Boycotting language like the verb 'couchsurfing'

I’ve starting boycotting couchsurfing.com

Whenever I get a request, I ask the guest to send me a message by e-mail or phone and over this platform tell them to reach out to me through couchers.org, and convince them to make the switch.

The brand name ‘couchsurfing’ however, has become a verb that I use apart from the platform. This verb is also used to describe the goal of this platform: Help | Couchers.org Beta

I want to boycot this brand language as well and advocate we step from it. Do you agree? What’s the difficulties? Are there other cultural things embedded in couchsurfing.com we should boycot? Or should we opt for a different strategy and try to reclaim language? How far can we step away from couchsurfing before giving in too much as far as recognizability to the mainstream public goes?

There’s a related topic focussing on possible better names. This topic is about the discourse.

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If we can manage to get couchsurfing as a verb (which isn’t far away already), they can’t trademark it anymore.
This is why Google by all means don’t want it to become a verb.

Boycotting Couchsurfing.com is perhaps a bridge to far, they made wrong choices to our opinion but that doesn’t mean to are actually doing anything wrong (legally)
Just being yourself and stand by your choices works best.
Inform others works good as well, let others choose for themself, don’t force them because that’s bad.

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I feel everyone can just follow their own personal preferences about language and also how much they’d want to advertise or discourage using specific platforms.

But as a project Couchers.org certainly embraces claiming the term couch surfing as a common language term and not limit it to a brand. I actually shared a graph on the naming topic that shows how the term was popularized by the community and actually not the branded company (The name Couchers - #70 by nolo) And personally I see this as the best argument for keeping it up as the most popular community word for engaging in hospitality exchange.

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As far as our discourse and using the term “couchsurfing” is concerned, I think relcaiming is the right approach for at least three reasons, which you’ve already hinted at.

  1. I don’t think we should give in to a corporation that has essentially tried to privatize and profit from a beautiful and important concept like couchsurfing.

  2. I don’t think it would be very pragmatic as it’s the most recognized word for what we’re doing here, at least in the English language circles in which I participate.

  3. I don’t think a campaign to convince people to stop using the term would be very successful, and so people’s time and energy would be better spent on other things.

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when talking to people unfamiliar with all the different hospitality exchange websites i usually say Couchsurfing, but mention that Couchers or Bewelcome would be better to use, if not otherwise making a CS dot com account but with country set to a freezone just to check it out, and tell them not to pay for it, otherwise if i’m talking to another member of any of the platforms i generally use the term “surfing”

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What’s the point in boycotting an organisation that is already failing? I’m quite happy to relax and watch it fall into the sea with my new Couchers friends. Look, no hands!

Meanwhile, the words “couchsurfing” and “surfing” (in context) have de facto entered the commons (like “hoover”). There has been plenty of discussion around alternatives, yet nothing else sticks. In the end, the best words are the ones that people use, I think.

I believe that continuing to place my energy into improving the quality of Couchers, rather than modifying (or boycotting) the language around CS, will inevitably result in it becoming the Myspace of hospex.

That said, convincing your active-profile friends to leave CS and join Couchers is always going to be a good idea. That was really what caused people to join Facebook I think, in the early days. And there’s a shortage of active profiles over here, so the more the merrier.

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