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Tag Archive for 'Casey Fenton'

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

describe in three words

It’s A Scam!


Future of Hospex in Couple Wang’s eyes

Future of Hospex in Couple Wang’s eys

What would you like to see the future of Hospitality Exchange Network ?

Scenerio 1.
CS have a lion’s share,say take 70% market
BW,HC,GF,SERVAS, and others have the rest 30%
CS do what ever they want
members without verifed and donation can’t
a. see the whole group members,(you want to do something else beside couchsurfing eh)
b. have unlimited email
c. have unimited search

Scenrio 2
Casey Fenton act as Frederik Willem de Klerk, give out some his power, and CS become ‘user/volunteers/members-driven’ organisation.

and everything is transparent
CS take 45% market share
BW,HC,GF,SERVAS, consolidated take 45% market share
the rest take 10% market share

Scenrio 3
CS take 30% market share
BW,HC consolidated take 30% market share
GF,SERVAS, consolidated take 30% market share
the rest take 10% market share

if you like to see the Scenrio 2, 3 let me know, and tell me how much you need to develope a website like CS,
2. convert some Xinger to Hcer
Xing have 6 million member now, 30% are freelancer, if we can convert 30% Xing freelcaner to Hcer, blah blah….
there should no conflict of interest,
some of 70% biz Xinger will use best offfer

70% of the 30% freelacne will user their own network, friends, realtives.
3. bring/match elderly/physically-challenged and EMIGRANT, Working holiday visa holder, Students from the Second/Third World to small/medium cities

for time being, my suggestions are
1.Set “ net watch” with you friends, if you find someone profile deleted,
please record and repor at
Member’s profile issue(deleted, missing,dead etc) forum;id=244416

Thailand ,
Alaska(Participant list gone, I saw once,but unfortuneately not saved you can find some clue here
and SF Boot camp participant list,
and tell us how many Americans and White male there.

No later than Apr 2009, CS will reach it 1 million members
what you would like to see
A .CS 1 million members celebration
I created on Sep 22, 2008

B. CS is the only hospex website reach a million member historical with volunteesr(“treat your volunteers as shit”)

Casey sell CS
or start treat members differently , see Scenerio 1
Is Casey qualifed to be a House of Representatives that time?
and what Veit will think?

If you like Scenerio 2, 3 happen, let me know
I can be reached at

Internet belong to everybody, but no body can control it
the only 2 ways on Internet are
1. justice,transparent
2. if do something wrong, apologize and correct immidiatedly
But, Casey and CS would like to demonstrate the third way like delete members profiles without warning, and dare to delete my wife’s(onlinezhao),
ok, dude, let see what will happen then

this article I am going to send on Oct 31 in newsletter
I will be appeciate If you can polish my English and send back to me
stay tuned.


couple wang

History replaying in;id=14603632;articleid=14603632#14603632

“It has to be made clear that all power eventually resides with Casey, and none other. It has to be made clear that volunteering and donating money are most welcome, but don’t entitle you to any influence, irrespective of one’s importance for the organisation.”;id=14603624

“If you don’t want democracy, you can’t build on volunteers, and you must run the organisation as a business, non-profit or not. You need to have a business plan that says where money is going, and coming from. You have to pay for most labour, and create the necessary revenue by either charging for services, or by using the worth of the community to get commercial sponsors, who expect to profit from members. You may still have some volunteers, or internships, or other low or unpaid labour, but you can’t expect highly qualified work to be done by two people sitting next to each other, where one is paid a market wage, and the other nothing.”

“this group of coordinators would be part of a structure that is organised bottom-up, in a way that the group of coordinators (not leaders!) would be rotating every 1 or 2 years, where no-one can tell others what to do, where there is no such thing as “diplomatic” internal politics (“if you say something I don’t like, I consider that as flaming and you’re out of the group”)

“Although incorporated as a not-for-profit, CouchSurfing International inc. is not a charitable organisation. Not-for-profit status only means that the company cannot pay dividend to its owners (i.e. Casey); the company and its assets still are his, and his alone. Casey can do with it whatever he wants, whenever he wants it”

Parrallels between CouchSurfing and Scientology

I’ve been reading a (one-sided) article on Scientology. It struck me that there are some similarities between the methods employed by L Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, and Casey Fenton, co-founder of CouchSurfing. This might sound a little far fetched. I’d urge you to read the article and consider the suggestion before making up your own mind.

Firstly, I don’t think CouchSurfing is nearly as dangerous / mind controlling / cultish as Scientology. I’m highlighting similarities, not suggesting they are the same.

For example, Jon Atack states that Scientology orders followers to “disconnect” from “Suppressive Persons”. Disconnect means to break all contact with a person. “Suppressive Persons” are anyone critical of Scientology or L Ron Hubbard. It seems like there is a similar practice going on at collectives. Members who speak publicly about CouchSurfing seem to go quiet very quickly.

Other similarities might include:

  • Very long working hours
  • Closely confined working conditions
  • Limited contact with the outside world
  • Attacking of anyone critical of the organisation or its “leader”

This ties into Thomas’s earlier post “Is the Couchsurfing collective a cult?”.

From Atack’s article, I then read about Deprogramming and Exit Counselling. It struck me that perhaps we could learn from these techniques in dealing with current CS “volunteers”. Just to be clear, I’m not proposing that we start kidnapping people!

I think it would be useful to learn from the practice of Exit Counselling. I think it would also be useful to learn about how to approach cult members to discuss their situation. I think these techniques could help greatly in dealing with core CouchSurfing “volunteers”.

This might sound like crazy talk. It seems logical to me, but I’d welcome any comments / criticism / feedback. I will do my best to ignore inflammatory comments or trolling.

Proposal: CouchSurfing legal fund

I believe CouchSurfing and Casey Fenton have broken, and continue to break, the law. Among other things, I believe that member’s “donations” are being misused. I think this misuse is the clearest breach of the law.

As the membership continues to grow, the potential for abuse also continues to grow. I think this situation must be brought to a head as a matter of urgency.

My proposal is to start a CouchSurfing legal fund. A financial fund where individuals could choose to donate money. That money would be used to pursue legal action against crimes perpetrated by CouchSurfing International Inc and Casey Fenton.

I think a number of issues would need to be addressed prior to any donations being accepted.

  • The constitution of the organisation / fund
  • Who would direct the legal action (I propose Pickwick as a core figure, if he accepts)
  • How lawyers would be appointed to carry out the action
  • Specifically, what action would be taken

Pickwick has diligently researched the legal constitution CouchSurfing. I think this work has made the greatest progress towards the goals of OpenCouchSurfing. I believe this area of work should be financially supported on a larger scale.

To start the ball rolling, I, Callum Macdonald, pledge $100 to this fund. I’ll make the actual donation once the fund is in place.

I warmly invite you to share your opinion, and if you feel appropriate, make a financial pledge. (Dislcaimer, financial pledges will be entirely voluntarily, so any commitment you make here is not legally binding.)

CouchSurfing going 501(c)(3)?

CouchSurfing members received an email yesterday telling them that, at long last, CouchSurfing has filed for 501(c)(3) status. The email also claimed that currently, CouchSurfing is a charity, and is legally dedicated to charitable purposes.

What was missing, as usual, was any sort of external verification. Casey helpfully provided a link to the Wikipedia page on 501(c)(3) status and an page for those eager to learn more. Neither of these links have directly relate to CouchSurfing, nor do they do anything to confirm CouchSurfing’s current legal status, or confirm that any application for 501(c)(3) status has been filed.

There was no link to a copy of the paperwork, no postal tracking number, no evidence whatsoever that anything has been filed anywhere. There was no copy of any filed paperwork regarding CouchSurfing’s current status, no links showing that “non-profit” status cannot be easily revoked in New Hampshire. As usual, we are expected to trust our “visionary leader”.

Personally, I think it’s clear that Comrade Casey felt the pressure from Pickwick’s legal questions, and the openCS campaign in general. The response was as usual, ignore, ignore, ignore, then organise a seemingly unrelated press stunt to make people feel better without actually proving anything.

In conclusion, until I see independent confirmation that CouchSurfing has filed for 501(c)(3) status, I will consider it a possibility at best. It is clear to me that the CouchSurfing leadership cannot be taken at their word.

More CouchSurfing BS

The latest email from comrade Casey uses the word volunteer no less than 4 times, the only mention of the word employ is referring to Weston Hankins leaving his previous hot-shot employers. Would it be fair to say that Casey is misleading CouchSurfing members by not mentioning that staff now receive salaries from their donations? The email also asks for more volunteers, should those people be told some of their “colleagues” will be “more equal” than others?

The full email follows…

Dear Sucker,

This message is to give you an update about the technology behind the CouchSurfing website. We’re making exciting improvements to our website hardware, software, and volunteer Tech Team that we want to make you aware of.

On Thursday, November 9th, at 1:00am in New York, 6:00am in Paris, 10:30am in Delhi, and 4:00pm in Sydney, the CS website will be unavailable for a brief period of up to 4 hours while we install new hardware that runs the website software. This necessary downtime will replace some outdated hardware and improve the site’s speed and reliability in order to keep pace with our growing membership. To prepare for this down time, please make sure you write down or print out any important information you may need during the outage.

Thanks to your support and enthusiasm, CouchSurfing is now the largest website of its kind, with over 60,000 people using the site each week and over 10,000 members meeting each other face-to-face each week! We’re taking action in advance to prepare for the needs of our growing community. As we make these upgrades during November, you may experience other unannounced website outages, but we expect these to be few and brief.

CouchSurfing’s volunteer Tech Team has been acting literally around the clock from several time zones to fix the issues effecting our email delivery system. For several days scattered over the past few weeks, emails were delivered up to a day late, and we understand the frustration that can cause. We’re happy to report that the Tech Team now has the issue under control, and we thank them for their determined efforts.

Thanks also goes to our new Tech Team Coordinator, Weston Hankins. Bringing Weston on board has been a huge score for CS. Weston has previously worked for automaker, Daimler Chrysler, and he co-developed core aspects of the Microsoft Windows operating system. He was willing to leave his high-profile employers and volunteer for CS because he shares our mission and love of travel.

Providing CouchSurfing’s free service depends on the amazing output of our dedicated volunteers including Weston, the Tech Team, and many others. We’re always seeking more help to continue to provide members with excellent service.

If you are a professional Linux system administrator with several years experience and knowledge of distributed file systems, load balancing, or database replication, please contact us.

We look forward to providing all members with improved website performance and reliable email delivery in the next month and into the future.

Happy CouchSurfing,

–Casey Fenton

What do the LT actually do?

We used to get the excuse “Casey is too busy”. Now we get the excuse “The LT is too busy“. This begs the question, too busy doing what?

CouchSurfing now has 4 full time, paid members of staff. That’s a 300% increase in professional resources within the organisation. What exactly are all these professionals doing?

Here’s a few things they’re not doing which they could be doing.

  • Publishing finances, up to the minute (it’s really not hard)
  • Getting 501(c)(3) status (again, really not hard)
  • Publishing LT meeting minutes (extremely easy)
  • Getting a new NDA sorted (seriously, it doesn’t take 15 months)

Perhaps they’re too busy partying, having threesomes, burning da man, banning people from the wiki, spreading the verification disease, etc. Who knows eh? ;-)

Casey’s Magic

While reading an NY Times article about CouchSurfing (thanks Mary) I was reminded of the magic that Casey created in the CouchSurfing project. I’ve definitely lost track of the magic over the last few months since becoming involved in the inner workings of the CouchSurfing organisation.

There’s a great sense of community, a great PR image, a wonderful “feeling” when reading about CouchSurfing. It’s a feeling that Hospitality Club and BeWelcome definitely don’t have. It’s more bohemian, more offbeat and quirky, yet somehow more mainstream.

Casey struck a great balance between the hitch hiking “true” traveller and the mainstream. CouchSurfing appeals to people from all walks of life, and that’s undoubtedly because of Casey’s ability to pitch it well.

In many ways, this makes it even more tragic that Casey chooses to run the organisation in the way he does. There’s such a huge opportunity to do something really, trully exceptional here. Unfortunately, it’s being stifled by the closed door, backroom politics style of leadership.

So here’s my question. Can we create the same magic in another network? Can we recreate that wonderful bohemian feeling in BeWelcome? Or CrashAtMine? Or a whole new network? Or is it something uniquely Casey that can’t easily be copied? Is it a quality that can’t be replicated?

CouchSurfing is Hiring

It was announced yesterday that CouchSurfing is seeking to hire a full time developer. They’ve just hired two core volunteers (Jim Stone and Mattthew Brauer). Where are they getting all this cash from? If they’re each paid $2’000 USD a month, between those three and Casey, that makes $96’000 a year.

So the CouchSurfing Corporation is finally starting to pay off…