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Sharing economy glossary

| Text: Björn Lindahl

The new way of organising the selling of services can be confusing, and so too the accompanying terminology. Here is a short glossary for the most common expressions.


is one of the best known companies in the sharing economy. The name is short for an airbed and breakfast, which was the basic idea the founders came up with when they wanted to offer simple accommodation during conference season, when hotels were booked out. Six years after its launch in 2008, the company has 1.5 million private houses and flats in 151 countries which owners are willing to rent out. Airbnb is the middleman. 


is the name of a commissioner who hires in many people to perform digital jobs fast and cheap – like writing captions for catalogues or solve different tasks where the payment is by the unit. 


is the financing for a project like a book, a film or something else through monetary or other types of contributions from many people via the Internet.


is when many people sign up in order to solve smaller services and tasks via the Internet.

The sharing economy

are different ways of hiring, sharing or lending things rather than owning them yourself. The Uber taxi service and the accommodation service Airbnb are the best known companies in the sharing economy today.

Digital reputation

In order to control the quality of services in the sharing economy, a kind of score chart is often used by the customers. Sometimes even the customers get scores. The scores are then used to give those with the most scores the most work. Digital reputation can not be transferred to other businesses, which makes the providers’ situation harder. 


An expression from the music industry which is being used to describe a work task which is being shared digitally.

Micro entrepreneur

is what commissioners in the sharing economy call providers. These are often in a grey area between being self-employed and employees.

Platform-based work

A common name for different services which are mediated via apps or other online platforms.


A company linking people who need and can provide simple services, like mowing a lawn, assembling IKEA furniture etc. Established in Boston, USA, but has been emulated by many, like TaskRunner in Sweden. The services were originally auctioned, but the company really started growing when prices were fixed.


The most controversial sharing economy company. Some consider it to be a kind of pirate taxi firm, others praise the company for increasing competition in the taxi trade.

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