This site was archived on 24 April 2012. No new content can be posted. The mailing list remains online and the site will stay in this archived state for the forseeable future. If you find any technical errors on the site, please contact Callum.

describe in three words

It’s A Scam!


A plan for dramitic change and its already started.

Hi people.

I have not come here to talk about CS history and its negativity, this site stands as testimony to that and needs little added to it. I have come here to talk about a plan for the future and its abundant potential positivity for the community. If you are interested in the community and finding solutions to the problems it faces, then this project is for you.

Most of us are naturally positive, altruistic and open, it is our nature as humans. Many of us normally chilled people have become incensed and even outraged, at the state of the organisation at the heart of our community, its actions or lack of them and the dubious legal positions that leaves them and us in. This is a bad situation that we have all been painfully aware for far too long and that must change. Now is the time to make that change! Are you ready?

The plan is to create a new site and organisation (Couch Surfing Community org) that will initially supplement and CSI, filling their numerous gaps. Our belief, is that we have many times more resources, than is needed, within the community, to form a totally fresh organisation, owned and run by the community and for the community, open and accountable to the community. With the establishment of this additional organisation for the community, we expect it to grow and move forward, benefiting the community in countless positive ways, with the desired outcome of advancing way beyond CSI, making it mostly irrelevant or even taking it to the point of replacing CSI entirely.

The key is this plan is in its community ownership and community involvement. We are currently investigating how best to legally bind this project, it’s organisation, website(s), etc to the member base. (If you can assist with this then please get involved now) We feel that from this base we can build an organisation and website, that dose the community justice and facilitates the community to do the many good and positive things, that have long been desired.

A few of us techies have made a start. This is a quick and effective, off-the-shelf environment. It provides a free forum to collect, associate, focus, discuss and decide, the form of the project and the site it will create, the structure of the organisation and the projects it will work on.

We have successfully collectively collaborated to produce a great deal of talk on this site and elsewhere, this has taken a great deal of our time and energy. You are being asked now to spend a little time and energy to at least join this site and support the project and its mission, which you will shape. If you still have any passion for the community or a subset of it or even individual members, who have enriched your life, please join

If you have any skills or knowledge that you would like to contribute to this project then please email us

We are currently particularly looking for legal and organisational skills and knowledge to prevent the same legal and organisational bungles that the original bunch of techies made. Contributions made now to a successful project will probably be the most beneficial act you will ever make to help and support the cs community.

We are also calling on the wealth of technical skill out there, we know that there are numerous highly skilled individuals in our community, who have excellent skills and or ideas. If you are one of them and have a desire to help CSC move on from this technical and organisational hell, then please spare a few moment to join this project and any groups that take your fancy. There is a fair amount of work to do, building a new site and making the temporary site more useful, your community needs you now! Join Now! If you would like a free linux or windows server and sub domain for your country/city to get a local tech group going and work directly for your local community, as well as for the global one, then contact us, with a phone number and we can get you going in minutes.

Legal, organisational and technical are not the only skills we need. Communication is an important part of any endeavor. As the current members are techies, who are not built to produce nice texts, we could do with a copy editor or two. If you have a passion for communicating and CS then again please email us

If you are willing to actively contribute to any area of this project, then please email us directly Large and small contributions are all valid. Even if you only have a little time to spare, you contribution will still be valuable.

I’m known for using music to reinforce my posts. On this occasion i feel that there is only one song needed for this project…
Bob Marley – Rastaman Vibration(Positive Vibration)


Alaska blog archived

Just over 2 years after the last post, I’ve archived the Alaska blog. It’s now a static HTML site. No WordPress to update, no more comments or trackbacks. I’ve left the content for posterity. Oh, and this is post id 666, freaky! :-)

lengthy summary on the deceipt of Casey and Couchsurfing

(This was a follow-up comment, to the last comment posted by Martine, in “where’s the org chart, on CS?” – turned out to be much longer than I intended, so I broke it off as its own post.  Apologies to those who already “get” most of what I’m talking about, or have previously suffered through me saying the same things or similar.  Casey,Inc. are still playing the same games today, and so, I’m still personally p*ssed-off about it… )
Thanks for the chart link, Martine!

Notably, like so many other parts of the site, that list is a sprawling mess and it’s difficult if not impossible to determine who’s actually on the paid staff, versus who’s just in some kind of administrative group.

In my opinion, they’ve deliberately obscured this kind of detail. They don’t really want people to realize that the “inner clique” is actually getting paid, and in some/all cases, handsomely.  They want everyone to believe, that volunteering your valuable time and effort, will always be unpaid.

I mean, I clicked on one of the expand-o-icons, and got this:
Here’s the only real chart/graphic, that clicking on any expander produces:
So still, there are no names, and no indication of who’s actually being paid.

This is not an accidental oversight, this is exactly how Casey Fenton rolls – giving the “appearance” of honesty and transparency, but in reality, acting as secretively and selfishly as possible to benefit himself, while very carefully hiding his games.

carnival_barkerHe’s a master at it, really.  Some might even describe people like him as a “sociopath,” because his fundamental M.O. in life, seems to be “using” people. You can tell, he actually enjoys suckering people with warm and glowing lies.

Couchsurfing, as previously discussed, displays many characteristics of a corrupt cult, with the “leaders” obviously maintaining a careful eye toward “hiding” information that would hold them accountable.

I also think I noticed that the last published budget, if it’s even complete or accurate, is from 2008. Why?  Because something more current would reveal just how much money they’re raking in today, and who exactly is receiving it.

Since several years ago, when people began to catch on to these games, Casey,Inc. has done nothing to make things right, and done everything to keep digging their heels in, to keep hiding facts and information, and to keep exploiting their users.

Not surprising really; we’d be asking a dog to change his spots, and couchsurfing has pretty obviously always been, and was created for, expanding and then exploiting a user-base, for personal profit. The undeniable examples are practically limitless. Some of the “spreading love and friendship” propaganda was starting to smell canned and fishy to me, some time ago.  What do I mean “has always been” ?

For one example, as long as four years ago, maybe three, Casey added some site code that linked everyone’s listed favorite books, music, and movies, to an Amazon link to purchase each item.  Which, would then automatically generate a commission for Casey, for every purchase completed.  When Casey was “called” on this, he flat-out denied any knowledge of the Amazon links, and even tried to pretend he didn’t know how that “feature” was instituted on CS, as if it just happened by accident or by magic.  In short, the snake lied through his teeth!

A web-anchored hospex communication tool is still a noble project idea, and if Casey,Inc. hadn’t done it, someone else would’ve.  And actually, has. It’s simply history unfolding for us, with respect to how the interweb is impacting so many things in our lives. For better or worse and I believe, mostly for better and often massively.

The fundamental problem with CS is, and has always been, that for one thing, to this day the d*mned tool is unstable and unreliable for often critical communication needs, and for another thing, they’ve reached a point on a graph where the money coming in daily is an enormous sum (which was always the goal), and instead of using that money to improve the tool, it’s pretty clearly going toward making the CaseyFentonClique, rich.

Which is not a reason why I would want to, or do, support the org, though I do use the tool. Ain’t givin’ that con-man one thin dime, though!

So, I also use the alternatives, like BeWelcome, and also gladly give money to those guys, because their entire way of behaving is proper and honest, it would seem.

I would bet cash-money that at some point, CS will implode, either from the chronic infection that it harbors, or from some new scandal.  So, I suggest to anyone reading this, be sure to create a profile on the top alt’s, like BeWelcome, use those tools in addition to CS, and actually put your words of support, and money, toward any org but CS.

Yeah, I buy stuff on Amazon, but I also always use a shopping tool to check on alternatives.  And with CS there’s no “price comparison” to make – all the hospex tools are free.

The whole “verified” scheme, is a scam.  We all know this now.  But I will get out my wallet for a tool like BeWelcome because they (might) publicize their income and expenses, and just humbly ask for donations.  Without any kind of spin, like CS’s “getting verified will get you more couches” BS, just a simple request for help in keeping the computers running, and to hire some necessary, talented staff.

What most web-based tools with large user-bases do actually need to spend money on, is… keeping the tool itself in excellent working order, upgrading things in a careful, planned way only when it’s really a genuine improvement, and never allowing a repair to remain unresolved, or a for a break-down to occur in the first place.

What is not needed, is an inner-clique of ten people, sucking up 90% of $200K a month, to enrich themselves and to buy plane tickets, MDMA-tabs, and hotel stays (for themselves.) Or vacation houses or cars.  Or whatever else you buy with a constant, tall stream of cash coming in every single day.

CS is supposed to help couchsurfers, first, foremost, and primarily.  Not help/enrich the founders, primarily.  Casey,Inc. doesn’t present the business in a business way, he’s chosen to sell it as some kind of feel-good, purely volunteer way. Which again, is no accident – that kind of lure will catch more fish, because people (are led to believe) they’re supporting something other than Casey’s bank account, or his stockpile of Valtrex.

If you want to run a hospex tool as a for-profit business, then do so, and be completely honest in that intention.  However, hospex is by design not-for-profit, so this would seem to always present a fundamental conflict or mis-match.

Regardless, I’m still hosting and surfing (Casey be d*mned) and enjoying it!  See ya on the road…

Is CouchSurfing sustainable???

Hello guys!

There is a concept that twirls in my mind since some months: the SUSTAINABILITY of CS and other hospitality exchange communities.

I thought about that again because I saw some profiles stating that they are hosting people because they like to do an anarchist action, against hotels and capitalistic economy/consumerism.

I generally agree, in my point of view food should come from Nature (that doesn’t know what to do with those papers we call “money”) and not from the supermarket, shelter and Home when we are not in out town should theoretically come from networks of friends and not from business activities who provide this for money.
The same for medical services, care, massage, friendly advice,  … all these things strictly connected with the life of a Human are, in my opinion, much better if they come without involvement of dirty money.

But, money is one thing, SUSTAINABILITY is another.

So far hotels and hostels were a economical model that worked well for centuries, not just because there is money involved, but also because there is something in exchange, and this makes it sustainable.

I tell you how: the exchange (in this case services/money) makes a market between offers and request and the presence of a market guarantees that no one of the parts involved got taken advantage of.

The same we can’t unfortunately say in CS and in the other hospex communities!
Did you ever feel “used” as a host?
Did you ever see that if you host too much you don’t have time for your own life?

Yes, sustainability is mostly a problem when hosting.
As a guest, you can travel for several years passing from one city to another, from one host to another, without ever using ho(s)tels at all, without any big problem.
Try to do the same as a host, to have guests every single day!

We can’t deny that the guest is the party in the host-guest relationship who gets more immediate benefit. I am not just talking of free accommodation but also of a more generic concept as everything is actioned by the guest, the request, the dates…
The host (mostly) can just accept or deny. If he accepts, he promises to provide accommodation, infos, care, shelter, Home…. to the guest, when the guest needed it.

There are of course lots of intrinsic costs in having guests, let’s say:
- more cleaning of the house, floors, kitchen and bathroom especially
- cleaning of bedsheets, etc..
- more consumption of electricity, water, gas etc..
- tea, coffee, food to offer..
- personal time and attention
- changing of plans sometimes to adapt to the guest’s schedule (late or early arrivals, ..)
- expenses to go out (bars, food, clubs, transport) while you wouldn’t have stayed home if you didn’t have guests
- time to reply to emails and requests, time to get to know more potential guests on IM, …
- cost of phone calls and text messages to keep in touch with the guest
- risk of problems with guests who take things with them, don’t give back keys, leave a mess, …

(Guest would have also some costs in terms of time and money, but they are directly connected with his travel, that’s the reason why he is there and he is meeting up the host, instead for the host they are connected to the guest’s travel!)

If you think well, on the host part there are really many costs in terms of money and time.
And of course of personal freedom!
What if when I am out with my guest I meet a guy/girl that I would like to take back home, especially if I don’t have a separate room for guests?
What if I change my plans during the day but I don’t have spare keys for the guest (or I don’t want to give him/her)?

People are active as hosts because they have the opportunity to meet cool people.
Mmmh… that doesn’t convince me!
Actually this “benefit” is of both parties, host and guest, isn’t it?

There are situations in life when something is valuable or not just because of the market, the exchange between offer and request. (I don’t think we should support these artifacts…)

Like the cultures where guys always pay when they invite out a girl for dinner.
Shouldn’t be the pleasure to go out together mutual?
Or people who pay for sex… should we tell them that it’s normal to do that for free, just for mutual pleasure?

Anyhow, going back to hospex, the benefit to meet a new cool person should be mutual, so why the host has to sustain more costs in terms of time and money?

I think that a normal person with a full life, work/study, friends, boy/girlfriend/husband/wife, doing some sports and hobbies, maybe volunteering, … can’t find time for hosting people.
Of course, the same person, when traveling, is free from work and many of these things of his normal life, so he has way more time to dedicate to talk with his CS host, meetup with him and his friends, … so he would be a terrific guest but a bad host!

Now I understand why the most active CS in my area says “don’t worry, I have a lot of free time, nobody waits me at home, just 3 cats…”

That’s why CS hosts are more single than in a couple.
That’s why the cool people I know very rarely would have guests.

And what, hosts are losers and guests are cool dudes traveling the world spicing up the life of those poor losers? :) ) Is this how things work, on a large scale?

And what about those members who joined CS just before a big trip, mostly to save money in accommodation, they payed without problem the verification because it was a little money compared to all the money potentially saved in hotels, they never hosted anyone when at home and they are not planning to host people when back home, despite how great was their experience as guest, usually they arrive to the host place empty handed, they care just of the free couch and maybe other free benefits, they behave very politely till the last night of their stay and after they show their real being, of course they don’t even think for a moment to become friends with their host and to keep in touch… Are these members SUSTAINABLE for the community?

That’s where I think come those ideas of points, karmas, etc… things to see if you are a good member that gives benefit to the worldwide community or just a member who is taking advantage of the community for your own benefit.

Nowadays is cool to talk about externalization of costs. It’s when you don’t pay for all the costs that incurs in your life, your activity, your production, but there is someone else that pays for that, usually not being asked to. It refers usually to industries, the client buys the products for so cheap that all the costs for quality prime materials, the energies consumes, the fair salaries, the correct disposal of wastes, are evidently not included in the price but all the society tips in for us to have a cheap industrial product (see
In this model, don’t you think that being guest is somehow externalizing the cost of living?

Somebody else is going to pay our bills, we don’t have to think about it.
It’s like living all life at parent’s place, never being an independent self sustaining individual.

Have you ever saw those travelers who are traveling since years without stop and they even dare to tell you, who are working to make this society works, that they are living on 200 $ a month or less?
Of course, because they are externalizing the costs, they are using water, energy, food, resources, space, … that they are not paying for.

Yes, living permanently CouchSurfing is cheaper that living at your own home!

And what I really don’t like is that now there is people who plan travels just counting the transfer costs, souvenirs and eating out/bars but they don’t take into account accommodation.

The effect of CouchSurfing and other hospex community on these people is very bad, it gives them a fake feeling of confidence in finding a couch everywhere, but maybe getting in unpleasant situations because they don’t have second options, as they don’t even have money for a hostel (see here for more details:

How can I explain to some students who are doing their best to pay the rent and share bills, that they have to host someone for few days who will use the place and the utilities but won’t contribute?
Oh yes, it will be few days, just few days, not a big deal…. a pity that after there can/will be an other guest and so on…

If it sustainable, it is sustainable is a small or big scale. If it’s not, it’s not.

I heard also of some other kind of agreements for accommodation, that sound a bit more fair to me.

One is called COOKSURFING, I come with food at your place, I cook for you, you let me stay overnight. Sounds more fair for me, even if usually the host feels offering something too and maybe ends up spending more money because of the guests.

An other is the old good AU PAIR. You come and help me some hours a day with the home/babies, you have some hours free to visit the city or whatever you like, I offer you food and accommodation and sometimes some pocket money.

But there is more. Have you ever heard of those hostels where you can stay some days longer if you work in cleaning and making beds?

Also in the CouchSurfing world there were some hosts (especially in Japan) who asked some few bucks every day to contribute to the bills and/or the rent. Very controversial topic, but I can’t honestly say that’s all wrong.

Now it’s time for you guys’ to say your opinions! I am really interested!

A good day!


where’s the org chart, on CS?

Just poked around extensively, and could not for the life of me, find a list of actual paid staff. Either it’s not published, or it’s not easy to find. And probably for a reason. Wasn’t willing to go trawling through hundreds of group/board posts to find a link, but I can say with near certainty, it’s not linked off of the main menu bar, anywhere. Hmmm…

Account restoration


I am writing to ask for the restoration of my profile which has been deleted due, I think, to a misunderstanding.

My name is Fiona Graham and I host both woofers and couchserfers. I think my profile has been deleted because CS administrators thought I was asking couchsurfers to work in exchange of housing, which I am not.

In fact, couchsurfers are not asked to work but are given the option to do some woofing if they choose to stay for several months…

I have had about 100 couchsurfers in 2 years and have lost all their references. Several couchsurfers are supposed to come in the coming weeks but are unable to contact me. I insist on the fact that the couchsurfers who are only staying a few days do not provide any work in exchange.

If you could deal with this urgent mater as soon as possible, it would be great.

Thank you for your understanding.

Kind regards,

Fiona Graham

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”.

Casey speaks out, somewhat

It’s been a while I came across an interview or something related by Casey but here is an interesting interview on, a website devoted to increase sharing.

It contains a lot of general information about trust, history, the mission of CS and community democracy but Casey also speaks about the 2006 crash (“a turning point in the organization”) and how things evolved after that.

There was no infrastructure built for collaboration, but we had a lot of people who wanted to offer their help and energy. So we basically said, “If think you know what to do just get in there and do it.”

We later realized that there were problems with this approach. Specifically, we were not providing a lot of direction, and people had drastically different ideas on how they would like to see CouchSurfing grow. I was sending out the message: “Possibilities are endless and up to you. Whatever you think it can be, it is.” Unfortunately, what this created was a lot of chaos; competing interests and constant disagreement around the direction CouchSurfing should be going.

It took a couple of years to finally work it out and say, this is what our mission and vision are. I would caution people from the outset to clearly articulate what it is they do and where they are going, so that people have a shared understanding upfront. Community democracy offers a lot of opportunities to explore and experiment, but it poses a lot of challenges as well.

Why sponsoring CS doesn’t work

Quite interesting, my first Ghanese spammer. And the proof why registration for Couchsurfing doesn’t work:

Schermafbeelding 2010-01-03 om 10.40.00

Too bad that CS doesn’t use SpamAssassin. But what about the profile (

Schermafbeelding 2010-01-03 om 10.41.45

Why is a African person being able to “have a secure profile”, while everything is against him? Another proof that registration and sponsoring CS doesn’t make the system safer?

(Needless to say: I spammed the account…)

Have a great – and safe! – 2010!