International Journal of Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Law 2023

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TOURISM, TRAVEL AND HOSPITALITY LAW The term ‘online platform’ is widely used not only in academic literature but in our everyday speech as well. For the sake of theoretical and practical clarity it is important to distinguish between the notion of ‘online platform’ and the term ‘operator of an online platform’: The former is a kind of ‘virtual marketplace’ and an ecosystem comprising different agents, whereas the latter is a person or a company who runs the platform.8 For example, company Gotogate, Inc. is the operator of the booking portal – platform Apart from already mentioned distinction between transactional and non transactional markets, other classifications of on-line platforms may be done according to various criteria (activities, sectors of relevance, actors, level of control, etc.) These criteria are of the utmost importance for determination of the applicable law (B2B or B2C transaction, sectoral legislation) and the liability of platform. According to activities we differentiate among: web hosting providers,9search engines,10 online media sharing providers,11 social media, networking and discussion forums, allowing users to connect and communicate publicly or semi-publicly or messaging platforms, allowing users to communicate and share content privately; matchmaking and e-commerce platforms, facilitating the transaction of services, marketplaces, app stores; within this group, a narrower category may be identified, namely: collaborative platforms, offering non-professional actors to offer offline-services on an occasional basis (e.g. short term let of one apartment); and the other matchmaking platforms, such as dating apps;12 The present EU law has already reflected the existence of the on-line platforms. Modernisation of Unfair Commercial Practices Directive has been processed by the Directive 2019/2161 known broadly as the Omnibus Directive or “Enforcement and Modernization Directive”. It came into effect on 7 January 2020 and introduced the term ‘online marketplace’ that means a service using software, including a website, part of a website or an application, operated by or on behalf of a trader which allows consumers to conclude distance contracts with other traders or consumers. Furthermore, Regulation 2019/1150 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation 8 Filatova-Bilous, 2021. 9 Allowing users to host a website or other internet-based offering. 10 Allowing users to carry out systematic web searches for particular information, specified in a textual web search query, indexing results accordingly. 11 Allowing publication and consumption of online content and which, according to the type of material shared, can be further distinguished in news aggregation and broadcasting, music streaming, video streaming, blogs, etc. 12 Bertolini, Episcopo, Cherciu, 2021, p. 4.