HomeGermany-StartupsAirbnb clone companies Wimdu and 9flats can't compete

Airbnb clone companies Wimdu and 9flats can’t compete

It’s summer, the UEFA EURO 2012 has just begun, and the Olympics start next month. It must be a great time for Airbnb and other community marketplaces for people to list, discover, and book unique spaces.

Nowadays, the American original Airbnb and its German clone companies 9flats (founded by serial entrepreneur Stephan Uhrenbacher) and Wimdu (founded by Rocket Internet) are each present in countless international markets. But if you compare the search volume for these three players, it’s almost the same in every country/market you’re looking at: Airbnb is number 1 and far ahead, then comes Wimdu in second place, and 9flats in third place. 9flats-wimdu-airbnb-trendsCheck out the Google Trends chart, which compares the global search volume of the three brands in 2012.

By the way, you get the same kind of ranking if you compare the amount of money the three companies have raised, with Airbnb raised the most, Wimdu second, and 9flats third.

Sure, you could argue that Airbnb had a head start as the originator of the concept. But maybe its European competitors also underestimated the community factor in the term “community marketplace”, because after all, this is what Airbnb is known for.

Another example of something that the original company has done right, is that while Wimdu and 9flats were pumping out tons of boring job descriptions in order to scale fast, Airbnb had a unique and emotional way of recruiting its co-workers. They had a nicely designed jobs section and worked early on with cleverly produced videos that addressed future employees. Wimdu is now trying to do the same, at least when it comes to human resource videos.

Find this interesting? Check out our original article comparing Wimdu and 9flats.

Thomas Ohr
Thomas Ohr
Thomas Ohr is the "Editor in Chief" of EU-Startups.com and started the blog in October 2010. He is excited about Europe's future, passionate about new business ideas and lives in Barcelona (Spain).


  1. Hi Thomas, thank you for the thought-provoking piece.
    I work for 9flats and was quite interested to see how we’re perceived externally by media.
    Would be great for you to include a couple of other metrics, that I think are more revealing.

    1. True brand reach
    Try say dividing total funding by total search volume / brand mentions on Google Alerts. The trend there might be more interesting. We do pretty well considering that we’re the underdogs.

    2. Customer satisfaction
    True customer satisfaction is very multi-dimensional, but thanks to the internet, it is also transparent. Comments on facebook pages, Tripadvisor forums, Quora, are all great resources. Again, I think you’ll find the results surprising.

    It would be a great scoop to have an alternative take on the competitive landscape. After all, if outstanding journalism is what got Foxconn workers a better deal from Apple, the same can help neglected, ignored travelers with troubles to get a better outcome. Please drop me a line if I can help you.

  2. Personally I prefer the Wimdu video. The airbnb one is quiet lame while the wimdu one is more inspiring and energetic.

    Anyway, I hope both will find the right people to push their operations. 🙂

  3. Wimdu also charges 15% coosismimn: 3% to the hosts, and 12% to the guests. Honestly, they have no idea what they’re doing over there. It’s a joke they create fake reviews (of course), steal Airbnb’s data, and the internal control is the worst one I have seen. They run around like a chicken with their heads cut off.

  4. From a semi professional host perspective:

    My airbnb ads are going amazing while wimdu was also ok but suddenly they asked me to reconfirm the addresses, I did that immediately (a month ago) and till then my ads are not online, I have requested support for 5 times and no one is responding , seems they dont need my apartments anymore. Altough they are a copycat, they did not copy the best features of airbnb – maybe because those cannot be copied. I never got any bookings from 9flats.

  5. I joined 9 flats when they first started with one apartment. Their host visited us here in Berlin with a bag of goodies but had no idea of the market (or market advice) so most of my questions went unanswered. I asked if I could visit their office in Berlin to find out more (as we have a few apartments that i would have considered to register) but the host said her office would get back to me but nothing happened even though i did follow up. So after registering for 3 months and not one booking (just enquiries) i de-registered with them. I happened to meet one of the presenting executives at a Berlin tourism conference but he too seemed disinterested to talk about how i could grow a relationship and referred me back to their office. On the other hand, have had an exceptional experience with airbnb with bookings and their customer service. So this article was no surprise to me.

  6. Wimdu is a clone of Airbnb except the service fee of the site are much higher in Wimdu! This is not from 6% to 12% + 3% like Airbnb. In Wimdu you pay 24% for the site service…
    You can compare apartments which are on both sites.

    Wimdu est un clone de Airbnb sauf que les frais de service du site sont bien plus élevé chez Wimdu! Ce n’est pas de 6% à 12% + 3% comme chez Airbnb. Sur Wimdu c’est 24% de frais de service pour le site…
    Comparez les apartements qui sont sur les deux sites.

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