People rushed to book this Airbnb listing of a lavish London townhouse. But if they had looked more closely at the pictures, they’d have kept scrolling. It may look like a palatial London townhouse, and plenty of gullible travelers thought so too – until they realized they’d been trolled.
UK YouTubers have racked up thousands of dollars worth of booking requests after successfully listing a doll’s house on Airbnb. A video of their impressive prank has garnered more than 350,000 views on YouTube.
London’s Archie Manners and Josh Pieters, who are known for their online gags, reportedly masterminded the stunt to see just how carefully does “Airbnb checks their listings,” Pieters said in the clip.
The cheeky duo reportedly also wanted to trick the throngs of British holiday-makers flocking to reserve accommodation after lockdown restrictions eased.
“Archie and I thought we’d advertise one of the world’s smallest properties on one of the world’s biggest websites,” Pieters said. The pair reportedly meticulously photographed the interior of a palatial 1700s doll’s house created by famed designer Emma Waddle to fool the housing rental giant. The miniature mansion is so detailed that it includes “readable books” and “real paintings,” Pieters explains the video.
They then listed the replica as a “Luxurious London 18th Century Townhouse” with a picture of Pieters’ mother as the property’s host. However, the duo also wanted to give Airbnb a sporting chance to bust them. So they adorned the mansion with several features indicating that their house was not to scale – namely, a bank card in the bathroom and a full-sized water bottle in the hallway. One of the advert’s pictures even showed the duo’s reflection in one of the house’s mirrors.
Despite the obvious Easter eggs, Airbnb accepted the replica rental. After that, it amassed around $6000 worth of reservations. (No, the pranksters didn’t actually get to pocket any cash.)
Airbnb did not respond to requests for comment.
The YouTube peanut gallery was impressed that the tricksters managed to it pull off.
“The amount of people who just didn’t notice the water bottle is astounding,” exclaimed one awe-struck gawker of their inspiring work of forgery.
Another wrote: “It’s insane how nothing gets vetted on websites like this.”
One YouTube comedian said: “Plot twist: The buyers actually knew it was a doll’s house and just wanted their doll to have a place to stay.”
Thankfully, Manners and Pieters have returned the money to the hornswoggled holiday-makers and even gifted two of them a free hotel stay as reparations, as shown in the clip. The listing has also been taken down.
The video concluded with a helpful PSA on internet scams: “Maybe it’s worth checking before booking something online; after all, it’s the little things that matter,” Pieters said.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission.