Last year, we wrote about the troubling problem of Airbnb rentals with hidden cameras, spying on guests. (Back in April, a family even found a hidden camera live-streaming their stay at an Airbnb in Ireland.) But in our latest edition of Hack or Wack, we ask another important, related question: Would you willingly book a cheap hotel or Airbnb, knowing you’d be live-streaming your entire stay on YouTube?
Well, this scenario is not a hypothetical one—one hotel-owner based out of Fukuoka, Japan is allowing guests to stay at his rental property for just 100 yen, or $1 if they’re willing to stream their experience live on the hotel’s YouTube page, which currently has over 6,000 subscribers. Commenters can chat directly with the guests during their trip and as they stream, too.
There are certain rules and boundaries built into the deal. “Lewd acts” are not allowed (ie. sex). You shouldn’t show any personal information like credit card numbers, for obvious reasons. And the feed is video-only, meaning your conversations won’t be overheard. (Although, according to the Washington Post, a microphone can be enabled for those guests “thrilled by being watched,” and I guess, heard.)
But is a $1 hotel room worth your privacy?
Probably! While I like my privacy, the streaming experience seems limited. According to the hotel owner, you won’t be filmed in the bathroom, which should assuage any fears of a total lack of privacy. Also, if you were on vacation in Japan, chances are you’d spend little time in the room, anyway.
And yes, $1 is $1.
But wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable being watched, you might ask? Well, I’d imagine that depends on your own comfort level. I don’t do anything that embarrassing or shameful in my own home that I wouldn’t do in public (besides talking to myself or my cat a lot). For that reason alone, being watched by a few thousand people in the comfort in a hotel room wouldn’t feel so disorienting.
Since it’s YouTube, I imagine the comments section wouldn’t be full of compliments, either, but we’re unusually equipped to handle arguments in our own comments over at Lifehacker HQ. I guess that, too, is a matter of your comfort level and ability to handle the unmoderated demands of YouTube viewers.
Anyway, If I were in Fukuoka, I’d probably book it, sneak around the camera entirely, and disappoint all the viewers (or keep the lights off during my entire stay).
The verdict? A hack, assuming it doesn’t become part of some larger voyeuristic hotel trend, and that you’re not concerned about who’s watching.