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CS Inc $600k revenue in 2008?

If I read the 2008 CouchSurfing Inc finances (citation) correctly, CS Inc is on track for income in excess of $600’000 USD this year. Contributed support for 1 Jan – 31 Mar is listed as $155,616.73.

Web/ Internet/ Host Fees – $ 2,960.59
Telephone & telecommunications – $ 2,208.03
Equip rental & maintenance – $ 13,923.46

Salaries of Professional Staff – $ 19,384.68
Payroll Taxes – $ 1,955.63
Office Expenses/ Supplies – $ 3,195.01
Rent, Parking, and other occupancy – $ 4,777.81
Meals/ Groceries – $ 10,895.37

Total cost of running the site around $19’092.08. Total salary bill (payroll plus taxes) $21’339.63. Total expenses related to “staff” around $40’207.82. A total of more than $10’000 spent on meals / groceries!

The total “staff” cost is more than twice the actual hosting cost. Yet since the organisation has added so many “professional staff” I see little difference in the actual site. Few new features, little increase in stability. Certainly no change in transparency or solving any of the “we’re too busy to publish details” problems.

CouchSurfing might well have an income in excess of half a million dollars this year. Looks like it’s becoming a viable business opportunity.

18 Responses to “CS Inc $600k revenue in 2008?”

  • I just heard about couchsurfing and tried to register, but the captcha doesn’t work. And I can’t contact them because the captcha doesn’t work. what the ?

  • Perhaps time for them to start a ” Couchsurfing Foundation” to channel all the excess cash in support of external hospitality related projects.

  • So far the income saw a big increase every northern hemisphere Summer (the travel season), so I expect the 2008 income to turn out to be more than 1M US$.

  • CS was by my observation, conceived from the first day, almost exclusively as a vehicle to provide parties and p*ssy for King Casey, and also cash income. In addition, it was (and is) also consciously being sold as some kind of spiritually enlightening travel experience in order to con talented individuals to donate both administrative efforts and technical skills, at little or no cost, so that Casey can personally benefit from that as well.

    The infuriating thing is that CS has nearly reached a critical mass of membership numbers that may provide the momentum to keep it moving forward and growing, despite the inherent internal political corruption and exploitation.

    There’s a reason that Casey has focused recent efforts on PR and spin, instead of improving the actual product. All he has to do is keep spewing feel-good propaganda and keep a close eye on damage-control, and the overwhelming mass of the member list will carry him through any storm.

    I can’t honestly say that Casey imagined the position he’d be in today, when he began the thing several years ago, but I do believe the guy is a natural manipulator and con man, who realized he could sell a grin, a party, and a good time, and in doing so get everyone else to carry the weight and make the investments that would let him crowd-surf to personal benefit and possibly riches.

    In so many ways, Casey is little more than a self-serving, egomaniacal cult leader, who has always intended to benefit personally by exploiting his fawning followers. He’s just wired that way (as has been painfully obvious at every step of the game), whether he had the current business operation exactly in mind at the beginning, or not.

  • Christopher Culver

    Mojo Doppio, those who come up with ideas that benefit a community are entitled to their reward. If the founders of other successful Internet communities are handsomely reimbursed, why should Casey not be? I donated hoping that my money would go towards Casey having a good time.

    I feel sorry for Casey. He set up a network to make friends and live an interesting lifestyle in the company of other young people. But then so many dull and thoroughly ordinary people signed up that the network was snatched away from him. It’s no surprise he and others on the Leadership Team have retreated some ways away, when the general membership base nowadays is so uninspiring.

    If we want more work on the site, we have to unite together and show Casey that the crowd he intended Couchsurfing for is still there and strong. A bunch of 50 year olds moaning about kids and their drugs as one sees on a dozen CS groups isn’t going to motivate anyone to do anything more on the site.

  • “I donated hoping that my money would go towards Casey having a good time.”

    That is _not_ the reason the majority of participants in CS donate time, money, or enthusiasm. Not hardly.

    “If we want more work on the site, we have to unite together and show Casey that the crowd he intended Couchsurfing for is still there and strong.”

    First of all, whatever kind of crowd there is, is not obligated to mold itself to Casey’s expectations. He clearly wants to run CS like both a business and a cult.

    As a business, it’s an abject failure, and as a cult, it’s _not_ what anyone else is looking for in a HospEx. The cult serves the inner clique, and absolutely nobody else. The business barely serves anyone, except the paid clique members.

    Secondly, many many many people have attempted to “unite together” and have invested more than enough effort and passion in practically futile attempts to improve the overall experience, and the product itself.

    Your attempt to paint Casey as the victim and concoct excuses for him and his failure to do what is best for the entire organization, not just for Casey, is nothing short of ludicrous.

  • Christopher Culver: “so many dull and thoroughly ordinary people signed up that the network was snatched away” and a “bunch of 50 year olds moaning about kids and their drugs”, and then, amazingly: “we have to unite together”!

    First of all, forgive me, as one much less knowledgable than you in the field of linguistics and languages, for saying that there is no way of “uniting apart”, so that “uniting together” is really bad English.

    However, if the kind of language you applied, and I assume knowingly, as an expert in the field, is what you find designed to unite, then I would really hate to see what you say when you want to divide. Yours is not the language of “uniting a community”, yours is the language of ganging up against people you dislike, because they have boundaries in place, and reserve the right to say ‘no’ to you. That’s all you’re ever itched by. You prefer your victims vulnerable and helpless, not strong and knowing what they want.

    As I told you before, I see you as an autistic, passive-aggressive parasite, with an attitude of grandism: You always look for the one who’s right and the one who’s wrong, instead of accepting different opinions. You become offensive, in every sense of the word, by trying to make people feel bad about not giving you what you demand. Your extensive taking has been reality, whereas your giving is mostly fantasy. And you appear to believe it is your mission to spread your attitude around as if it was a message of salvation.

    In relation to something you said in another thread, the term ‘autism’ certainly denotes a serious condition, and like all clinical and diagnostic terms it can also be used in a colloquial way, to describe behaviour in every day life. Clinically, autism is a pervasive personality development disorder, which severely affects social capacities, especially the ability to recognise the validity of more than one view of reality.

    And passive-aggressiveness, parasitism, and grandism are not that uncommon in autistic personalities, when they deny their condition, and instead of learning to manage it, try to dump on others the result of the social impediments it carries.

    So I repeat my advice, Christopher: get professional help; you are not well.

  • Christopher Culver

    Pickwick, when I would prefer that certain hosts completely leave the network entirely, then I am hardly demanding any sort of hospitality from them. Why can’t you and your crowd find your own network which isn’t founded and closely linked to values you despise?

    Entering an existing network and intentionally trying to undermine it towards your own contrary preferences is perverse, especially when there are already networks out there that are all that you want.

    But I guess you’re too arrogant to admit you got it wrong. You signed up for Couchsurfing fairly recently knowing little what it’s about, and made no effort to get guidance from the first generation of active members. Ever since then, you’ve been trying to claim the fault lies with Casey and his team just so that you don’t have to face facts.

  • Christopher: “what it’s about”

    It’s not like your church, Christopher. Nobody decides dogmatically for others ‘what it’s about’. Diversity is allowed, whether you like it or not.

  • Shame that those pages add just a little bit new to our society. They are great, everybody acknowledges, so they could be examples (that work) for more.

    Veit had a great idea, but he did not want to leave the power/dictatorship part out. Casey had great idea, but he doesn’t want do leave the status/money driven part out.

    It reflects back on the whole projects. That is a shame, but I guess that is just human.

  • Christopher Culver

    “Nobody decides dogmatically for others ‘what it’s about’.”

    That’s where you have it wrong. CS is not a democracy. As soon as that became clear, you should have either gotten with the programme or left.

  • I knew that CS wasn’t a democracy, but thank you for explaining to me that it is an oligarchy devoted to strong statehead personalities.

    I never knew that my donation was for their profit, instead of a contribution to keeping the infrastructure that provides services to a cool worldwide diverse community going.

    I never knew that my ideas about community and my own personal thoughts must reflect those of our leadership. I never had the benefit of growing up in countries with this kind of enlightened thought; I guess if I up in Soviet Russia, or N. Korea, then I would already have been ingrained with this wisdom.

    I will try to stay in my place, attack anyone who disagrees.

    All hail our Most Glorious Leaders, Spreaders of the Joy, Keepers of the Code, and Protectors of the Faithful.

  • I think when I came to CS (~700 members), there was still quite a lot open in which direction it goes… I brought then quite some people from HC to CS, but I never said that it is the final solution and that there are also issues to solve on CS… thats why HospEx Ne>t was set up… but yes, now it is very clear in which direction it goes.

  • Christopher Culver: “I would prefer that certain hosts completely leave the network entirely”

    Figures. Those who say ‘no’ to you.

    That’s one of the many differences between us: You want to decide what’s ‘right’ for all. I want everybody to make their own choice. For that I want everybody to have adequate tools.

    As a registered charity the organisation is not at all free to do as it sees fit; it is accountable to the public, and subject to certain rules. Democracy has nothing to do with it.

  • Christopher Culver

    Actually, no, Pickwick, I *always* find a couch on CS. A fairly small amount of people are that selective of their guests. The issue is arriving at the hosts’ home and finding that they have nothing but contempt for the values the site was founded on.

    Even registered charities can massively purge their member bases. It has happened before in the rebirth of many organizations which went astray, and either it will happen in CS or the network as we know it will die.

  • “purge”

    I rest my case. Unless you want to go all the way into a fascistoid agenda of eliminating the undesirables, so that the clean and pure ones will inherit Couchsurfing heaven.

  • Christopher Culver

    That’s rather my point. The Leadership Team cannot reduce member numbers, because then you would start making ridiculous comparisons to fascism. But since they can’t do that, they’ll probably just give up on making any substantial changes to the site. You guys lose either way.

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