It seems like there's no end to the things technology can do for collaborative consumption now that we are all linked together with that handy tool called the Internet. After all, our current online networking technologies is at the core of today's Collaborative Consumption momentum. Take, for example, this bit of awesomeness: In the same way that Air BnB has made it easy to rent out our spare bedrooms to trustworthy travelers, or Relay Rides has made it easy to share our cars with other drivers, DogVacay is helping dog owners find a safe, happy home for their dogs to stay while they're off traveling.
Personally, I'm in love with the idea (now that I got out of the 5-minute "why didn't I think of that!!" grumpy state). Finding a place for my dog to stay while I'm gone, and where I know he'll be happy, is a real challenge. As TechCrunch notes, "The difficulty is actually finding dog lovers who want to babysit for dogs in their spare time. Enter DogVacay, a new marketplace out of Los Angeles incubator Science, that matches dog owners in need of pet-care services with qualified animal caregivers. The service is launching today in Los Angeles and San Francisco."
Because I wasn't on the ball with this brilliant idea, it was left to Aaron Hirschhorn and Karine Nissim Hirschhorn to make it happen. It's a great way to connect dog-loving people who are willing to pet sit with dog owners that want a comfortable non-kennel-y place to keep their dog. The dog-sitters can set their own rates and types of dogs they're willing to care for, and owners can read up on the background checks on the dog-sitters done by the DogVacay staff. The service even includes insurance, which as we know from Air BnB hiccups, is a smart move.
TechCrunch notes, "Dog owners can sign up on the site and book services similar to the way you would book an apartment on Airbnb. In addition to boarding services, users can also find dog walkers, trainers, day-care, pet-sitting (in their own home), and other unique services like pet massage. DogVacay takes a 5 to 10 percent service fee from the host."
Right now, the site is launched in Los Angeles and San Francisco (and I can only imagine how quickly it will take hold in dog-crazed SF). The average price in beta is $30-35 a night, but that can change once the site comes out of beta. The website is set up very similarly to Air Bnb, which would make it easy for anyone who has used sharing sites like this to navigate.
As Sami has pointed out, the four drivers of Collaborative Consumption are: Community, Technology, Environment and Economy. Without solid technology connecting people together and setting up a search that is simple, thorough, and easy to use, our ability to connect people for services like this on a non-professional basis would be a lot harder.
It is hard to imagine collaborative consumerism, or a resurgence of a sharing culture, happening so quickly and smoothly without the help of technology. The ease of hopping on a website, reading about every aspect of the different places your pooch can stay and who will be taking care of them, and getting text messages with status updates while you're gone will make it that much more comfortable for owners to pick out regular old dog-lovers as their care providers instead of going with kennels or boarding facilities. It is the same with other forms of sharing -- from car rentals to homes, from expensive tool sharing to clothes swapping -- it's all quite a bit easier now that it's all on the web.