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Airbnb co-founder was a spam 'pioneer,' new book says

Nathan Blecharczyk, CEO of Airbnb.
Michel Porro | Getty Images
Nathan Blecharczyk, CEO of Airbnb.

Before Nathan Blecharczyk became Airbnb's co-founder and chief technology officer, he was one of the "pioneers" of the email spamming business, according to a new book excerpted by Bloomberg.

Blecharczyk paid his way through college helping email marketers side-step anti-spam efforts from internet service providers, according to "The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World," a new book by Brad Stone.

Blecharczyk earned close to $1 million before he shut down the business in 2002 to focus on his studies, he told Stone. Since then, email spam regulations have intensified, Stone writes, but Blecharczyk said that uncertainty is "part of being a pioneer."

The programming skills he gained in college helped Blecharczyk build what is now Airbnb, which is not without its own regulatory scrutiny. It has just concluded a legal battle with New York City over a law that called for fines of as much as $7,500 for illegally listing a property on a rental platform.

For more on how Airbnb got its start, Bloomberg has a longer excerpt here.