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'Sharing' business model under threat?

While a number of start-ups are using a new business model that thrives on loaning services to strangers, some traditional businesses appear to feel threatened.

While a number of start-ups are using a new business model that thrives on loaning services and products to strangers, some more traditional businesses appear to feel threatened.

Airbnb turns homes into bed and breakfast destinations internationally; RelayRides rents cars from a sharing marketplace; and EatWith helps amateur chefs turn their homes into restaurants.

But this so-called "sharing economy" is under threat, the Financial Times reported last week:

Traditional industries have launched regulatory battles with their new competitors, arguing that peer-to-peer home rentals and ride-sharing contravene national and regional laws on housing and transportation. ... Clashes...are testing where the boundaries lie between the new companies and trading regulations designed to guarantee quality and safety.

Rooms rented through Airbnb, founded in 2008, are about 20% cheaper than most hotels in U.S. cities.

"Think about the major hotel chains that charge $25 for wireless,"co-host Mika Brzezinski said during Monday's Afternoon MoJoe roundtable discussion. "There are so many rip-offs that may be put into question now."

The most important aspect of a business is the relationship between the company's products or services and people's needs, said Harold Ford Jr., political analyst and former Democratic congressman. Airbnb boasts more than 4 million guests and 300,000 listings worldwide since its establishment in 2008. Airbnb users can rent spaces in tree houses, castles, caves, tepees...and igloos.

Related: 'People thought we were absolutely crazy,' says Airbnb's founder

"But it really is [these disrupted] companies that somehow understand their existence and environment has changed," said Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary and msnbc contributor. "If they're going to continue to be a vibrant company, they're going to have to compete with people who have new ideas."

Be sure to watch other web-exclusive interviews and roundtable discussions right here in the Afternoon MoJoe section of the website.

(Found out more about Airbnb):