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Archive for the 'couchsurfing' Category

Casey attempts to sell Groups posts to Google, members protest en masse

If he was any more blatantly deceitful, we’d have to call him Zuckerberg! Step right up trusting travelers, and watch how Casey Fenton attempts to sell all your old (and current, and future) Groups posts for profit!

And if not for cash, then surely for the added marketing value (worth real money, and lots of it), to allow Google and every other web site and search engine to add what you thought you were sharing with only fellow CS-members, to their fully public, permanent record that is the global internet.

All the personal trip and traveler feedback you thought you were sharing only with other CS members? Sorry, surprise, now everything you posted on CS is part of the public record, forever. And, perfectly searchable.

I realize Casey’s announcement(s) have mostly to do with Groups posts, but isn’t he trying to put into place the exact same kind of exposure and sale of all your information, including your profile? Your profile picture? Isn’t he playing the exact same kind of despicable game that Zuckerberg plays?

Make no mistake about what Casey is attempting to do, exactly like Zuckerberg/Facebook – blatantly deceive you, to gain your trust and persuade you to add to his mountainous pile of traveler feedback, then once he has your trust (and your posts and personal information) he sells everyone’s posted information to enrich himself, personally.

This has been his goal since the inception of the entire CS project, he just didn’t have any buyers yet. Until now. Until Facebook became the story to copy. Until he invested considerable effort in building the largest list of users he could accumulate, to ensure the biggest pay-day he could arrange for himself.

I’ve noticed that despite several fundamental issues which members have complained about for literally years, that are never even acknowledged… in all this time, the most visible efforts seen from the inner circle and their hiring decisions, seemed to always be about PR (public relations), suppressing the publication of complaints, outright denial of reality, and spreading the gospel. To grow the list of users. To fatten the calf before the slaughter.

In classic Cult-of-Casey style, he sells you out without a warning or your consent, but when the backlash proves substantial and it turns out that people don’t want any part of what Casey’s selling, he tries to spin his scheme as something that he only intended in the best of ways, something to help you!

I don’t know which kind of people I despise more strongly – users, or liars. Let alone a career scam-artist highly skilled in both exploiting and lying to people. But the recent investors want the maximum return on their investment, so just as others have predicted… let the sale (of information you donated in good faith) begin!
Fresh email from HQ, just received, sent to all CS “members.” Stare into the face of pure exploitation and bald-faced lies:

“We’ve heard you: Change to plans regarding groups”
Dear CouchSurfers,

Last week, we sent an email in which we announced our plan to make CS groups available to search. We made this decision because the team had received member complaints that some newer members of the site didn’t seem to be joining for the right reasons. We thought that allowing people to see more of what CS is about before they join might help address this problem.

The members disagreed! We’ve heard from hundreds of people who are very opposed to this approach. I’m very sorry to have caused so much distress. It’s clear that this is something that members care deeply about, and I respect the need to approach it differently.

We have made two major changes to our plan:

Group posts created in the past will not be available to search. The only posts that will be visible to search engines will be those created after February 15, 2012. This will protect the privacy of any members who no longer use the site and may not be aware of the changes.

All members will have the option to keep all of their posts hidden from search and from non-members. Just as we currently allow you to keep your profile hidden from anyone who is not logged in, we are now building another privacy option that will allow you to easily specify that your group posts should not be visible to search engines or people who are not logged in. This privacy option will apply to all of your posts, both past and future.

These two factors combined mean that the only posts that will be visible to search will be those made in the future by people who choose not to make their participation in groups private.

I sincerely hope that this approach will protect the privacy needs of all CouchSurfing members while also giving people who are considering joining CS an accurate impression of who we are – a community, not a place to find a free place to crash.

If you still have concerns about this, I invite you to email me at and share your thoughts. The team makes all of its decisions with the intention of making CS better for its members. It seems that this time the change we wanted to make would actually have made it worse, and for that I’m sincerely sorry. I’m glad that you responded with your concerns: your reactions helped us see various sides of the issue that we had not considered. I know that CS groups are considered to be a safe and comfortable place to express yourself fully, and I would never want that to change.

Thank you for your patience and for your passion,

Casey Fenton
Co-Founder, CouchSurfing International

CS becoming a for-profit business: A message from Hospitality Club Founder Veit

After the shocking news of Couchsurfing accepting a $7.6 million investment and becoming a for-profit company, I just wrote a message to the hospitality exchange community. Most important: Hospitality Club will never be a for-profit business, we are currently developing an open-source site for HC and some behind-the-scenes info on CS. Please read the statement here:

Oh, and a special shoutout to my haters here :-D

Couchrequests Issues

Recently the couchsurfing organisation changed the couchrequest system. For some this might be an improvement but in my experience it just creates problems. For starters one has to respond in time, before the date that the person requests for. This might be good for the guest requesting hospitality but for the potential host this means you have to reply sometimes instantly, if the date is for tomorrow for example. Otherwise the system doesn’t even allow you to respond!

A related issue is that my percentage of “CouchSurf requests replied to” dropped from one moment to another from 100% to 80%. And going back into my archive I seem to have only missed three requests that were send to me while I was traveling and that were short notice. This obviously doesn’t explain the sudden drop, since I have received hundreds if not a thousand requests over the past 4 1/2 years. And responding to the last one pending only made the percentage increase with 1 percent…

Weird, especially since again there is so little communication about the changes made in the system (this news-item of June 2010 seems to be the only communication). And this is not the only issue, as suddenly I seem to have a bunch of “neutral references” which before used to be positive. Or maybe the explanation is that the amount of bugs is increasing, as in my history of couchrequests there seem to be only a hundred e-mails. Of which the latest dates back to 07/11/2008 (obviously missing a couple of years).

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)


Are there any chances of re-instation of a deleted profile?


my profile was deleted some six months back.

whatever the issues, i have promised not to repeat any mistakes again.

is there any chances of getting my profile back? or i am doing a futile exercise.

i feel one mistake of a CS lover like me should be ignored.

please be unbiased and take a decision.

waiting for a reply and comments.

best regards,

dr harpal singh


Uncoordinated Couchsurfing

We are just fresh in 2009 and CS finally launched its new feature: ‘News Channels’, one overview for all organizational communication towards all CS-member. It not only features the latest news from the organization and tech-news, it even hosts the earlier announced member-stories about hospitality experiences and also the news-letters that are supposed to arrive in your inbox soon again.

But what a completely uncoordinated launch this is. We’ve been anticipating this new features since a long while, and now that it is finally ready, you just have the feeling something is still not going right at the CS Basecamp. The only launch-news shown, dates back to news which is 4 months old, August and September 2008, and the thread on the communications channel that catches my eye the most is still the infamous ‘do we have a team?‘.

It could be just a simple lack of coordination but the impression you get from this launch is that volunteers are still not supported in the work they do. Imagine: you work hard on implementing a new system – or enthousiastic about writing news for the CS-members – but somehow you just don’t get the feeling you are receiving support from some key people to get this launched professionally. At the same time, while older volunteers are tired from their effort, there is a lack of empowerment of new volunteers, no news has been written, or the editors didn’t have access to the tools. Really, sometimes you just feel pity for the people that still work for Casey Couchsurfing Inc.

Anyway, let’s see how quickly this new feature will be used and how it will run. I just hope that somehow, the first news item will be a BIG apology from Casey himself about the 14,000 e-mails that got deleted corrupted while upgrading the messaging system last month, and an honest explanation why this took 3 days instead of an hour. Followed the next day by news about the 501c3 status, news about BaseCamp on the third day, new hires on the fourth, expenses and income of the past quarters on the fifth, and support for the OCS-campaigns on the sixth. Now that would be communication.

And the winner is…

To many people’s surprise – especially supporters of the OpenCS campaign  – CS appeared on the list of nominees for the Open Web Awards. CS was nominated mostly because of the efforts of Ambassadors. In the end -after a voting round of 4 weeks – CS didn’t win at all though. Out of the three finalists CS ended up… last.

For those who feel disappointed now, don’t worry… there might be another chance coming up soon for a another award. Some people even want to get CS nominated for the Nobel Price of Peace….

The Couchsurfing culture of party-hosting

With CS getting more mainstream day by day, the culture of hosting might also be changing. Christopher Culver raises this interesting issue on the hitchhiking forum on Couchsurfing. “Does anyone else get the impression that the CS hosting community is becoming less friendly to hitchhikers? I was shocked when two of the hosts I stayed with this summer expressed their disappoval of hitchhiking, considering it ‘freeloading’.”

Chris also puts forward the question: “what experiences have you had as the Couchsurfing hosting community is shifting from a bunch of freespirited wanderers to everyday people with strict schedules and expectations?” And subsequently he concludes: “It feels like we are being forced out of our own community.”

This might be a very valid point. Couchsurfing, Bewelcome or Hospitality Club for that matter, are these still the networks of travelers supporting fellow-travelers? There are still lots of great hosts and travelers around, but somehow – due to the popularity of the network – it is also becoming more and more a network of people that are just looking for entertainment, other people to ‘party’ and get drunk with. Further to that, it does not necessarily has to be a coincidence either that the news-wire of CS has been full with party-events in the past couple of months.

But then again – on the others hand – CS still provides you a pool of lots of different people, which means you just have to be selective in picking the right host. Or like Sanne says in the same forum, “I guess my conclusion is: it’s not bad that ‘normal’ people are hosting, it’s just different. I think it’s a good thing that couchsurfing is turning into a thing for everyone. And yes, that means that you do have to put some more effort in selecting the right host for you.”

A Couchsurfing Career Life With Benefits that Money Can’t Buy

Have you always wanted to be a “Ambassador Management Coordinator” or “Safety Systems Coordinator” for CouchSurfing? Now you can! CS published their “career openings“, or “couchsurfing careers“. Since these openings are not even linked from anywhere on the CS-website yet, you might stand a fairly good chance (it got posted!) to get one of the 14 full-time jobs, and become part of their family.

You may wonder why so many talented people volunteer for CS when they could have high paying jobs in the corporate world. The reason is that CS provides benefits they can’t find anywhere else. We live and breath CouchSurfing, and we are all a family.

Although you have to pay your first travel to the “Couchsurfing Base Camp” yourself, CS provides all full-time volunteers and employees “with free housing and meals”. In addition, each full-time staff member “has the opportunity to live abroad for several months of each year at one of our amazing Collective locations while maintaining a home and life in the San Francisco Bay Area”.

If you are the lucky enough to get one of the 14 listed full-time jobs, you will first have to go trough a three month trial period, after which you will be rewarded with “travel tickets, travel expense reimbursements and eventually paid salaries”. However, you will have to consent to your bos(ses) (“supervisors”) and keep yourself to the following social rules, meaning that you shall

- maintain positive references from other surfers or hosts.
- treat your team supervisors and other volunteers with respect.
- follow standards and procedures established by teams you work with.
- follow priorities and objectives established by the team supervisors.
- communicate in a calm and compassionate tone (‘thou shalt not flame’).

So what are you waiting for, go and apply for your role! Current (as per 1st of November) “openings” include:

Administrative Assistant; Ambassador Management Coordinator; Database Administrator; Developer, Events Coordinator; Human Resources & Personnel Coordinator; Marketing Coordinator; Member Communications Coordinator & Writer; Safety Systems Coordinator; System Administrator; Gardener / Landscaper; IT Assistant; Trainer, Educator, Coach, or Expert.

Note that there are currently 14 full-time positions available, while there are only 15 people supposed to stay and live in the Couchsurfing Base Camp. At the moment though, according to Matthew, there are already 15 people living there…