Account on Couchsurfing.com suspended for mentioning alternatives

so yeah, tried logging onto CS today, and i get a message saying “Sorry, it looks like your account is no longer active”… what a bummer, i mean i’m at the moment hosting a surfer and i had another guest coming in about a week whom i forgot to send my directions so i guess that’s lost… what the hell CS, banning your most active member and saying i’m “inactive”

think i got banned cuz i dared to write on my profile without giving any links or writing any names but i wrote that there are CS alternatives and that people should search for them

edit, my surfer just got an email saying “My Name… is no longer a member on coucsurfing” and then there is text that says “This person profile has been deactivated and we’re letting you know so that you can make alternative arrangements…”

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Had you paid the fee they are asking for? Maybe they are deactivating all who don’t pay. Mine is maybe also deactivated, I won’t pay for something that was build on free bases, also the ugly way of forcing people by kidnaping your account until you pay.

CS is free in Iceland, so no i hadn’t ever paid anything

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Aw man I’m sorry to hear that Clim. I wonder if they are getting stricter than before about mentioning alternatives. Did you drop any names?

PS. Hope you don’t mind me editing you mr post title to be more specific, I have a feeling this is a more widespread problem

what i wrote was:

“(Couchsurfing)” should be for free, yet it isn’t, there is however a free “(Alternative)”, try searching for “(it)” and start using CS the way it was meant to be used


what i wanted people do so was search for “Couchsurfing Alternative”, i don’t really think many people understood what i meant by the brackets, it had been about 2 months since i added the text, i also got a reply from CS support and they told me just that:

“Thank you for writing to us. Your profile has been removed due to a Terms of Use violation
Unfortunately, that is all the information we can provide, due to privacy reasons.”

i read the TOS provided on CS and didn’t really see anything that warrants a ban like this, they don’t talk at all about not being allowed to mention competing platforms

i sent a reply after that but haven’t gotten any response yet, the message i sent was:

i am one of the most active members in Iceland on CouchSurfing and you just suspend my account with no notification or reason as to why my account was suspended? how can you have a website with nothing but surfers and no hosts? surely there must be a way to get my account back? i am already hosting one surfer who actually paid to you $60 bucks hoping it would help them get a couch, and i had another surfer coming next week and many more later this month and next month, and you just suspend my account with no reason given??

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Urgh, this sucks. I appreciate you mentioning it here.
I had been thinking about maybe giving them money for a month to gain access to my account again for an upcoming trip because the userbase here (or on BeWelcome or Trustroots for that matter) might just not be big enough yet. But this makes me honestly reconsider!

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Sorry, not cool especially because you had people coming but I am not surprised, CS has been doing it. I guess they didn’t like your reproachful attitude? :smiley: Do you at least have your references archived? I believe number 1 host in Iceland would have tons on references…

nah, with almost 500 references i was starting to not care so much about my references, i didn’t save them

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You can still try to archive them, with your CS username, like I did here: https://archive.fo/wHUMq

I am also suspended. I only found that out after I had paid a monthly fee a few weeks ago. I have no idea why, I had not been able to log in since November (but maybe because of that link on my profile page here…)

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your link doesn’t work

also my profile page is gone, unless there is a backup of CS somewhere

When you have a suspended account, you can’t log in. You get an error message asking you to contact CS support. There is no way for other people (other than the owner of the account) to know that the profile is suspended. Suspended accounts still exist, they look and behave like normal profiles- you can even receive messages and couch requests on suspended accounts. It’s almost like having a paywall- you still have an account but you can’t get into it. Suspended profiles can be reactivated and it’s easy to archive them using archive website.

Deactivated profiles can also be reactivated depending on who deactivated them. If deactivated by the user, the account can be reactivated by logging in and confirming that you want to reactivate your profile. If deactivated by CS team, there is no way back- you officially lost the account. Saving a profile on archive website is not an option for deactivated accounts. Those accounts ceased to exist.

I found this one year old policy: “If your account is deactivated, Couchsurfing will provide access to the data associated with the deactivated account upon receipt of the required legal documentation.” but I have no idea if it applies only to accounts that have been deactivated by users or whether they offer the same policy to accounts deactivated by CouchSurfing.

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my account says it was deactivated: Couchsurfing

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Sorry to hear that, but they’ve been on the warpath for several months now. We’re pretty sure I got suspended just for having urls in my messages; they weren’t even to CS alternatives. Are you sure there wasn’t anything else, like in your messages? If not, then they’ve really fine-tuned their bots if they’re picking up on a phrase in disparate parts.

They’ve had at least one staff change, and a new attitude of ‘our way or the highway.’ They banned digital events during a pandemic, and taken some of their most dedicated supporters not just out of the Ambassador program, but banned them entirely.
I could go on, but suffice it to say anyone who wants to keep using CS needs to tread a fine line, and be ok with that line changing pretty often and without warning.

Very intriguing that Icelanders can still use the site for free. CS never gave a list (I don’t really blame them) but they made it seem like only developing countries would retain free use of the website.

They’ve burned our bridges! Let’s fill this community with that good old-time Couchsurfing spirit.

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Also to add: we know the folks from CouchSurfing.com have been scouring our website just to find people to ban. I hadn’t logged in to my account for a few months and was randomly just banned: the same happened to several others on the team page. There is a chance they might have seen you being one of the most active users here on the forum and given your distinctive username, they might have decided that you ought to be banned! I’m really sorry it happened to you — whatever the reason, it’s unfair and not okay. It also creates a really hostile and unhealthy atmosphere.

It’s really the lowest of the low. But that’s why we’re building this alternative: we need to regain control of our platform as a community as well as reinstate some accountability and due process.

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Btw, my friend came up with an ingenious idea: change all "a"s (or o, y, etc.) in whatever you can be banned for to Cyrillic ones :rofl: :rofl:

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CS Search algorhythm is so janky, so i got my first new reference and got a 3 month free verification and a 100% complete profile and reply within a day, yet i’m still buried in the search results on page2/2 (refined as Logged in within a Week & only those with Accepting Guests) i’m behind one person with no profile picture, no profile information, no refs, over a week reply rate and unverified who is on page1 hehe

:face_with_symbols_over_mouth: CS (or more accurately: C$)
I am going to make stickers and other media about Couchers to spread the info and get other people to spread the info to help make Couchers BIGGER than C$.

Maybe something like “Forget CS. Check out Couchers.org. It’s Free!”

I would wait a few months before you get too offensive with promtion until a bit more features are implemented. Some users who will check this as an alternative will try it out, find many features missing or not working as intended and stick to what they know. I would only try to promote people who are themselves actively looking for alternatives.

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“I would only try to promote people who are themselves actively looking for alternatives”

If I did that, then it would be a very slow progress as I quit CS after the paywall went up. Plus I’m not on Fakebook or IG, so I don’t have a long list of fellow travel enthusiasts to tell about this site. But I know where to find them in person here, and I will go to those places and spread the word about Couchers. I will also explain that it’s new/in the beta stage, so that they understand that it’s a work-in-progress.

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I wonder if we could get away with uploading photos with Couchers promotional text… It is many orders of magnitude harder to automatically scan images than it is to scan text!

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