Couchsurfing is not free anymore – Starting from 14 May 2020, the most famous platform that allows travellers to be hosted abroad for free will ask for financial help to its members, in order to keep its service open. You can contribute for only 3 euros per month, or 15 euros per year, in order to be able to use the platform features and freely communicate with its users.
For those unfamiliar with Couchsurfing, we have already talked about it in different articles.
The message from the Couchsurfing managers
If you are a member of the platform and you are accessing it in these days, this is the message you may come across:
Due to the impact of Covid-19, we need your immediate help to keep Couchsurfing alive
€2.39 Tax and Fees included
€14.29 Tax and Fees included Save 50%
All of us who are members of Couchsurfing believe in something greater than money, possessions, and status. It took over 14 years for the Couchsurfing community to come together. Without your immediate help, this community will be lost forever.
All of us who are members of Couchsurfing believe in something greater than money, possessions, and status.
It took over 14 years for the Couchsurfing community to come together. Without your immediate help, this community will be lost forever.
Given the challenging realities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Couchsurfing will soon be unable to meet our financial obligations. We have reduced the size of our team, taken pay cuts, eliminated or renegotiated all contracts, eliminated our physical office space (we are now a 100% remote workforce), and applied for COVID-19 relief funds provided by the United States Government through the CARES Act. Unfortunately, this will not be enough.
As of May 14, 2020, we are asking for member contributions of $2.39 per month, or $14.29 per year if paid upfront, to keep Couchsurfing alive. This member contribution is required to access the Couchsurfing website and mobile applications. Your member contributions will be used to support Couchsurfing through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, and to keep this community safe. This is a decision of last resort, and not one taken lightly.
There is good news: All Couchsurfing members can now send unlimited messages and Couch requests. As third-party advertising is no longer supporting Couchsurfing, all third-party advertising will soon be removed from the website and mobile applications. Member contributions will allow us to significantly reduce the cost of Verification in the near future. The Couchsurfing website and mobile applications will continue to evolve and we are in the process of developing many of the exciting features requested by the community.
More details about these changes are available on our blog.
Now that the platform is free from advertisements – one wonders if the CouchSurfing members will be willing to pay for membership access and whether this will bring benefits or not to the notorious platform. The CS project will still remain a profit/business company: this only reason had made many travellers and home-surfers-enthusiasts, turn away and unsubscribe at once.
We remind readers and former CS members that if they are looking for a free service, there is another platform similar to Couchsurfing and completely free called TrustRoots, a site managed by nomads, backpackers and alternative travellers and hosts.
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After a series of ups and downs for the Couchsurfing website (first the transition from non-profit to profit, then the additional paid services, finally the mandatory subscription fee), it seems that Trustroots is about to become the number one of free hospitality.
For free hospitality, you can also count on our website: if you are a host and you are up to host travellers (like this host community), feel free to submit your announcement, whether you need to host volunteers or friendly travellers.
Save the Couchsurfing Community – A Facebook group
A group of unhappy couchsurfers have created a new Facebook group, called Save The Couchsurfing Community”. Their aim is to persuade the Couchsurfing Board Team to go back to their original roots. This is what you can read in the Group Profile Description:
On the 15th of May 2020, Couchsurfing locked up millions of profile unless people pay a yearly fee. We don’t agree with this policy of ransoming people. The aim of this group is to remove the subscription fee from Couchsurfing and to find another way to monetize the website.
If you want to know more about this FB group, click here:
We shall remind you that if you are open to host/welcome at your place travellers from all over the world, for free, you are welcome to post your listing also here on Voluntouring.org. Go to the Host Registration section. It’s free.
Another alternative to Couchsurfing: COUCHERS.org
Couchers.org is a new online platform (currently being built) for couchsurfers. It is, apparently, Non‑profit and Community‑focused. The idea of its creators is to build a website that takes all the best features from existing platforms while tackling their main issues. The platform will also be, free for everyone to use forever. According to the creators, it will also be modern, useful, and evolving with the community’s needs.
Are you a leader in your community? Have experience in non-profit startups or marketing? Want to offer your technical expertise? You can join the board of Couchers.org! Right now, they are especially looking for marketing specialists, frontend and UI/UX engineers, and backend engineers. If you think you can help in any other capacity, please sign up!
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