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Tony Espinoza (CEO) Discussion - Week 8
Posted April 29th, 2013 - 11:18 pm from San Francisco, United States
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Posted April 29th, 2013 - 11:39 pm by from Wellington, New Zealand (Permalink)
Thanks for the responses.
What you seem to be saying here
Their past contributions are hugely appreciated, but if they are presently unavailable, it makes sense that they should not be featured in the Ambs directory until they are again available. I imagine it will be natural for folks to phase in and out, occassionally "retiring" for periods of time. The point is that being an Amb should include a functional role. I know in the past it has been an important acknowledgement for a tremendous contribution to the community.
is;
If you have, say, a recently-divorced sibling come and stay on the couch for a few months, you might 'not be hosting' and then lose ambassador status despite still attending events, moderating boards, giving advice, meeting people for coffee, etc? Unless you switch to being 'a different type of ambassador'?
That seems either unfair, or unnecessarily complex (the word 'rigmarole' comes to mind); would one have to re-apply each time one wanted to change 'ambassador type'?

Or could one simply be an 'ambasdor' and tick boxes somewhere to show what type of ambassador-activities you were doing?

Equally, let's say someone regularly organises and attends events, but is on a post-grad part-time course and for one semester the scheduled classes conflict with the regular CS event; because the person is temporarily not attending (yet are doing other CS things), you consider them temporarily 'retired'?



An ambassador off on a 6-month trip; might stay with old friends or cousins and 'spread the word', organise a few events as they go...what type of ambassador are they then? Surfing? Events? Place? ....or just 'travelling'. ?

Posted April 30th, 2013 - 4:03 am from San Francisco, United States
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Posted April 30th, 2013 - 8:30 am from Miami, United States
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Posted April 30th, 2013 - 4:53 pm from San Francisco, United States
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Posted May 1st, 2013 - 5:16 am from Melbourne, Australia
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Posted May 1st, 2013 - 1:07 pm by from Fairbanks, United States (Permalink)
tony,
as it seems amanda has been removed from this group, i'll reply in her stead.

i can understand how from someone who hasn't been a part of this community's perspective that the link you clicked looks like a full and complete answer. but in reality, it's two lines, from one local.


compare to a similar discussion a few years ago (i just clicked on any random conversation after searching 'work' from about 2 yrs ago)
https://www.couchsurfing.org/n/threads/work-available+9765459 and you'll perhaps have a bit of an understanding of the community vibe that we are lamenting the loss of.

this is counter-intuitive, as we have more members in these groups than ever before yet less of them are active than ever before. the couchsearch function doesn't work properly- goodness knows the code used but people with no profile, no picture and logging in 2 months ago are showing up on the first page. we can't get rid of irrelevant posts because there aren't enough ppl in the darwin group to flag them. rideshares are being posted because the linked nt rideshare group is in tiny lettering down the bottom. people ask the same information again and again because they cant see that someone had asked the same question 2 weeks earlier, and hosts are sick of answering the same thing the same way all the time. and frustrated angry responses are given to people who would otherwise had a patient explanation given. so don't blame us for trying to re-direct traffic to facebook, it's simply a better medium at the moment.

keep in mind that we care about the community much more than the website.
if it's a choice between keeping our heads above water sifting through the crap that ends up on our board and in our couchrequest inbox, or re-directing the ones who are good enough quality to actually read through things and seek out the locals and discover us on facebook / be welcome / monsoons on a thursday night etc, then great. it's less work to re-direct all the good ones than it is to educate and sift through the bad ones.

but then i'm one of those who interpret 'ambassador' as someone who helped out travellers, facilitated connections, and answered questions. i never pledged myself to uphold the honour of couchsurfing name.

right now, today, a facebook page is the best way to make those connections happen, in our city. if you walked a mile in their shoes, and legitimately cared more about the travellers than the company, then you'd realise what we're mourning and understand why there's a shift occurring to try and save what's left.


incidentally, i was just chatting to chris whom you mentioned you messaged asking for input. i said "so, Tony Espinoza sent you a message, hey?" and he replied "yes, spam, twice."

curious, i asked him to copy/paste.

all he'd gotten was this.

Ref #7588760
{USE THE APPROVED CLAIMS EMAIL CONTACT BELOW}

PO BOX 7775 ECM 86600 San Francisco, CA 94120
Congratulations! Your E-mail just WON £850,000 British Pounds in our on-going Couchsurfing

Anniversary Promo!
Your details are: Ref #: 7588760

E-mail ID
Code: 65332
Payment: Category A.

Participants of this promotional award were randomly selected from worldwide range of couchsurfers who uses couchsurfing website and other couchsurfing ancillary services.
For more information on the lottery program and payment, write to Heather O’Brien via this email address : cs.claims.support@outlook.com

Congratulations once again!

Tony Espinoza
CEO Couchsurfing

Contacts

Couchsurfing
Heather O’Brien
cs.claims.support@outlook.com



so now i'm confused as to whether you told us you reached out to him for comments to impress the people reading this board, or if you have something wrong with your email.

Posted May 2nd, 2013 - 12:00 am from Liverpool, England
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Posted May 2nd, 2013 - 12:39 am from Melbourne, Australia
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Posted May 2nd, 2013 - 2:28 am from Pompano Beach, United States
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Posted May 2nd, 2013 - 2:29 am by from Fairbanks, United States (Permalink)
yeah i know. i was trying to explain to some surfers the other day what it used to be like. in my mind, (and i'm no web-developer, and realise that most of this has been constantly hashed out here before) what needs to happen is:

1) send out mass emails to everyone who hasn't used the website in more than 6 months, asking them to log in if they'd like to keep their accounts. then follow through a month later and actually delete those who still haven't logged in. (problem: it hurts the statistics of users on cs, which may affect the businesses that are being reached out to for the money-making concept outlined in the second half of this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkyMW7S9RWg&feature=youtu.be)

2) ask people what they think needs to be changed to the website, rather than going all crazy with it, and make changes slowly, with warning of downtime and what to expect ("CS will be down between hours of x-x for work on our meetings function. when we've finished you'll be able to make your ongoing meetings repeat themselves.")

3) apologise for mistakes! i still can't believe the muck-up that led to all our wikis disappearing! or that you didn't even know about the ambassador dashboard (and possibly, even understand the true role of ambassadors as we see it?) until so recently-!


At the moment, from what i understand, you get most of your money from premium memberships. (as you explained midway through this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkyMW7S9RWg&feature=youtu.be).
i for one didn't become a verified member to "pay to become a couchsurfer" or to "make (you) money at the moment", i did it because i was under the impression that CS didn't have enough money to keep the website operating, pay fulltime staff etc. i did it as a donation, not to gain anything for myself. i'm a bit upset that those donations have since been regarded as profit. so, in my mind, you've been making money by misleading people thus far.
in the future you outline an idea to have businesses on board to offer to csers who pay for a premium service to access these things.
how will the travel info be gathered? how do YOU know which cafe in france is the best one to go to? how do YOU know which tour in central australia is most relevant to young people? will you just accept advertising from whoever pays the most?

if it was My business, i would place polls on each group, asking the USERS to nominate their favourite venue, tour, place, small business, etc. then i'd approach those businesses and say 'our users have identified your business as one of the best in the area and we'd like to promote you. for $50 a year, we'll advertise a link to your business on our "explore this city" section of our website".

say you advertise 10 businesses.
in each city.
for $50 a year.

that's a LOT of money coming in on an annual basis.

users would only see the advertising if they chose to, it's a great way to promote small business, and couchsurfing still stays free for the user.

most importantly, you don't have to go fishing after numbers.

the great thing about CS was that it was small. i would actually get to know a traveller pretty well before even letting them in on the 'secret' of couchsurfing. i remember the melbourne community getting REAL upset at seeing an article talking about couchsurfing in some newspaper somewhere. it was too public. we didn't want more people.


to get the community back, you need to LIMIT numbers, not promote couchsurfing. that way only the good ones get through.

make it impossible to post or surf unless you have a completed profile.
allow moderators to remove the sleezy types (and we know who they are in our cities) from the group, or even somehow give mods the power to not allow them to offer their couches to open couch requests. or have opens displayed only on the group so that ppl who are booted can't see them. let us design our own place pages. the world is different- why should the groups look the same? lets give it character. some groups don't mind public couch requests. others hate it. others have dedicated groups for that purpose. so let the cities do what they like and don't try to homogenise the whole world.


and this is jut my ideas and i have no experience in running any sort of business! imagine how many OTHER amazing ideas there are out there, ideas that would keep our community in place.

Posted May 2nd, 2013 - 3:09 am by from Fairbanks, United States (Permalink)
also a note on the conversation sections-

i'm aware that this helps people who want to find accommodation to find accommodation, or ppl who want to find a lift to find a lift. but how is it helping the rest of us, who want to AVOID that clutter?


can we implement some sort of filter so that i don't have the rideshare and places to stay posts coming up on my 'all' section? i don't understand how this is helping to clean up the boards :S

(aside from contradicting what we tell people to do, to post in the nt rideshare group, that it's now obviously okay to post in the place page because there's a section for it.)

-yet another example of why cities should be able to control their own look. darwin is NOTHING like melbourne, and we have different challenges. while this change is great for melbourne, it's not so great for us.

Posted May 2nd, 2013 - 4:43 am from San Francisco, United States
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Posted May 2nd, 2013 - 8:52 pm from San Francisco, United States
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Posted May 3rd, 2013 - 2:07 am by from Fairbanks, United States (Permalink)
thanks for the reply :)

when i'm talking about 'using the best medium at the moment' i'm NOT trying to say that cs is gone and done for. but it is most definitely being watered down by empty profiles, people here for the wrong reason, etc. the moderator of a facebook group can remove couch or rideshare requests, and bring attention to events and meetings.

i did a little research on my city that i'd like to share:

Darwin has 1,104 couchsurfing members. 469 "interesting people" are available to host.

of those, 222 have logged in in the past 3 months.

of those, 135 have photos.

of those, 56 people have their profile AND couch info filled out, to at least a minimal degree.

OR

there are 21 ppl with 5 or more references available to host.

17 of those have logged in in the past 2 weeks.
7 of those have their couch to 'yes' as opposed to 'maybe'.

if you're a female travelling alone who prefers to stay with females, your options go down to 3 maybes and one yes.

and the only 'yes' female, with more than 5 references, lives in (and would be hosting in) car (myself ;) )

there is a core group of 10 local ppl who turn up to meetings, not all of whom have a couch available at the moment.

(i just read that to a surfer, and he said "so that makes it even harder for surfers, because when you see those numbers you think "where to start!" but if you see there are really only 60 people hosting in darwin, it makes it easier to look through")


if that's typical across the board, then the numbers you're dealing with are not reflecting the numbers purported IN THE SLIGHTEST.

i'm not really honestly making much of a point here and i know already what your reply would be like, i simply felt like sharing my research :)


re. your reply- i've put my ambassadorship on hold until this website once again becomes something that works properly. it's too much to ask at the moment for ambassadors to go chasing people who do the wrong thing, because CS doesn't teach them the right thing from the outset. i'd rather stay on the sidelines, read and occasionally input here, organise meetings and do what i can than burn out trying to keep up with and answer basic questions again and again.


i also have no idea what 'conspiracy theories' you are talking about- in the video you said this is where you received your money, and i'm simply going on that as i don't know about any other income sources aside from verification.

Posted May 3rd, 2013 - 6:16 pm from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted May 3rd, 2013 - 8:04 pm from San Francisco, United States
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Posted May 5th, 2013 - 11:21 pm from Consolacion, Philippines
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Posted May 6th, 2013 - 4:22 am from Minneapolis, United States
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Posted May 6th, 2013 - 4:38 pm from San Francisco, United States
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Posted May 3rd, 2013 - 7:46 am from Los Angeles, United States
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