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Sairaj Mahesh Nukala .

I love the story of how Airbnb used growth hacking to steal the digital traffic of CRAIGLIST

Airbnb was born out of need, as the founders couldn't afford living in San Francisco and turned their loft into a lobby for money💰.

They felt posting in Craiglist is too personal so created a website and posted pics of their lobby with airbed 🛏️
and offered night stay and breakfast.

They are many hacks that Airbnb used, I personally love these 3 hacks..

1. Platform integration with Craigslist: Once the owner lists his property in Airbnb, they have a small feature to auto post the ad in Craigslist which gained them massive traffic and loyal customer base from Craigslist.

2. Pouching of Craigslist users : Airbnb have done mass mailing to the rental owners of Craigslist. This resulted in thousands of them listing their properties directly on Airbnb ( Thankgod, GDPR is not in action then 😜)

3. Photographer at door steps: They started sending professional photographers to take the pics of stay and uploaded them on the site which resulted in 3x bookings of the stay. Now it's mandatory.

I personally love these 3 growth hacks.

What are your favourite growth hacks of any company?

Originally Posted Here
9 Comments

Nalin Savara

I am curious.... Have you or anyone you know felt pain or had users or anything stolen from you ?

How will u feel if someone steal from you - say your mobile or worse your livelihood ?

Sairaj Mahesh Nukala

well frankly speaking I feel bad. But these are original growth hacks done by companies to grow it. We can love it, we can hate it but we can't ignore it.

Mukund BS

If someone is giving a better experience or better value, users will migrate. Most incumbent giants ignore small leakage to upstarts.

The best startups always grow by giving insane value to their early customers

Nalin Savara

A couple of thoughts about this post:

1. Firstly it's very badly written - with spell mistakes
2. He has got the Airbnb founding story wrong

3. Airbnb did not steal from Craigslist - but rather worked within Craigslist's terms and conditions to integrate deeply with Craigslist and over time built their business.

4. In the early days things were so tight that they did things ranging from Obama cereal to several other things - so much that their venture capitalists were doubtful of their business model but confident of the teams ability to survive and build businesses.

Infact one of their early investors wrote a paper regarded as a classic based on their fighting spirit and their hustle.

Sairaj Mahesh Nukala

 1. Apologies for the spelling mistakes.
2. Airbnb was started as Airbed and breakfast where they cater only night stays and breakfast and as a part of it cereal came into picture.

3. Yeah they integrated with Craiglist which I mentioned in the first hack. Automatic posting of ads, emailing Craigslist users . Fancy words like terms and conditions are used but Airbnb broke it openly.

4. The best part is, they have raised enough funding but still used Craiglist user base.

Finally, im no where related to Airbnb or Craiglist. I learnt the story and wrote it in my style without changing facts.

Nalin SavaraSairaj

no they didn't - that's why it took them so long to build their business and having so few properties gave them time to polish and perfect their business model.

Because in beginning they had just 20 properties they had contacted and requested to come onboard and in afternoons when founder would go to click photographs themselves their programmer would sit alone in office trying to make sure the site doesn't crash and manually adding etc

Sairaj Mahesh Nukala

Sir, Airbnb has a 13 years track record. I am telling the stories of early 2009-2012.
I read extensively on the growth hacking techniques and I have done my research. Appreciate if you could go through " Airbnb Growth Hacking" articles and books by Sean ellios, the guy who coined the word "Growth Hacking" . Hope it opens your perspective🙏

Nihal Hassan

They didn’t mass email. It was triggered and personal although automated. There was flaw in Craigslist’s code which Airbnb took advantage of. There was no integration and Craigslist eventually fixed it. And GDPR still doesn’t apply to the US although what AirBnb did was spamming.

This system of growth hacking is called piggybacking and is something early-stage marketplaces can try. Nobroker did it early on when Housing was big. Oyo used Makemytrip’s listing.

Sairaj Mahesh Nukala

Thankyou for the insight on piggybacking.
Mass mailing as in customised email to all the owners of Craigslist site. Although they used the flaw in the Craigslist code.

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