and film studios have had to go through a lot of red tape, file a lot of paperwork, get inspections, and pay for permits to operate our businesses…have you? Did your fire department inspect and post occupancy? Do you have commercial liability insurance? What have you done to earn the right to be concerned about your neighbors complaints?

If your home is indeed a business…you still have no right to privacy regarding reviews of your space unless you have agreements with your customers to uphold some level of privacy. Being in business is being open to public scrutiny - you’re trading certain privacies for the right to sell things to people. That right is not inalienable. Technically, if you don’t have a business license and permission from your city to rent your home out as an event center (or conduct any business at all) you are breaking local, state, AND federal law so either way, your complaint that your neighbors might complain about noise and damage your revenue is legally and ethically irrelevant.

1 Like

Respectfully,
Businesses in several cities (including Los Angeles) do not require business licenses for most business types and many do not require or offer fire inspections in order to hang a shingle.

I do agree though that everyone needs insurance. I just had a 3 month old, $1300 broken television covered by insurance and could not be happier, even after paying the deductible.

But I digress - every city has different requirements and in many cases the path to operating a home based business is actually easier than in a commercial space.

But the difference is that a home based business should have an additional layer of privacy. The reason is that children live in homes; families live in homes.

While I doubt anything will change and we can argue that this is the risk of operating a business, the truth is that reviews can be personally damaging.

My own experience with a psycho guest who left a negative review because I charged him overtime was that in one of his reviews, he gave personal information about my family; my father, my son and my fiancee, who have nothing to do with my business.

He made racial remarks about each of them and attempted to call others to action against us.
Is my family fair game for review attacks, or should I shutter my business and be unemployed?

Unfortunately, I have to work from home. My fiancee is pregnant with a complicated pregnancy and our son is a toddler who has to do school online via Zoom. She can’t work a traditional job because he’s required to go to school and I can’t work outside of home because of the risk that I could bring COVID back to my fiancee’s mother, who has cancer (also, I don’t think a traditional job would pay me anywhere close to what I make as a business owner). Jake and Maria can go to her mother’s (in our COVID bubble) when I host and since my other business is a commercial photographer, I work from home with that too. It’s absolutely perfect.

But more privacy IS needed for the safety of hosts’ families.

Everyone’s situation is different and we should work on finding a good solution.

I do agree with Deacon that we are held hostage to bad reviews. I have so often read on this forum of hosts letting guests get away with murder because they fear bad reviews. But it’s the way of internet business nowadays, so I guess we just have to accept it. However, on of the problems with Peerspace is that we are not given the opportunity to respond to bad reviews to set the record straight. The good new is–talking to many guests–one or two bad reviews among a sea of good ones are generally ignored. Everyone knows that in this internet climate, there is always going to someone who is unhappy.

3 Likes

I agree with you. We all have different neighbors. No need for everyone to know my business.

Very well said. I agree. I hate reviews for the reasons you listed.

Absolutely. Not only are most review comments irrelevant, people take off stars for reasons that either have nothing to do with the booking, or things they would have seen if they had actually read the listing.

Today I received a review where they knocked off a star and said “Would book again :slight_smile: parking was a little difficult”

Last time I checked, I wasn’t renting parking. The review has nothing to do with my job as a host or my space. It’s not likely to cost me bookings, but it’s a dumb review and it muddies the waters of Peerspace with irrelevant pointless comments. It would be like knocking off a point because the weather was bad, or because they didn’t like a song on the radio.

I pointed this out to the guest and he responded with “not liking your response. I’m going to see if I can change my review” (presumably to a lower review, out of revenge).

My listing states:

“There are dozens of free four hour street parking spots right in front of our building, but be aware that these are first come, first serve and not guaranteed. There are also several paid parking lots right across the street from us as well. If you have a crew with multiple vehicles, you will more than likely end up using one of the paid lots.”

It seems like that should be clear. He was parking downtown at 7pm at night…welcome to LA, there’s no street parking at night. I could petition Peerspace and ask to have it removed, but they have better things to do and I try to not be a pest to them.

Sometimes I ‘stalk’ other listings. I often check to see what reviews my guests have left for other spaces and sometimes I just look at other listings to see what reviews they’ve received.

I started doing this after I received two four star reviews in a week for no reason but to leave a lowered review. The comments stated things like “the place was AMAZING and the host was great!”

So I looked to see what reviews the guest left for other hosts and sure enough, they were all four star reviews.

When he told me that he wanted to book again, I politely declined because of his lowered review and told him I would not book him again. My technique worked, because he has since begun leaving five star reviews for other hosts since then.

Every host that has a cat (and gives fair warning in their listing!) has multiple lowered reviews where guests claim a fake ‘allergy’. All of those reviews should be removed, provided the host mentions they have a cat.

Star reviews are pointless and most comments are completely irrelevant, with the chance for slander or untruthful comments. A simplified “recommend” or “do not recommend” is a much more honest and sensible approach.