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Location: The Couchsurfing Project >> Brainstorm - the original one.... >> Brainstorm ~ Redefined
The real number of "deeply engaged" members
In various presentations and interviews for the travel industry in the past months, CEO Tony Espinoza has been claiming 5 million deeply engaged members.
Today, in a slip of his tongue, he has admitted that even in the Number One Couchsurfing location, Paris, of the supposedly 68.000 hosts (profiles set to couch status "yes" or "maybe"), according to him and the data he relies on, only 1.000 (less than 1.5%) have ever hosted. That would bring down the advertised figure of 5 million "deeply engaged" members to less than 75.000 and the venture capital wasted to $23 million/75.000 = about $300 per deeply engaged member. I am still waiting for my check.
Tony's remarks match my findings from looking at public data. Most available data on Alexa, Google Trends and Quantcast (until recently) points in the same direction: down, with Couchsurfing at its height in August 2011, right before the "conversion".
If CS keeps "growing" like it has been since August 2011 the majority of profiles it'll mostly be an empty shell in a couple of years
"That would bring down the advertised figure of 5 million "deeply engaged" members to less than 75.000 and the venture capital wasted to $23 million/75.000 = about $300 per deeply engaged member. I am still waiting for my check."
Again I think you are missing the point here. In my opinion the REAL value are the NON deeply engaged members. These r the people who you can RENT accomodations, sell insurance etc etc. basically the newbies and other suckers who dont understand how CS works.
Think about it. You have a bunch of info on all these people with shitty couch requests who basically have a snowballs chance in hell of ever getting a free place to stay. they have already qualified themselves as leads for accomodation. You gotta figure that info that Joe Schmuck will be in NYC for 3 days starting May 5 is worth something to hotel/hostel provider.
Honestly, I dont know what ur previous professional experience was, but u should not try to place a value on what 5 million users is worth. Im not saying that its worth a lot or a little. Just saying its complicated.
Hey maybe the investors will get fed up and cut their losses and fire sale CS at a loss.
And just an aside, u really gotta give Casey credit. As crappy as it was when he was doing a lot of the work, the fact is it was done for CHEAP! The present management has burned through millions of dollars and they dont have a better product!
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"u really gotta give Casey credit. As crappy as it was when he was doing a lot of the work, the fact is it was done for CHEAP!"
That depends on your idea of cheap, and when you are talking about.
For reference, BeWelcome runs its site for 2000€ a year, everything included. If increased to a CS-level volume, this might conceivably increase to 5000€.
During CS's final 12 months as a non-profit, its revenues were approximately 1000 times that, $2,000,000 a year.
Admittedly the "site" was run for less money, since only about 10% of that money went to running the site - programming and servers, etc. Meaning that when you subtract the money skimmed off the top, it only cost CS 100 times as much money as BW.
As far as I know, BeWelcome is the only non-profit general hospitality site. But the other for-profit site, HospitalityClub, also has an operating budget vastly inferior to the old Fenton non-profit budget.
There is zero doubt that CS could have been run with its non-profit budget, but Fenton decided otherwise, as Hoffer has now revealed, following a business plan that was established from the beginning, to fill their pockets with the fruit of volunteer labor, betraying community for cold cash.