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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

Couchsurfing down

Seems that Couchsurfing is down:

I’m wondering whether we get a update on what happened….


Kudos to Pickwick for calling out Casey Fenton and his cohorts in the wake of Brian’s resignation letter. It’s the smoking gun that many of us who suspected fraud have waited for. It coincides with another smoking gun revealing climate science fraud, now called “climategate”. Although Casey Fenton is a small fish compared to the corrupt climate scientists who have tried to hijack the noble environmental movement, the hospitality movement is our smaller, but just as noble movement and it’s up to us to protect it from corruption and exploitation, from predators and parasites.

I support Thomas in his assessment of Casey’s attempt at damage control. I found out first-hand that Casey Fenton is not a straight shooter. Like the climate scientists, perhaps the only thing Casey and the others who control CouchSurfing are really good at is self-serving manipulation, propaganda and spin.

I agree with Margaret that CS cannot be changed from within. I just don’t see Casey giving up his power and privilege in the interest of the well-being of the community. As Margaret points out, a declining income stream would be a catalyst for change. It will dry up with the weakening economy and exposure of the fraud. Pressure could also come from an article in a major publication based on the history Robert calls for.

Aside from attempting to clean up the mess in CS, there may be a sufficient critical mass of disillusioned volunteers and members to begin a new chapter outside it. I don’t know the best strategy, but I agree with Kasper that BeWelcome should be reconsidered before attempting more elaborate solutions.

And another one…

Too bad…


Hey team,

I’m resigning as a CS Amb.

This hasn’t been an easy decision. Firstly, I really like the people on the LT/AST – how can’t I? They dedicate all their time to a project I deeply love. And this project has introduced me to people who have changed the direction of my life for the better and made me a better person.

But I have realized lately that I’m not an ambassador for but rather an ambassador for hospitality, transparency, communication, fairness, radical inclusion and living life. CouchSurfing for me represented a collective of people who believed in that. People who believed in respect and equal rights and honour and integrity. People who wanted to make positive change in the world and have fun at the same time. I didn’t just want to be a member using a service, I wanted to participate on THAT team.

I don’t believe anymore that CouchSurfing is that nor can it ever be that organization that I dreamt it would. The specific incidents are just symptoms. From the mass exodus of the Tech Team in 2007 to the mass exodus of the Global Ambs this year, we have not learnt from our mistakes. And we are all to blame. From the Ambs who basically say “don’t worry be happy” to the Brainstormers who are bitter and twisted, and everyone in between. We have failed.

I suspect that some of you are like me. Hoping to stay on as a CS Amb so that you can change things “from the inside”. However, I realize now that this is all futile. All I’m doing is being a complicit representative to actions that are against my very nature.

For better or worse, CS is the best hospitality exchange we have right now. I will continue to promote the philosophy of hospitality exchange as a member but I can no longer in good conscience, continue representing this organization as an “ambassador”. All I can hope for is something better comes along before it’s too late.


Remember: All our actions either bring more light or more darkness into the world.

Two measures

“And what is the big deal about CS and its LT?” Two measures, for example. The head of the Ambassadors has two extremely serious negative references for sexual harassment (of former Global Ambassadors) is promoted into the Leadership team.

While someone else’s profile is merely deleted for creating another profile to overcome the issues with the CS group system.


It’s been in the pipeline for a while. In fact, I should have done this in 2006 ;) Still, now it’s 2009 and I’m happy to hereby announce

“WikiCouch is open to anyone and everyone. It is in keeping with the philosophy of inclusion and open hospitality. We believe in decentralized control, self-moderation and that everyone has something valuable to contribute.”

* Available under the Creative Commons ShareAlike Attribution license.
* Open for editing to anyone. You don’t have to log in – but it’s appreciated if you do – you can also log in with OpenID.
* Independent from the official CouchSurfing organization, but supportive the CouchSurfing community.
* Very soon: a version in French and in other languages if requested by the community.
* We have registered several domains, and there will be a discussion about the domain name where all participants are welcome to join.
* Several nice extensions are installed, and if needed I’ll be happy to install more.
* The costs of running a wiki are very low – to me. No worries about that, I’m happy to take care of the technical and financial aspects of the server.
* In the future we’ll have XML dumps for downloading.

Let me know if there are any issues. And… Enjoy!


The latest high season welcome message on CouchSurfing… I get it about 70% of the time I try to log on… hm… scalability problems? Let`s hope it is easy to solve!