Applying the Ontology

As a proof-of-concept of how our digital platform ontology helps describing and clarifying the functionality of digital platforms, we discuss Airbnb, a platform for homeowners to rent accommodation towards home-seekers and Uber Eats, a platform for food delivery.

Airbnb

First, based on the properties in our taxonomy we select the property values of Airbnb. Airbnb is a two-sided platform connecting homeowners with home-seekers. Users can register on the platform and create transactions (a.k.a. rent an accommodation). As the customer can choose its listing it is considered decentralized, and the participation is B2C (hotels also offer rooms on Airbnb), P2P and C2C. As the offering involves both a good and a service it is user-oriented, without immediate access. The accommodation can be utilised, but this is not necessarily the case.

Taxonomy of Airbnb

Reusing the general digital platform ontology and the ontology modules of the selected property values, and applying Airbnb specific classes we developed following ontology application for the Airbnb platform:

Airbnb Ontology

An Airbnb homeseeker is considered both a platform customer and peer user. An Airbnb homeowner is considered both an offering creator and a peer user. Both types of user need to be registered in an automatic way (no manual interference by Airbnb employees) to have these user roles, but a single user can acquire both user roles (overlapping). A homeowner can create an offering within the platform called a ‘listing’. This listing is described by the listing descriptions. An Airbnb homeseeker can search through the listings overview and create a transaction that conforms to a certain offering within the platform. This transaction results in the Airbnb homeowner renting out his accommodation to the homeseeker. Because the homeseekers can search for the listing they want (decentralized) and the delivery is user-oriented (product for rent), Airbnb is considered a P2P sharing and collaborative consumption platform by (Chasin et al. 2018). When the Airbnb homeowner is a person, and also personally uses the accommodation than this specific offering and transaction, is considered as part of the sharing economy following (Frenken and Schor 2017).

Uber Eats

Uber Eats on the other hand is also a three-sided platform connecting customers to restaurants with riders transporting the food. All users need to register to the platform and a transaction between the customer and both the restaurant en rider is intermediated by the platform. The customer can choose its food (decentralized) but not its rider (centralized). The restaurant is a business, but the riders and customers are considered peers and persons. The offering is user-oriented as it both involves a good (food) and a service (the preparation/delivery). The customer accepts immediate (or at least very fast) delivery of the food but the food can’t be considered under-utilized.

Uber Eats Taxonomy

Reusing the general digital platform ontology and the ontology modules of the selected property values, and applying Uber Eats specific classes we developed following ontology application for the Uber Eats platform:

Uber Eats