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Archive for the 'Donations' Category

We Love New Couch$urfers!

New to Couch$urfing and you just signed up? And you clicked on the link that says “Continue”? Great! You are now at the page that we call the We-Trap-You-Page or also “Step 2″. This step is to verify that you really are who you say you are. Sounds good, right?

Now you see information about money and how great verification is, and a form that is for you to fill in. “Can I deal with that later maybe?” is probably what you think. But no! You can’t find the next continue button! Help! Where is the “skip this” button? How do I get out of here? I thought C$ was for free?

And what? Oh you live in Denmark? Bad for you, your suggested minimum donation is set to be $69.71 currently. And don’t you even think of paying less than that “recommended” amount because you won’t get through the form!

Ah, you live just across the border in Germany. That’s cool, you then pay $48.37 dollar less ($21.34). That’s 3 times cheaper for 5 kilometer! Hey, didn’t Casey just promise the community: “Just because we’re not a non-profit doesn’t mean we’re actually “for” profit”

Anyway. No worries. If you have no money, you can still become a member. As Casey wrote before, “The CouchSurfing features that you use today will continue to be free”. To help you further, you can apply for free verification through a verification scholarship.

But unfortunately the page doesn’t give you much information, and it still tells you that you have to pay (oh did the tech-team again release something without talking with communication dept? Where is Casey when you need him? Oh wait, he’s partying at Burning Man!)

And in despair you go to the address-bar and type: and pfff, it finally works.

What To Do With The Extra Money?

Couchsurfing’s strategy is “not sustainable”, concludes a Couchsurfing interim marketing consultant in a presentation given in San Francisco last Summer. “In order to keep cashflow, you would need to grow all the time”.

The consultant Mirek, also a CS-member, served at Basecamp from 16-21 July 2009 for Gadget and Matthew Brauer. The presentation of his ideas and conclusions can be found online (pdf, odp ).

Some Couchsurfing Facts from the presentation:

  1. CS has 15-20 thousand new users each week
  2. 5.6% of them pay verification fee of 26 $
  3. That makes more than 20.000 USD flowing in every week = ca. 1 mln USD a year.
  4. Expenses = 700-800 K USD
  5. 200.000 USD of surplus, and growing…
  6. Big Question: What to do with the extra money?

Mirek has some nice other nice observations about the organisational model of Couchsurfing. “Your present structure is based on a ‘family business’ model: tasks and responsibilities are ‘automatically’ assigned to people (mainly insiders).”

He advices to give it more structure, to have better defined functions and thinks it is a bad idea “to pay salaries to people staying [at Basecamp] up to one year, even if you have enough money. This would spoil the CS atmosphere and cause lot of formal (legal) obstacles.”

Interesting enough, Mirek explains to see donations as “a loan of trust”, which CS has to repay, “by improving the value you bring to CS users.” Couchsurfing should do that by “improving the website and services” and the organization, “so you are able to create a better product”.

SPOF’s as source of income

I wrote earlier at this blog that development at Couchsurfing isn’t the most stable part of the network. Today, lack of communication, as well as a simple programming error made a well respected member of the community leave. This can be read at a post by Thomas, as well as on the original source.

What really amazed me was the reason of the leave: a programming error, and not one, but one of many. I quote:

Another issue that was concerning me were bugs with simple fixes. Europeans consistently use commas to separate dollars and cents. However, many transactions were processed incorrectly, due to the comma. A member would attempt to donate 21,50, and 2,150 would be charged. Then it’s up to the member to notice the error, since we did not mail out receipts. I attempted and notified the LT that we should fix this ASAP, but it didn’t take top priority.

To be honest, I do not fully agree with Thomas stating that this is a scam, but I’m surely interested whether all the money is payed back as it should be. The programming error also makes clear that the creditcard-payments are handled at itself, instead of a payment broker. I’m not very clear if I would be glad to be a verified member…

Verification Team Leader resignation

It’s been a while since I’ve done any posting on OCS, but I stumbled across this post from the previous Verification Team Leader which provides invaluable information from the inside. It’s a long and painful read, but here’s what caught my attention the most:

  1. The Verification Team Leader himself admits that verification is a financial scam. There have been a lot of articles about this on OCS already.
  2. The sexual atmosphere at the collective has become even more out of touch with the real world and what Brian describes is absolutely cult behavior.
  3. Brian has only been volunteering for a year and he already writes: “And from what I read and gather, that’s fine by the LT. Seems that long-term volunteers are a pain in someone’s ass… not that they remember how CS was, but because they state issues, they are seen as trouble makers. I’m now one of them, I suppose.”

Welcome to the world outside of CS Brian!

The original post, now saved for prosperity and googlification:

I am attempting to abide by the guidelines within this group. I share here my letter to Jim and Casey for the reasons why I resigned as the Verification Team Leader, as many Ambs wrote to me off-site and asked for the ‘real reason.’ Here it is.

Dear Jim and Casey:

As you know, I’ve resigned as the Verification Team Leader. I currently remain on as a City Ambassador, NMW, CUQ Team Member, and co-moderator of the CUQ Team, unless you decide that it is not to be. I’ve always realized that this is your site, and the volunteers have very little to do with the direction that CS takes.

When I resigned from the verification team, it was a quickly written message to you. I had logged on, noticed yet another bug within the verification system, and realized that it was time for me to move on. I immediately remembered the bug of July 30 and 31 where everyone who tried to donate did so over and over, so their money was taken several times, many more than ten, but their profile was not updated. That bug immediately cost twelve man hours and we refunded almost $35,000 to members. I did not want to repeat that thankless amount of time working for free, with a ‘thank you’ given as a token gesture.

My thoughts of resigning actually began the week that I spent in San Francisco, at Base Camp. Jim and I spent a couple of weeks back and forth on email, trying to see if a ‘couch’ could be found for me at Base Camp. Mind you, this was not to be just a vacation for me, but Jim and I were going to work together to get me better trained. Back and forth the emails went, and the final note was basically, “We’ll house you somewhere… if you’re willing to sleep on a couch, then we’ll have room.” Not expecting anything else, I truly appreciated the housing accommodation as any true surfer appreciates an offer of accommodation.

The first weekend I was in SF was SF Gay Pride and I stayed with another CS friend. She also had another surfer (I’ll call her, D, as she has a starring role in this saga) for the weekend. We were invited to a CS brunch. Knowing that D was looking for longer-term couches due to a yoga class she was taking in SF, I introduced her to a group from BaseCamp at the brunch. When I mentioned that D was taking classes for Yoga, a couch was immediately offered to her at BC. And for a “week or so.” Mind you I had been emailing back and forth so that we could get some work done, but here was a young, cute lesbian who knew yoga, and she had a couch without any checking. Hmmm, didn’t someone say awhile back that if you’re cute and young……… and I’m sure one LT member would be very welcoming, in his mind.

A small side item… shortly after my visit, Jim, you requested a “friend” link. We were never friendly. We were friendly enough talking about work, etc… but while I visited SF for a week, you never once attempted to get to know me, to become friends.

I’ve coordinated volunteers for years, with many different organizations. Typically, an organization seeks to appreciate, thank and motivate all of it’s volunteers. I’ve never known an organization to house, feed and pay any of it’s volunteers. There’s never been (in my experience) an attempt to make the volunteer jobs of remote volunteers any better in this organization… not so if you’re at base camp. Meetings are held about how to make the dull volunteer’s jobs and lives better. More parties? More travel? More roadtrips? More alcohol and drugs? Perhaps you need more rooms for casual sex or perhaps an orgy room?

There are 100′s, perhaps 1,000′s, of volunteers who put in many hours in support of The CouchSurfing Project. 99% of those receive nothing in return, except perhaps an Ambassador flag. These volunteers work countless hours answering member questions, responding to issues, groups management, event management, locations management, AST/AMT, Ambassadors, spreading the word, and working remotely on Tech issues, and, until recently, assisting members with the Verification Program. Yet, there are a very few special volunteers who CS seem to revolve around.

These ‘core volunteers’ who live at BaseCamp or one of the collectives (mind you many may not have had a profile before becoming a ‘core volunteer’ or their profile had few references, vouches, or perhaps they hadn’t even become verified — profiles that I would be hesitant to surf/host with…) are asked to help make decisions (by voting at BC) and other important issues, but they seem not to be surfers, at all. Most seem very unwelcoming… that another someone is invading their secret society at BaseCamp. More than one person has said of BaseCamp, “they don’t seem like surfers.”

And if you’re tired of living in San Francisco, by all means, go to Costa Rica, or even to Turkey, where we can show even more appreciation to those we’ve already shown appreciation to. While “collectives” are said to be a mechanism of reaching out, most have their doors closed — except to a special few. And by the way, CS will pay you to go ‘home’ to your new house. My understanding is that to even be considered for Turkey, you’ll have had to do at least 3 hard months at BaseCamp or Costa Rica. Wow, things are hard! We’re sorry, let’s let you go to Turkey for awhile.

Many feel that the “volunteers” who live at BaseCamp are spoiled and self-righteous. Many also feel that they do not represent CS well, as many do not seem to be “surfers” at all. Many also realize that nepotism helps you to secure a spot. It’s been stated over and over that “who you know” has no bearing on who is ‘invited’ to live at BaseCamp. I don’t think so. Mrs. Gadget has housing and a position. Jim’s girlfriend has housing and a job. *Please NOTE that I have NOTHING against neither Ms. Gadget nor CaseyAnn personally.* A former house manager was a friend of TTT’s (so it’s been reported).

And not just housing, by the way. We’ll also give you a job! And a title, perhaps. Let’s not worry if you know nothing about Human Resources, Volunteer Coordination, or have no accounting background. Many members and Ambassadors also believe that it helps someone secure BaseCamp status by returning sexual favors. At least you have the rooms/space set up for it.

I’ve never been to a non-profit’s headquarters where there were rooms specifically for sexual encounters. And it comes with anal beads, mind you. Don’t get me wrong… I am a Sex Positive person. but when positions and housing and food and travel are given because of this, then the word volunteer should be changed to another word, meaning the exchange of sex for cash or other tangible items. Do you think the American Red Cross has anal beads anywhere within their headquarters? I realize we are not the same, but still.

So, if you volunteer at BaseCamp, you’ll be rewarded richly. You’ll be housed in one of the most expensive cities in the US, or live in an international location with all the amenities you could never afford yourself volunteering.

The prior verification team leader received an amount for each verification. It makes sense to motivate this person. They are your key to income. Due to poor communication and no technical help, she resigned. I was asked to step in, and I did so. Mind you, I was never told about an “incentive” nor asked if I would like to volunteer at BaseCamp. So be it. The ‘volunteers’ who took the team over, 3 of them, will all be rewarded richly for their ‘hard work and dedication.’ They will be at BaseCamp, even though one is out of the country now so that the US government doesn’t catch on to what’s happening. I doubt the volunteers at BC actually tell Customs they are entering the US to be “paid” in housing and ‘stipends.’ Seems contradictory for a non-profit trying to gain Tax Exempt status to guide ‘volunteers’ on what to say so that the same government doesn’t block their entry into the US.

So, enough about me feeling sorry and not good enough to warrant an inquiry as to whether or not I’d like to be an “appreciated” volunteer and live at BaseCamp. We’ll bring in the store manager and let them stay a good 8 months, but not to worry, no work needs be done.

Many, many times I’ve answered members questions when they request a variance from the verification team, that “what we do for one, we must do for all.” CouchSurfing does not believe this. Let’s highly reward a very few, and the idiots who continue supporting our ‘chosen’ ones, will continue to do so, or leave. Not to worry, there are 1,000′s more who would love to give their time, energy and love to CS as others leave because they are tired of the BS.

Then comes the issue of disrespect to the volunteers who work their ass off to help us protect ourselves. Recently, a highly-respected long term volunteer left a negative reference for an LT member. Hers was the second negative reference. Both centered around inappropriate conduct. Almost immediately, the reference was removed by an LT member. NOT from the volunteer team with the responsibility to handle such issues — the MDST — but by a leadership team member. The member rewrote the reference, and it was put back onto “His” profile. Then, yet another LT member removed it. Mind you, if it were any of the 1,000′s of other volunteers NOT at BaseCamp receiving the reference, we would have had to wait until the MDST completed their review, and rightly so. But, if you “volunteer” at BaseCamp, then references don’t matter, it appears that an LT member can just delete ones they don’t like… regardless of whether it is factual or not. Again, what we do for one, we must do for all — does not apply.

Long-term volunteers are leaving in droves. I do not count myself as a long-term volunteer… I’ve only been volunteering the last year or so. And from what I read and gather, that’s fine by the LT. Seems that long-term volunteers are a pain in someone’s ass… not that they remember how CS was, but because they state issues, they are seen as trouble makers. I’m now one of them, I suppose.

Another issue that was concerning me were bugs with simple fixes. Europeans consistently use commas to separate dollars and cents. However, many transactions were processed incorrectly, due to the comma. A member would attempt to donate 21,50, and 2,150 would be charged. Then it’s up to the member to notice the error, since we did not mail out receipts. I attempted and notified the LT that we should fix this ASAP, but it didn’t take top priority.

Then there’s the issue where members were using other person’s credit cards and the cards were approved. Even though the names did not match. Changing the wording from “Name has been checked” to “Identity Checked” doesn’t quite cut it, in my opinion.

The push to hit up members within their first few hours of joining is an attempt to raise funds, not to make the system safer. Period. It’s for money. Sadly, I believe that the same amount of money could be raised by asking for a donation, simply and plainly… but you seem to not want to ask for funds to keep the service ad-free and running… but calling it ‘verification’ seems to rid you of the guilt in asking for funds.

So, with that, you have my ‘real’ reason for resigning. If you’d rather I not volunteer at all, I’ll understand. I still believe in the spirit and ideals of CouchSurfing and love meeting other surfers and hosts. I do not have to be a volunteer to do that. I will remain on to help other Ambassadors and community members.

I would like to train future ambassadors on how they can best serve the community, our fellow surfers and hosts. I also wish to remain on as a co-coordinator of the CUQs… again, to help my fellow members and ambassadors.

However, I leave that to you. Either way, I’m happy to not have the stress and pressures. I never could fill my predecessors shoes, and 3 replacements will have a difficult time in filling mine. But now that they are all “corporation volunteers” they will fall in line, or lose their ‘core volunteer’ status, not to mention their housing, food and travel expenses.

Casey, this is to you personally. I believe you have great ideas and a great site here. But I also believe that you have advisors who advise you incorrectly. I believe that they only have their best interests at heart. You have an LT member who actively gropes and fondles females… female volunteers, and female guests. Many, many times we lowly members and volunteers have heard of how he places his genitalia on other volunteers’ keyboards. Again, I am not a prude… I’m a sexually positive person and believe sex should be enjoyed — with a consensual partner! He gets away with it, but it will come back to bite you in the ass. He will grope the wrong person, and there will be a price to pay. Please do not be like the Catholic Church and shuffle this person off to a place where women are traditionally treated like material objects… where his gropes will be just as emotionally damaging, but where the objects of his unwanted advances will probably not speak out due to cultural issues. Don’t put a wolf in the chicken coop. You already have one ambassador within walking distance of CS who won’t speak out publicly about the things this person has done to her, and in her home. Is this really the best you can do to coordinate/energize your Ambassador corp?


CS 2008 Finances

Today I noticed that the CouchSurfing 2008 finances have been updated for the whole year. I whipped up a graph to show where the money goes.


Employee related expenses account for 62.8% of total expenses. In that figure I’ve included salaries, tax, payroll fees, rent, travel, food, and staff development. Admin expenses includes anything not in hosting / verification. Hosting is server costs plus telephone / communication. I suspect most of the telephone / communication expenses belong in Employees, but I left it there to be on the safe side. Finally, verification, the source of 99% of the income, costs only 6% of total expenses. I included printing and mailing in the verification cost.

The numbers are:

Employees: $405’440.59
Admin Expenses: $116’901.33
Hosting costs: $86’723.33
Verification: $36’589.83

It costs more than $400k to staff CS Inc with how many employees? Five? That would be a cost of $80k per person per year.

Hopefully this helps to understand where the money goes. – the real background!

This blog is mostly run by BW-lovers with a clear agenda (make CS and HC look bad so their “oh-so-moral” alternative looks attractive). For all others, who still have a somewhat open mind and don’t fall so easily for Kasper & Co’s constant propaganda, here a link to our side of the story:

The real background about this “democratic, transparent, legal” (sic) network.

Money talks – creating funds

People ask, how can they support OpenCouchSurfing? Likewise, I often meet people who support the ideals, but also want to support CouchSurfing. They might have paid for verification. They don’t totally agree with the way CouchSurfing is run, but they want to support the organisation anyway.

My idea is to offer people a way to support CouchSurfing financially, while also supporting the ideals of OpenCouchSurfing. That’s the basic premise.

I think it could work as follows. We create one or more funds or trusts. These funds are clearly constituted. They exist to support the work of CouchSurfing, within certain conditions. Rather like the government supports universities in the UK, but the money comes with requirements. The universities must behave in a certain way to be eligible for the cash.

A simple example might be server costs. We could create a fund to pay for CouchSurfing’s server costs. So long as CouchSurfing International Inc submits invoices for these costs, the fund would reimburse the expenses. This is just a simple example.

The underlying concept is to give members a way to financially support CouchSurfing, while still upholding the principles of OpenCouchSurfing.

We could also provide a mechanism for members to display and verify their donations. For example, images which could be inserted into the user’s profile, showing how much that user has donated. This might help to spread the message amongst members. In effect, we would be creating an alternative to the CouchSurfing verification system.

This is very much an idea right now. It needs considerable research and discussion before being implemented. Please share your thoughts at this early stage. Can you see merit in the concept? Would you be willing to donate money through such a framework? All feedback will be appreciated.

Impressions of the CS Thailand achievements

To be honest, the list of CSCT achievements confused the hell out of me. Instead of a report on which objectives were achieved through which actions, it’s a huge list of “stuff that we’ve done”. How does all this relate to any kind of overall plan? Was there even a plan?

This is not a report, this is a “shut the fuck up” list. What this list tells me is: “LOOK! We’ve done A LOT! Leave us alone!” Doogies (a CSCT participant) sums it up best in one of his comments on this site:

You wanted to know everything we did in Thailand so you get a document with more than 500 achievements we accomplished there for couchsurfing.

More than 500 achievements! Wow! Unfortunately, I find it clearly symptomatic of a miserable professional result. I’ve seen this approach before: Whenever a large project failure had to be covered up. Been there, done that myself. It’s a sleight of hand technique: By pointing at a huge, unreadable and almost entirely unverifiable list of statements, they are hoping to hoodwink the CS donation base that all that money is serving a purpose and probably to fool themselves in the process. The person responsible for this style of writing is Mandie, showing us again how incompetent she is at what she does. Hold this report up to the standard of any serious non-profit organization and it just becomes sad. This is not a report, it’s a hastily thrown together list of things people could still remember doing.

There is plenty to learn from the report though. In general, it appears that the largest part of the participants has been busy analyzing and communicating. Also, tech has been very busy, probably the most productive team overall (this has always been the case in CS). If anyone seems to have done anything, it’s clearly the programmers. We’ll see how well it all holds up in the summer.

Things that I noticed right away:

  • Jim Stone is a scary control freak, which we already knew from the way he bullied everyone in the CS Wiki. Look at what occupies him:
    • ” A reminder system to let people know they should update any reference that has been identified as violating our terms of use.”
    • “References are no longer completely deleted when removed, just hidden for safety concerns. We also know who deleted it, what the reference said, and when it was deleted.”
    • “Deleted Images: The safety team can easily delete images from accounts that are deemed inappropriate. The member is also emailed to let them know with instructions on what they can do next.”
    • “Refined a tool that more easily identifies real spammers and harmful users and doesn’t temporarily falsely identify members as being spammers as often now.”
    • “Deleted posts: every post that’s been deleted, why it was deleted, who did it, when, and ability to reactivate it with one click.” (I’d love to see this list of “whys” sometime.)
  • Rachel is a one-stop CS police force: “Directly handled several member disputes.” She obviously doesn’t need to report to anyone, because obviously every communication is an achievement and a report of Rachel’s activities simply isn’t listed.
  • Speaking of communication, Mandie thinks this is an achievement: “Email to ambassadors explaining website downtime.” My god. An email. The “report” is full of nonsense entries like that.

But all that is just fun and games. It clearly wasn’t edited anymore than the average OCS post (this says enough), providing hours of entertainment. Meetings are NOT achievements, neither are writing emails, calling people or “Finding a suitable caterer and arranging for daily delivery of food.” (Obviously nobody felt like cooking in a country with such a low wage scale.) Who cares about the “bi-weekly shopping trip”? Or what about ” Administered half-way point evaluation meeting with House Manger.”? That one was from Matthew Brauer, who has a truly sad list of achievements and still can’t spell his name right. (What the hell is it with using nicknames in an “official” report anyway?)

But what is really interesting is what is missing:

  • Where is all this generated material being kept? Things like “plan for Alaska Collective including budget, roles, objective and location”, “desired skills sets for volunteers in team”, “‘Core concepts’ to help uncover and articulate what CouchSurfing is about, not about, what its mission is.”, etc etc. The server team doesn’t mention installing a document repository and the Wiki has been shot down Jim Stone style. So, unless I’m mistaken (no way to verify unless Doogie could come out his tower to enlighten us), all these wonderful documents either don’t exist or are sitting in someones harddrive or mailbox. Either way, that will mean 90% of “work done” will be tossed away again for the next collective, like it has happened 2 times already. Remember the huge “organizational chart” that was created before CSCNZ? Exactly. CS management = the way of the Dodo.
  • There is absolutely NO mention of 501c3 status. None. Let me repeat that: the entire 501c3 process is completely absent from this report, even though it was in quite a few announcements. What happened guys? Didn’t you work on it or is it not an achievement? Or maybe, perhaps, it was a miserable failure?
  • There is not one mention of drafting contracts and exactly one reference to legal work:
    “Phased out one-on-one verification on the advice of our legal team: verification now only available through credit card or a verified PayPal account.”
    Right, so all those expenses towards the CS lawyer(s), 14,234$ in 2007, have only resulted in another way to increase profits? It appears nobody had a contract or even insurance (only travel insurance is mentioned), since none of that is mentioned. (Search for: “legal”, “contract” and “insurance”.)
  • What the hell is going on with Casey Fenton (who also doesn’t need a last name)? Why doesn’t he have his own personal achievements, like his buddies Matthew or Jim? Why is he mentioned in second place of a team twice? My guess is that they are trying to shield Casey from direct comments on his behind-the-scenes style of control. Who are they kidding? Where has the “leadership team” gone? Where are the board meetings? Who is on the board anyway? Of course, it’s also possible Casey couldn’t be bothered to write down his list of “achievements” and/or Mandie didn’t dare to ask him.
  • Did you know CS has a new team in charge? Neither did I. This time, it’s simply called “CouchSurfing Management” and guess who’s in it? Matthew, Casey, Jim and Weston (member since April 15th, 2007). Congratulations guys, you have finally managed to create your little Northern American boys club.

What else do you see missing from the report? What do you think is the funniest “achievement”?

Proposal: CouchSurfing legal fund

I believe CouchSurfing and Casey Fenton have broken, and continue to break, the law. Among other things, I believe that member’s “donations” are being misused. I think this misuse is the clearest breach of the law.

As the membership continues to grow, the potential for abuse also continues to grow. I think this situation must be brought to a head as a matter of urgency.

My proposal is to start a CouchSurfing legal fund. A financial fund where individuals could choose to donate money. That money would be used to pursue legal action against crimes perpetrated by CouchSurfing International Inc and Casey Fenton.

I think a number of issues would need to be addressed prior to any donations being accepted.

  • The constitution of the organisation / fund
  • Who would direct the legal action (I propose Pickwick as a core figure, if he accepts)
  • How lawyers would be appointed to carry out the action
  • Specifically, what action would be taken

Pickwick has diligently researched the legal constitution CouchSurfing. I think this work has made the greatest progress towards the goals of OpenCouchSurfing. I believe this area of work should be financially supported on a larger scale.

To start the ball rolling, I, Callum Macdonald, pledge $100 to this fund. I’ll make the actual donation once the fund is in place.

I warmly invite you to share your opinion, and if you feel appropriate, make a financial pledge. (Dislcaimer, financial pledges will be entirely voluntarily, so any commitment you make here is not legally binding.)

What’s happening in the other networks


I just received a BeWelcome newsletter about what is happening there; main point was that they just had their first conference (where following my knowlegde everybody could participate, not only “approved people”, so if you want to go to the next one keep your eyes open for the dates). I’m not going to post the whole text here, but there were some interesting links in it that I’m pasting in at the end of this post. I want to point out that this is not supposed to be advertisement for BeWelcome, but an insight in other networks and more specifically a network claiming to be transparent and democratic.

I want to draw your attention to this line in their blog, which I found interesting (but make up your own mind!):

“We had 200 € in expenses, which covered all of the food and drinks for the entire weekend, except of course the party on Saturday night. The participants payed 9 € on average (2,2 € minimum, 11 € maximum), no BeVolunteer money was ever used. To put this in perspective, we could (theoretically) do 58 of these weekends with the money that Couchsurfing spends on their collectives and meetings in 3 months (as an example), without spending any of our donation money.”

As said, make up your own mind, here’s the links about the conference which were inside of the message:

(Sorry, I don’t know how to make the direct links on this site, you’ll have to copy-paste them) Update: Links have been added.

The video:

The blog:

The tech blog:

I hope nobody minds me writing this here; I think comparing the networks and their ideas is interesting for all of us. In my opinion the OCS site is not only about Couchsurfing, as the ideals of transparency and democracy (I dare to suggest all people writing here share those) are not about a specific network.

Nevertheless I want to draw special attention to Kaspar’s (in whose critical opinion about the conference I’m interested) stylish hat while he is “Couch-Surfing” (Couch-Relaxing? Being Welcomed on a Couch? Alright, I’m not funny..) in the video. ;)

All the best