In this day and age, any business, from the smallest startup to the largest multinational, needs to be aware of its reputation. Too much bad press can damage a brand beyond repair, and if a business gets associated with illicit behavior in the public conscience, it can be difficult to shake that seedy reputation. This paradigm is true for all kinds of behavior, from corporate corruption to shoddy workmanship. But when a brand becomes linked to, say, prostitution, well, you can expect your reputation to take a major hit.
This is the issue facing Airbnb Inc., a website that allows people to rent out lodging, including apartments, castles, boats, tipis, igloos and more to others. The business was founded in 2008 and has received several rounds of venture funding, raising hundreds of millions of dollars from investors such as Ashton Kutcher.