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”.
Some Couchsurfing Facts from the presentation:
- CS has 15-20 thousand new users each week
- 5.6% of them pay verification fee of 26 $
- That makes more than 20.000 USD flowing in every week = ca. 1 mln USD a year.
- Expenses = 700-800 K USD
- 200.000 USD of surplus, and growing…
- 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”.