A study by Harvard researchers found that it is harder for Airbnb guests with "black names" to book rentals than for those with "white-sounding names".
The researchers say when profiles had distinctively white names, like Todd, Anne and Allison, there was a 50 percent success rate for a positive response but with black-sounding names like Lakisha, Latoya or Darnell this dropped to 43 percent.
"Discrimination is costly for hosts who indulge in it. Hosts who reject African-American guests are able to find a replacement guest only 35 percent of the time," the scientists say. The five cities studied were Baltimore, Dallas, L.A., St Louis and Washington D.C.