Hey just wanna first that it’s awesome seeing the growth of couchers.org… i wish i can remember what even led me here. I know speaking to one of the team members, one of the goals is to become bigger and better than couchsurf for obvious reasons. My question is how many members are on couchsurf in the US? How many US couchers do we have? And what is our plan and timetable to surpass couchsurf for US users?
Looking at the map search, I’d say close to 2k couchers users in the US/North America, out of a 6.5k userbase (that’s ~30%).
About CS™ I have no idea, as I’m outside the paywall and in any case I don’t think they share this kind of detail – all they say is worldwide they have 12-14M users. We could try to extrapolate and very roughly guesstimate around 2-3M users (15-20% of userbase). Although the number of MAUs (Monthly Active Users) is likely to be much lower.
how do we get there is the question? i am a member on both platforms. in my state it seems like there are 50x the number of couchsurfers than there are couchers…
that’s normal, CS has been around for over a decade, whereas couchers only a few months.
about how to get there: couchers is trying to grow organically.
IMO one of CS’s mistakes was thinking that lots of users = thriving community. in the end that turned out into a lot of freeloaders, folks with wrong motivations and a detached community.
it seems with couchers, we’re trying to take a different route, focusing on growing solid local communities, organizing regular events, and building a platform that answers some of the biggest concerns (safety, transparency, diversity).
how do you think we can get better and how can you contribute?
well sorry to break it to you but amount of users is literally the main statistic for how well we are doing. the whole point of both platforms is so people can either a travel or b host. Insinuating amount of users doesn’t matter is like saying runs don’t matter in baseball, when it is the most important statistic objectively.
there seems to be a misunderstanding, I didn’t insinuate that the amount of users doesn’t matter. I said
IMO one of CS’s mistakes was thinking that lots of users = thriving community.
so if the goal is to build the largest / most active hospex community, then obviously # of users is a key metric (which still can have many shades - how many of those are active in the last month MAUs or day DAUs; how many are actively engaging or just lurking around, etc.)
my point was about creating a thriving community. and for that I believe looking at # of users alone is not enough, and can even be a bad strategic decision (what CS did at some point) because you need a community that is based on trust, meaningful relationships and valuable interactions. in this case I’d also look into the % of users which have hosted/surfed, the number/frequency/attendance of events, ratio of positive/negative references, and many more.
I don’t know enough about baseball to follow on your comment, but if I can try to find an example to illustrate my point try thinking about the harley davison motorbike fans: they may not the biggest motorbike community in the world, but AFAIK they sure are one of the most thriving and engaged. or the QAnon - a small (yet larger than many would like) community, but very much engaged and militant.
hope this helps bring clarity and I’d still like to hear (read) how do you think we can get better and how can you contribute?
looking at # of users is by far the most important metric. i wouldn’t be looking down on couchsurf in that light. the only issue with couchsurf is their ethics, such as implementing a paywall during a pandemic and their inability to deal with people’s problems on a case to case basis ie, getting banned and or reporting harassment.
Their community IS thriving, they’re the number one traveling and hosting community by a landslide. Who is in second, bewelcome? lol…Therefore, saying something like “couchsurf made a mistake thinking lots of users = thriving community” is kind of rediculous. They are destroying the competition for a reason.
If you think number of users isn’t the most important stat in regards to building a successful global community I don’t know what to tell you. Imagine traveling somewhere, and not have a place to stay because there are no hosts lol. This is common sense.
You seem to align more with a community like trustroots. They’re all about making it a quality community without a care in the world about how many people are using the app. Look how far they have come. I’ll save you the time. They have gone nowhere and will go nowhere. I volunteered for them for 6 months. Complete waste of time.
I see where trustroots is now and would prefer to not let that happen with couchers. To compete with CS we must build a massive community that allows for people to travel and host. You cannot do either without more users. It’s really that simple.
When you join a community, you’ll see it’s current member count on your Dashboard:
Though as @fracktal said, I also believe the more important metric is how many active members a site has. But it seems we can’t get that stat from the app right now:
Could we change that, so that any location filter works?
Regards couchsurfing, I don’t believe any of their numbers. They keep counting everyone that ever signed up, no? Right now this includes all profiles that are locked out as well. As far as I’ve seen last time I was signed in, they even keep the status on these ghost profiles as “Can Host”, in case it was set to that before.
But I’d totally agree that we’ll need members in the millions if this is to work as a vibrant global platform. 0.1% of the world population would be about 8 million? That still sounds like a pretty niche proportation, right?
How do we get there? The two approaches I understand we do different right now than other volunteer platforms are:
- assign resources to marketing and market the platform with mainstream appeal
- support local community building and provide tools and resources to community builders. That’s where I’d see our biggest chance for growth (as couchsurfing essentially dropped all support for community engagement) while also attracting the people that are eager to build a healthy platform.
Regards the history of couchsurfing, counting on another desaster decision they make is probably also a viable strategy
Lets do this asap!
Hey, new guy here, but long time hospitality org member. Yes, new members are important, and growth and marketing are important. But numbers in the millions is not even close to necessary.
Couchers is considered still in ‘beta’, yes? and a beta testing group of 6500 is more than a solid number to test.
Given the ongoing pandemic, it’s hard to suggest to a group of travelers that they need to hurry up and grow exponentially. I’d suggest getting the 6500 people to become regular using members who feel they have a stake in the success, use them for grassroots marketing, then when maybe 10k is reached, start figuring out how to do some smart ‘guerilla’ marketing.
Besides getting the tech at least mostly right, the ‘culture’- what type of person becomes a member - will be strikingly important.
Think we shouldn’t focus on amount of members, one of the biggest mistakes of CS as mentioned before in this topic.
CS was working the best with around 1/2 million members in my opinion to have active local communities. Think we should better focus on active members to have a thriving community. And trying to avoid to have too many empty/ghost profiles.
The more members the more BS will happen and the harder it would be to community control it in a sustainable member growth way.