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FTC “Sharing Economy” Report Explores Evolving Internet And App-Based Services

“A Federal Trade Commission staff report released today provides an in-depth assessment of evolving business models that rely on internet and app-based “sharing economy” platforms used by millions of Americans. The report summarizes a June 2015 FTC public workshop and highlights a number of competitive benefits and potential consumer protection challenges posed by disruptive business models in markets such as for-hire-transportation and short-term lodging. The report, The “Sharing” Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators, details how buyers and sellers are increasingly using internet-connected devices – smartphones and tablets – to access a matchmaking platform that allows them to search for new services, secure a price point, and complete a transaction. It discusses several “trust mechanisms,” such as reputation rating systems or money-back guarantees, which help build trust between buyers and sellers, as well as providing confidence that a transaction will proceed as agreed online…”

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