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Couchsurfing Customers

A new service might be hitting the Couchsurfing Community soon: Couchsurfing Postcards. Looks great, and finally turns you into a real customer ;-)

Create a Customer Profile with CouchSurfing Postcards which allows you to shop faster, track the status of your current orders, review your previous orders and take advantage of our other member’s benefits.

For some users of Couchsurfing, a survey has been launched to check how much interest there is for this new service. Interesting enough the maybe-soon-to-come-about service is not offered by Couchsurfing but seems to be going through a partnership-deal with a company called AIgypsy, a for-profit company which already registered the domain end of 2009.

The Couchsurfer behind this idea is ssri, who on his profile states: “The postcard project is delayed yet again due to a random survey/beta test this month”.

4 Responses to “Couchsurfing Customers”

  • They want US$2.45 for a single (4″x6″?) printout, that utilizes reduced (post card) postage, and provides no way to confirm delivery. And as is typical, they offer to investigate non-deliveries. Oh yeah, how exactly, you bunch of scheming crooks? (they offer something that seems to be of value, but that can’t actually be delivered. There’s a pattern here…)

    At least in the U.S., letters and post-cards are un-trackable, have no unique ID/bar code, and delivery can never be confirmed. So, unless they’re paying for trackable delivery, even the offer to investigate non-deliveries is basically a lie.

    I can email or upload any pic I like, putting it in the hands of my desired recipient(s), in literally one minute. From my phone, to your eyes, anywhere in the world. And always for literally no cost, if I simply upload to a webpage, blog, or Facebook.

    Shutterfly has been a “print on demand and mail it” service, for oh, about ten years minimum, now. And they also now have lots of competitors, so costs are competitive as well. I use them because I have before, but they still don’t offer the best price.

    Delivery times for Casey’s latest scam:
    “Continental USA: 4-6 days
    Alaska/Hawaii 6-9 days
    Western Europe 8-14 days
    Major Cities in Asia 8-14 days
    Major Cities in Africa 10-20)
    Australia 11- 15 days
    China Excluding Central Shanghai 12-25 days
    India 10-20 days
    Islands such as Koh Phangan 20-30 days.”

    Casey’s push to actually “pre-pay,” or purchase some kind of “credits, in advance”:

    “How long can I use my purchased postcard credits?
    Your postcards will not expire unless your account is inactive for at least 2 years. So please purchase many to take advantage of the quantity discounts. The more you buy the cheaper it gets.”

    Snail-mail, even for nice images or/of ink on paper, is nearly a dead technology now. I can grab a pic and deliver it, nearly instantaneously and usually at zero cost. If the viewer doesn’t need a print-out, it cost them nothing either. If the electronic delivery might cost something (like an international MMS), I can just upload/publish the pic to a private directory on a web page, in my own country. Again, at zero cost.

    You can already also set up group lists for cell phone recipients. For those of us who travel, sharing our pictures has been trivially easy and free, for many years already.

    Even my mother, gets an attached image in an email message. Couldn’t be simpler or cheaper. If she wants a physical print-out for the ‘fridge, she prints it out on her own printer, at much less cost. For grandmother, it’s Shutterfly; been using services like that for years. You can also include a message with the pic.

    This is an idea, that might have taken off at least ten years ago. The boat has long since sailed, and while this offer may make Casey a little more cash, it won’t go far. Anyone traveling today already has several choices which are much less costly, much faster, and even simpler.

    Travelers with practically zero technical skill, can today, snap pictures on their cell phone and upload them to Facebook, where one or a thousand viewers, can see the shots two minutes later, and at zero cost for both sender and viewer. I do it as a traveler, and all my traveler friends do it as well. In 99% of the cases, no physical print-out is ever needed.

    We all get to see pictures of our friends with drinks on the beach, no more than an hour after the picture was taken, on every day of their travels (if they provide them), at zero cost, and can also simultaneously offer either a single message, or a back-and-forth conversation, live, via text, Skype, or email, also at zero cost.

    And as for the personal touch, that’s what an email and personal message are for. I send my mom a personal email and image; her, I don’t direct to the Facebook album. But I recently wanted her to have a nice family Christmas pic that was just captured, so I just used Shutterfly to order an 8″x10″ print, which was delivered for me in about three days, and which delighted her.

  • Given that the domain name was reg’d in ’09, this would be yet another typical case where the Cult of Casey was offered something cool and (slightly) valuable to “help support the community” and they basically ignored the offer for at least two years. That’s just from the time the domain name was reg’d; the idea/offer might even be older. This idea reminds me of somebody like Zynga (Farmville, the Facebook “game”) trying to piggyback their own money-making venture onto an existing, large social network.

    There’s no reason somebody couldn’t do this completely separate from Casey, Inc., but you’ll notice from the (post card) web-site, there’s some kind of official affiliation. Both this “ssri” fellow, and Casey, wanted to cash-in on this idea (which is nearly worthless, really), and it took 2+ years to hash out the money split and legal ownership issues.

    So now they’ve arrived at a brilliant arrangement to enrich them both, yet very few customers are actually likely to bite. It’s the network effect though, so if CS has a million users, and they can con just 5% with this offer…

  • LOL, it gets worse – you (first) have to use an image editor, either locally on your own machine/cellphone, or on someone else’s web site:

    “for a perfect image fit and high quality print please resize your images to 1838×1313 pixels at 300.” [dpi; sic]
    “There are several web based image editors and resizers: These are two of our favourites. Pixlr Editor Aviary`s Image Editor Phoenix”

    This brilliant idea was dead before it left the gate!

    Ahh, here we go, this entire business/idea did already exist, completely external to CS:

    “AiGypsy Integration

    Integrate AiGypsy into your online community for fund raising, non profit and art projects. Contact us and explore the possibilites[sic] of supporting your online community.”

    AIGypsy domain name reg’d in Feb’09, couchsurfingpostcards in Nov’09. For the original 4×6 size, there’s a US$.45 mark-up in cost, by buying via CS, vs. direct from AIGypsy.

  • For the record, I am aware that I made an invalid assumption, in that Casey and AIGypsy took several years to hash out a business agreement.

    It would seem more likely, that “ssri” had already created his business (which also serves to mass-mail promo material for marketing purposes) and then at some point found and “joined” CS for whatever reason. He realized his product could dovetail into CS, and then moved to arrange that. Regardless, my money says he pursued Casey, and Casey expressed little interest.

    I can (still) only imagine, how the “negotiations” with Emperor Fenton transpired!

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