TIME Travel

13 Celebrity Homes You Can Rent

Denzel Washington and Jimmy Page have lived in this Malibu estate Airbnb

From NYC to Los Angeles, famous celebrity-home listings that provide A-list vacations—entourage not included

Are stars just like us? It doesn’t feel that way when gazing at some celebrity’s multimillion-dollar estate through the window of a star-map tour bus.

But thanks to the rise of peer-to-peer vacation rental sites, staying in a legend’s current or former home is now sometimes just a click away. These properties offer travelers the chance to live vicariously—and, sure, lavishly.

Denzel Washington/Jimmy Page: Malibu, CA

Celebrity history runs deep at this estate, infamous for its parties in the ’60s and ’70s. (According to the current owners: “Captain & Tennille, a pop music duo from the 1970s, were one of the first occupants and lived here, we were told, with a chimpanzee.”) Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the three-bedroom, three-building property with natural light. It sprawls over eight acres up in the bluffs overlooking Broad and Zuma beaches; some guests have reported seeing dolphins and breaching whales. $490 per night with a two-night minimum; airbnb.com.

Jim Morrison: West Hollywood, CA

Rocker Jim Morrison slept here—and gave interviews, jammed on his guitar, and wrote poetry. His former home is decked out with The Doors memorabilia, vintage furniture, and a bit of retro ’60s style: beads hanging in a doorway, a trippy floral shower curtain, colorfully painted walls. The two-bedroom is a short walk from the Sunset Strip. $3,180 with a 30-night minimum; airbnb.com.

Bode Miller: Carroll, NH

Olympic skier Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan Beck, a professional beach volleyball player, own this cozy estate in New Hampshire’s ski-resort territory. Beck tweeted about the home in 2013 and touts its “gorgeous views of Mount Washington.” Guests can also expect stone fireplaces, deep-soaking tubs, hand-carved wood furnishings, leather sofas, and four bedrooms that accommodate up to 10. $800 per night with a two-night minimum; airbnb.com.

Paula Deen: Tybee Island, GA

Y’all Come Inn includes, naturally, with a stellar kitchen stocked with all of Paula’s cookbooks—one of which will be signed for guests as a souvenir. The 2,000-square-foot house also features three cheery bedrooms and a front porch with picnic-table seating. It’s located on Tybee Island, 20 miles from Savannah and four blocks from the beach. It’s a neighborhood that’s also attracted homeowners John Mellencamp and Sandra Bullock. $295 per night with a two-night minimum; vrbo.com.

Bing Crosby: Palm Springs, CA

Palm Springs has attracted enough legendary residents (among them Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra) to inspire multiple celebrity-home tours. For a truly immersive experience, settle in to Bing Crosby’s 1934 hacienda in the old Movie Colony. The Spanish-style four-bedroom villa has the original tiled floors, vaulted ceilings, and a wood-burning fireplace. Modern amenities include a projector in the screening room as well as an updated kitchen. You’ll be tempted out of doors by the heated pool, surrounded by bougainvillea and citrus trees. $675 per night with a three-night minimum; airbnb.com.

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MONEY Travel

Marriott’s CEO Just Made a Pretty Good Sales Pitch for … Airbnb?

Apartment in Barcelona, Spain offered through airbnb.
Apartment in Barcelona, Spain offered through airbnb. courtesy of airbnb

Take it from the CEO of one of the world's largest hotel companies: If you want to sample an authentic neighborhood when traveling, go with an airbnb rental, not a hotel.

The hotel industry has an uneasy relationship with the peer-to-peer lodging rental giant airbnb. Lawmakers and hotel industry lobbyists have attacked the airbnb model, accusing hosts of operating illegal hotels that don’t meet safety code regulations, and that more often than not aren’t paying taxes like they should. Data cited recently by The Economist indicates that in cities where airbnb has established a significant presence, the revenues at budget hotels decreased by 5% over a two-year period ending in December 2013. And the amount of business taken away from low-end hotels by airbnb could increase to an estimated 10% by 2016.

At the same time, people in the hotel business—particularly the midlevel and higher-end hotel business—tend to be pretty dismissive of airbnb. If folks in this world talk about airbnb and sharing economy businesses at all, it’s generally to argue that these upstarts or “disruptors” are not legitimate threats to established hotel industry players.

That’s pretty much what Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson first had to say about airbnb during an appearance on CBS This Morning this week. When asked about airbnb, Sorenson dismissively described the service as an “interesting experiment” that was “fun to watch.” It’s like what Starbucks would say of a kid who opens up a lemonade stand in front of one of its cafes: cute, but nothing whatsoever to worry about. What Sorenson said airbnb certainly was not was a genuine competitor to Marriott. By extension, he’s saying it’s not a threat to the rest of the big hotel brands out there either.

As the conversation continued, however, Sorenson wound up pointing out several of airbnb’s unique, attractive attributes—features that a regular hotel can’t compete with. “They do some things that we can’t do,” Sorenson said of airbnb. While tourist hotels tend to be found strictly in tourist areas, an airbnb rental is located, by definition, in a neighborhood where real people live. An airbnb rental is a way of trying a neighborhood on for size, without making the commitment of actually renting or buying. Referring to Manhattan, Sorenson said the thinking is, “I want to live in the East Village for a while, or I want to live in the Upper East Side for a while, and see what it feels like.”

The attraction of an airbnb rental isn’t limited to people curious about living in a given city, Sorenson said. Plenty of travelers visiting cities strictly as tourists want a taste of the authentic neighborhood life as well. “Some people love it, not just millennials but boomers” as well, said Sorenson. The mentality is: “I want to experience a neighborhood, even if I’m on vacation.”

There, in a nutshell, is one of the great arguments for skipping a hotel in favor of renting a room, apartment, or entire house from a random stranger. The other big argument, of course, is cost. An airbnb rental will almost always cost significantly less than a hotel offering around the same space for a visitor. A Priceonomics.com study published last summer showed that compared to hotels, on average, you’d save 21% by renting an entire apartment on airbnb, and 50% by renting just a room from an airbnb host.

Despite Sorenson’s comments, we probably don’t have to worry about him secretly being on airbnb’s payroll. After praising some aspects of its “interesting” model, he made it clear that sharing lodging with a stranger “is not everybody’s cup of tea,” and that many travelers “don’t want the creepiness of not knowing who my host will be.”

He also gave a plug to Marriott’s new hotel brand, Moxy, which the company designed with IKEA for millennial travelers. “We want to make sure that we have brands with increasing levels of affordability,” said Sorenson. “One of our newest brands, for instance, is Moxy, a brand we’ll open in Milan for the first time this year. It’s a reinvention of the economy lodge segment.”

The Moxy concept is aimed at young connected travelers who want a social atmosphere. Interestingly, that also happens to be a pretty good description of the typical airbnb traveler. And “a reinvention of the economy lodge segment”? That’s a phrase that sounds like it could have been pulled directly from the airbnb website.

MONEY Tech

Fake Toilet-Sharing App Rents 15 Minutes of Bathroom Time for $4

Line for the outhouse
Biddiboo—Getty Images

The motto for mock toilet-sharing app AirWC is "'Cause taking a dump doesn't mean you have to be in one."

AirWC presents itself as an airbnb for private toilets, in which those in desperate need can locate nearby facilities with a smartphone app, check out reviews left by previous “users,” and book a 15-minute session on the bowl for a reasonable $4 fee.

And yes, it’s a total gag. An Italian version of AirWC was posted on the web on the more appropriate date of April 1, and the current parody is now on the comedy site Funny or Die. Let’s just get the bathroom humor out of the way with the AirWC video put on YouTube this week:

While this is indeed a joke skewering the sharing economy, while simultaneously piling on gratuitous poop punch lines, one never knows. We live in a world where a business was launched based on the delivery of $10 worth of quarters for $15 to make it easier to do laundry, after all.

Like any good modern-day technological innovation, the AirWC app (if it was real) allows you to sign in via Facebook. “In seconds, AirWC will locate private toilets nearby—clean, and ready for you,” the video explains. Users can scroll through photos and read reviews “until you find one that meets your sphincter’s needs. Does this toilet inspire you? Does it make your bowels squirm with joy and anticipation?”

Such ad copy would surely be enough to attract the “business” of quite a few users, especially at a cost of only $4 for 15 minutes. Still, not to poo-poo the idea too much (sorry), but it would probably be a tougher sell to get homeowners on board with the idea.

MONEY Autos

Can We Stop Pretending the Sharing Economy Is All About Sharing?

Street parking in San Francisco
Good luck finding someone in San Francisco who will share a parking space out of the goodness of his heart. samc—Alamy

It sure seems like a stretch to say that selling a public parking space or renting out multiple apartments to tourists constitutes "sharing."

The “sharing economy” is the all-purpose term used to describe transactions in which someone in possession of a car, or home, or self-storage space, or commercial real estate, or almost anything else imaginable “shares” it with a stranger. But is “sharing” the right word? Sharing is something people generally do out of the goodness of their hearts, and in pretty much all sharing economy scenarios, some money is changing hands. You don’t come across too many listings at airbnb, the godfather of the sharing economy model, posted with a nightly rate of “share and share alike.”

The other popular term for this world, “peer-to-peer” business, seems more accurate, though also more cold-hearted. The latest example of the “sharing economy” phrase seeming like a stretch comes in the form of an app that allows a user to auction off a public parking space for $5, or maybe $20, occupied by his car. If your initial reaction is that this is simply unregulated, tech-enabled, supply-and-demand entrepreneurial capitalism as opposed to “sharing,” you’re not alone.

“The rub is that your parking spot isn’t really yours. It’s the city’s,” Wired wrote of the app, MonkeyParking, when it debuted in San Francisco in May. “Whereas services like Uber and Airbnb help us make use of things that would otherwise go unused — at least in theory — MonkeyParking merely lets one person grab something ahead of another. That strikes a lot of people as anti-social.”

It also strikes many as quite the opposite of sharing. And the app strikes the San Francisco city attorney as illegal. A cease-and-desist letter was sent to the app’s makers recently, and city attorney Dennis Herrera issued a statement accusing MonkeyParking of creating “a predatory private market for public parking spaces that San Franciscans will not tolerate.”

That would seem to be the end of MonkeyParking, but the app’s makers aren’t giving up without a fight. On Thursday, MonkeyParking CEO Paolo Dobrowolny issued a statement refusing to shut down the app, not on the grounds that the cease-and-desist order constitutes an infringement on sharing but because it was “an open violation of free speech.”

“I have the right to tell people if I am about to leave a parking spot, and they have the right to pay me for such information,” Dobrowolny said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Another San Francisco-based parking space app, Parkmondo, which also received a warning from the city, also claims that it’s simply information being sold, not publicly owned parking spaces. “The last time I checked there is no law in America that prohibits you from selling your information,” Parkmondo’s Daniel Shifrin explained to the Wall Street Journal.

Not long ago, the Chronicle also posted a report poking holes in airbnb’s “folksy” argument that the vast majority of its hosts are simply small-time “home sharers” who earn a few dollars here and there by occasionally renting out a spare room. This is a perception airbnb has presented by way of reports like one issued last summer concerning Paris, in which researchers released data points like this:

83% of Airbnb hosts rent the homes they live in to visitors on an occasional basis, and nearly half the income they make helps them to make ends meet by being spent on living expenses (rent/mortgage, utilities, and other bills).

The Chronicle report showed a different picture. After looking at 5,000 airbnb listings in the city, the paper determined that two-thirds of rentals were for entire homes or apartments—not spare rooms—and that roughly one-third of the “hosts” controlled multiple listings. The latter point indicates that these “hosts” seem a lot more like old-fashioned landlords than collaborative techie sharers.

Some of the “sharing economy” businesses are themselves being accused of using ruthless, old-fashioned money-making tactics. An Alternet post pointed out that in light of surge pricing, the lack of regulation, and labor exploitation, the ride-sharing company Uber has a lot in common with “old-school capitalist companies.” In Seattle and Los Angeles, among other places, Uber drivers—those who directly benefit from sharing economy transactions—are battling it out to get more protection and rights as employees.

Drivers for Uber and its ride-share competitor, Lyft, have also been complaining that the pay is decreasing. This is especially hard for drivers to stomach when they read about Uber being worth $17 billion. Why can’t such a valuable sharing economy business, you know, share the wealth, drivers are wondering.

While ride-share companies are being taken to task for exploiting drivers—who are independent contractors not employees, the companies claim—MonkeyParking is being accused of something worse: illegally using public property for profit, and making life even more difficult and unfair for the poor guy on the lookout for a free spot to park.

MonkeyParking sees the situation differently, of course. “It’s a fair business for anybody,” CEO Dobrowolny told the Chronicle. “It’s not just for rich people. If you think you can get that money back when you leave that parking spot, you can earn back the money when you leave the spot.”

That may very well strike you as fair. But it’s not sharing.

TIME Business

The Sharing Economy Boom Is About to Bust

Airbnb'S Value Estimated At $10 Billion After New Round Of Investments
Online home-rental marketplace Airbnb Inc. is about to receive more than $450 million in investments from a group led by private-equity firm TPG. The new investments will value the startup at $10 billion, significantly higher than some publicly traded hotel chains. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Startups like Airbnb and Uber are already experiencing a backlash from traditional hotel and taxi industries, all because local governments didn't anticipate the regulatory questions posed by this new economic model.

I have learned the hard way, as father to three small boys, that sharing causes conflict. Ask humans to play with the same toy at the same time, and it won’t take long for a fight to break out. The smart move is to find duplicates of that toy or, if that’s impossible, to urge interested parties to “take turns.”

That’s why I’m afraid the much-celebrated “sharing economy”—the catch-all name for “peer-to-peer” firms that connect people for the purposes of distributing, sharing, and reusing goods and services—is likely to produce more fights than profits. States could be embroiled for years in political, legal, commercial and environmental battles related to sharing.

Companies such as the ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber and the apartment-sharing service Airbnb are success stories; Airbnb is already worth more than the Hyatt or Wyndham hotel chains. In the blocks near my Santa Monica, Calif., office are dozens of such growing companies, among them Tradesy (a marketplace for women buying and selling new and gently used clothing) and DogVacay (connecting pet owners with pet sitters).

Sharing services can eliminate waste, improve efficiency, connect people to one another, and allow us to make money on extra stuff in our closets and garages. And if that’s all the sharing economy promised to do, I’d have no reason to worry. But the sharing economy is more than a business sector—it’s a movement, with the grandest of ambitions for our politics, culture and environment.

Over a couple of months of reading about and talking to people in the sharing economy, I’ve been struck frequently by the limitless ambitions of its participants and proponents. Here are just a few of those ambitions: reversing economic inequality, stopping ecological destruction, countering the materialistic tendencies of First World societies, enhancing worker rights, empowering the poor, curing cancer and reimagining our politics.

It would be easy to dismiss sharing economy hype as just more of the self-aggrandizing, self-righteous nonsense for which liberal pockets are well-known. Except that the sharing economy is already threatening to reach into every corner of our lives, from food to photography, education to finance. If that sounds like an exaggeration, consider this: venture capitalists just funded an app to help you find someone to do your laundry for you.

The best adjective to describe this kind of movement is totalitarian. As the Czech novelist Milan Kundera put it, “Totalitarianism is not only hell, but also the dream of paradise.” So my bid to watch your dog while you’re on vacation—and yours to drive me to the airport—is at once freeing and full of dangers. Who’s responsible if your dog bites my kid while in my care? What kind of car insurance, training and licensing do you need to shuttle me safely? What, if anything, do we owe to the kennel workers and cabbies who lose work? And who decides how we govern all of this?

There are so many potential conflicts—along professional, political, commercial, geographic, generational and gender lines—posed by sharing that I couldn’t list them here. To pick just one more: sharing is a threat to the general plans of virtually every city. After all, what is Airbnb if not a rezoning of residential areas into hotel space?

Of course, the movement doesn’t see itself as a starter of wars—and that may be its biggest weakness. Instead of recognizing the conflict and anger that could be produced by their efforts to transform the world, cheerleaders of the sharing economy celebrate its “disruptive” power—as well as its “sustainability.”

Whether being used by the environmental left or the anti-spending right, “sustainability” has become a vague but powerful way to dismiss somebody else’s idea without having to reckon with the particulars. “That’s unsustainable,” means it can’t go on, so why continue to discuss? It’s how we say no to anything new that might cost money or consume energy. So, naturally, almost every government or corporate bureaucracy you encounter–in California at least–has an office of sustainability.

What many states don’t have are the governance infrastructure to host the multi-front battles over sharing and sustainability that are on the horizon. Weak local governments can’t deal with all the new planning, zoning, licensing and regulatory questions posed by this new economic model. Courts are already too crowded to handle basic functions—much less a host of new claims sparked by sharing enterprises. And our political system, with its low voter participation and big money, simply can’t produce definitive, legitimate answers on the big new policy questions posed by all this sharing.

For all its promise, the sharing economy threatens to turn virtually every aspect of living into contested ground. And that’s no way to live.

Joe Mathews writes the Connecting California column for Zocalo Public Square. This piece originally appeared at Zocalo Public Square.

MONEY Tourism

7 Cities Where the Sharing Economy Is Freshly Under Attack

140529_FF_NerdWallet_Lyft_1
A Lyft car in San Francisco courtesy of Lyft

As Uber, Lyft, and airbnb expand around the globe, even smaller cities like Grand Rapids are feeling forced to regulate sharing economy businesses.

Big cities such as San Francisco and New York have been confronting the unusual tax and regulatory conundrums posed by sharing economy businesses like Lyft, Uber, and Airbnb for years. Now it’s Grand Rapids’ turn.

As rideshare services like Uber and Lyft expand rapidly around the globe, and as short-term rental operations like airbnb grow to the point of being genuine competitors to hotels, local officials don’t quite know what to make of them—and the kneejerk reaction of regulators is often to side with the tradition businesses these sharing economy services intend to disrupt.

It hasn’t helped that sharing economy businesses have been featured in a string of ugly incidents lately. There was the “XXX Freak Fest” orgy that took place when an unsuspecting tenant rented out his New York City apartment on airbnb last Month. Then there was an Uber driver accused of assault in Oklahoma City, and another Uber driver in San Francisco who was charged with hitting a passenger, and who was found to have convictions for felony drug dealing and misdemeanor battery, despite being subjected to Uber’s background check.

What’s more, no fewer than 14 states have issued warnings–fairly vague, sometimes misleading, but still scary warnings–about the insurance risks in driving or being a passenger in rideshare operations. The companies whose business models are being threatened by the sharing economy are taking action too: In Las Vegas, for instance, a local cab company posted a memo warning that it would terminate any “driver that picks up a passenger using an Uber, Lyft or Sidecar application” in a company taxi or limo. And even cities that seem more open to rideshare businesses sometimes aren’t entirely on board with how these tech companies operate. The Times-Picayune reported that the New Orleans city council is discussing new regulations that would allow Uber’s ridesharing service, but would keep certain taxi rules–such as $25 minimums for luxury sedan rides–that defy “Uber’s insistence on open market pricing.”

As for individual cities in the U.S. and Europe that are stepping up efforts to rein in or ban sharing economy businesses entirely, here are seven hot spots:

Albuquerque, New Mexico
In late May, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission voted unanimously to order the ridesharing service Lyft to cease operations in the state. Why? The same reason most often cited against ridesharing companies: They’re accused of being commercial taxi services whose drivers don’t have the appropriate licenses and certificates, and who haven’t paid the same fees as taxis. The commission warned Lyft and its drivers that each violation is subjected to a fine up to $10,000.

Barcelona, Spain
After being pressured by taxi companies and hotels, among others, officials in Barcelona are trying to crack down on Uber and airbnb and other sharing economy businesses, with tough fines for unlicensed drivers and a temporary freeze on licenses for owners who want to rent apartments as tourist lodging.

Brussels, Belgium
Uber launched in Brussels in February, and in April, officials banned the service in the city, threatening to hit drivers with a €10,000 fine for picking up a passenger via the app.

Buffalo, New York
A month after Lyft introduced its rideshare service in Buffalo in late April, the city’s director of permits and inspections recommended that police issue summonses to Lyft drivers, who he has determined to be the equivalent of unlicensed livery cab drivers. He also threatened that cars used in rideshare operations could be impounded.

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Strict new regulations are being proposed for owners who want to rent rooms via airbnb or other short-term services. If accepted, a homeowner would have to pay $291 for a license, the home must be owner-occupied in order to advertise room rentals (i.e., no vacation rentals), and only one room in the home can be rented at a time. Also, the city would grant no more than 200 licenses, and owners would have to notify all neighbors within 300 feet of the property about the rental situation. As tough as these rules seem, they could have been worse: A year ago, Grand Rapids was suggesting that homeowners would have to pay $2,000 for a license to advertise and rent via airbnb.

Kansas City, Missouri
Police began issuing tickets to Lyft drivers in Kansas City soon after the service was launched in late April. City officials had deemed that the rideshare service was illegal because drivers hadn’t gone through the training and certification required of taxi drivers. After some legal maneuvering, Lyft is still in action in the city, and a lengthy court battle is expected before the situation is settled.

Malibu, California
The Malibu city council recent voted in favor of issuing subpoenas to over 60 short-term lodging rental websites, including airbnb, according to the Los Angeles Times. There are hundreds of ads for short-term vacation rentals in Malibu, but only around 50 are officially registered with the city and pay the same 12% tax that hotels pay. Officials want to make sure that the city isn’t missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes from other rentals. They’re also hoping to crack down on the “party house” atmosphere in neighborhoods that have become popular for vacation rentals.

TIME Airbnb

Airbnb Sending Anonymized User Data to New York’s Top Lawyer

Airbnb has agreed to share anonymous data with the Attorney General's Office, which can then request further data on individual hosts.

Airbnb, a service that effectively lets people turn their homes into private hotels, has agreed to share anonymous user data about all of its New York hosts with New York’s Attorney General.

The agreement comes after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s second subpoena against the startup. The information being shared won’t include names, addresses or other personal data. The Attorney General’s Office will review the anonymous data for one year, and may request further information on individual hosts.

Does this mean the government will come knocking if you host through Airbnb on occasion? Probably not, at least according to Airbnb’s blog post.

“We believe the Attorney General’s Office is focused on large corporate property managers and hosts who take apartments off the market and disrupt communities,” Airbnb wrote. “We have already removed more than 2,000 listings in New York and believe that many of the hosts the Attorney General is concerned about are no longer a part of Airbnb.”

Airbnb has come under attack from lawmakers in New York and San Francisco, some of whom feel the service should be subject to the same laws–and taxes–as hotels. In San Francisco, a proposed bill would set some ground rules for services like Airbnb, such as allowing people to rent only their primary residences through the site.

Airbnb says it’s pleased with the agreement in New York, but said in a statement “there is so much yet to be done” in working with governments around the world.

TIME

Report: Uber Nearing $10B Valuation

Uber
The Uber driver app on the windshield of UberX driver Regan Rucker, indicates surge pricing during peak ridership on April 4, 2014 in Washington. Evelyn Hockstein—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Bloomberg reports the company is in talks with investors that could triple the ride-share company's value if secured

Car service Uber is reportedly considering new rounds of financing that could value the start up at over $10 billion, Bloomberg reports.

Citing unnamed industry sources “close to the situation,” Bloomberg says the San Francisco company’s value—currently $3.5 billion— could triple if it secures investments from private equity firms.

The $10 billion valuation would align Uber with another sharing-economy giant, Airbnb, which was valued at $10 billion recently.

Uber did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment on the report.

[Bloomberg]

TIME Smart Spending

Most People Say They Could Get Rid of Tons of Stuff and Still Be Happy

Deep in your heart of hearts, you probably know you could unload the majority of your possessions without getting too upset.

Could you get rid of most of your stuff and still be happy? The majority of consumers polled in a new study say they absolutely could. The study, titled “The New Consumer and the Sharing Economy” and conducted by Havas Worldwide, surveyed more than 10,000 people around the globe. The results offer some interesting takeaways about consumption—and overconsumption. Among them:

*Half of all consumers say they could live happily without most of the items they own.

*Two-thirds say they get rid of unneeded possessions once a year, if not more often.

*70% believe that overconsumption is putting the planet and society at risk.

The factoids mesh with plenty of previous research that indicates, for example, the average American home is cluttered with possessions (and our incessant yearning for stuff is stressful and unhealthy), and that the average American child receives some 70 new toys per year. Other research points out that happiness comes largely as a result of fun experiences and relationships with other people rather than the gathering or more and more “stuff.” Money has been correlated with happiness, though how we spend it has a lot to do with whether wealth helps make one content or miserable.

It probably isn’t necessary for researchers to delve into reams of data in order to deliver many of these official “revelations.” Down deep, most of us generally know that we don’t really need much of what we own, and that getting rid of some, if not most, of our clutter certainly wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen. (“Hoarders” anyone?) On the one hand, the new study data demonstrates that most people are fully conscious of the idea that overconsumption is bad, and that one’s happiness isn’t dependent on “stuff.” On the other hand, while it would seem to be good that the majority of people sell, recycle, or otherwise get rid of unneeded possessions at least once annually, the fact that people are swimming in unneeded possessions in the first place is a pretty clear indication that the average person regularly acquires more than he needs.

The title of the new study features the term “Sharing Economy,” which applies to businesses such as Airbnb, Lyft, and SideCar, among many others. What they all have in common is that they’re based on the idea that, for many consumers, it makes more sense to “share” (usually for a fee, of course) rather than buy a car, ride, vacation rental, dress, gadget, or almost anything else under the sun. Another of the study’s factoids shows that most people are in favor of sharing:

*65% agreed with the line “Our society would be better off if people shared more and owned less.”

Because sharing economy operations are new and often viewed as disruptors—if not likely destroyers—of traditional businesses like taxi companies and hotels, they routinely find themselves in the government’s crosshairs and may very well be subjected to increased restrictions and regulations in the future. Nonetheless, it seems like the sharing economy’s future is bright, if for no other reason than consumers largely embrace the concept.

“For a number of years, we’ve tracked the shift away from wasteful spending and toward a more mindful approach to consumption, but what we’re seeing now is much more proactive and hands-on,” Andrew Benett, global CEO of Havas Worldwide, which conducted the new study, said in a press release. “They’re getting involved in the consumption cycle by contributing to the funding or even the creation of products they want and by reselling or renting out their unneeded possessions. They’re creating new formats for the exchange of goods. And every step of the way, they are practicing ‘less is more,’ and savoring their ‘less.’”

Consumers who own stuff like the sharing economy because it gives them a way to get some use—and ideally, some money—out of the possessions that otherwise might be rarely unused, gathering dust and taking up space. And consumers who choose to own less like the sharing economy model because it gives them a way to get their hands on more stuff without having to actually take the plunge and buy. They also don’t have to worry about finding space to store this stuff because, remember, it’s not their stuff. They get to give it back.

TIME Dating

LoveRoom and Other Apps That Should Be Reality Shows

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You never know... nullplus—Getty Images

The folks who created the 'Tinder of AirBnB,' are now casting a reality TV show about hooking up with renters. But why stop there? Here are 6 more app mash-ups that would make great TV

Reality shows have been putting humans together in twisted ways for more than a decade now, but like everything else, apps are now involved. LoveRoom is like the demon love child of Airbnb and Tinder; the premise is that hosts can use this social platform to rent out their spare rooms to hotties who just might have sex with them. And if its creators have their way, some of these antics will be fodder for broadcast TV.

To be clear, LoveRoom doesn’t have any official relationship with either AirBnB or Tinder, but they might as well be family. This mash-up of 21st century convenience apps is casting its own reality show founder Joshua Bocanegra told BetaBeat. An announcement on LoveRoom’s website says the show is seeking “sexy singles” with “dynamic personalities” who are “looking for love — or maybe just a hookup — in their cities.” (Which is of course way different from all the reality shows who want to cast people with boring personalities who hate sex.)

Bocanegra didn’t reveal which production company he’s working with, or any other details of the show, but he did say that the show would be “on national television” by October even though the concept hasn’t been picked up by a network yet. Sounds a little sketchy on the details, but that didn’t stop us from thinking of other app pairings that could make the leap to reality TV.

1. Words With Friends + Coffee Meets Bagel = LoveLetters

The app would sync your Words With Friends challengers with daily romantic matches from Coffee Meets Bagel. The reality show could be a couples Words With Friends round-robin tournament where contestants with dynamic personalities and large vocabularies have to choose between love and victory.

2. CandyCrush + Venmo = CandyCost

CandyCrush is already supremely addictive, but what if you could win cash? CandyCost the app would match users against specific players so you could put real money on the table (if that were legal.) The reality show can place 20 drama-loving contestants on a deserted island and them face-off on high-stakes CandyCrush games. Think Survivor meets the Player Channel.

3. Hinge + Kindle = Book of Love

The app would set you up with friends of friends who are reading the same chapter of the same book. The reality TV show would be the Oprah’s Book Club of love. Everyone would have to take a reading quiz at the end of each episode, and the person with the lowest score gets eliminated. Oh, and everyone has to wear bathing suits the whole time.

4. Seamless + FourSquare = FoodSquare

The app would tell you which friends are close by and want to split a food order with you. The reality TV show would feature 20 contestants who battle to agree on what to order for dinner. The hitch is that each contestant has a food allergy, but nobody knows about anybody else’s allergies.

5. Instagram + Epicurious = InstaCulinary

The app would tell you how to make the food you see on Instagram. The TV show would make amateur chefs compete to prepare food found on celebrity Instagrams. Then the celebrities would taste the food to select the winner each episode.

6. SnapChat + Grindr = SnapR

Obviously this app would feature raunchy pictures that disappear. The reality TV show would be like one of those memory card games where contestants have to match the body part to the owner. Then they compete to find true love with a sensitive partner who appreciates them for who they are.

 

 

 

 

 

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