References Needs Improvement

As a host, I received my first 2 requests in the past few days. One from a woman; the other from 2 men. The woman clued me into how not many people have References available. I could tell she was quite hesitant. I did my best to assuage her fears, including providing LinkedIn and my address, and voice verified. However, if I were a woman, I don’t know that I would move forward with my level of references.

I think References should be a required field and there should be the option for LinkedIn, FB/IG, employer email address verification, etc. Ideally, there should also be an option to order a background check.

Also, I have many friends that would be willing to endorse me, but have no interest in hosting or being a guest. I understand a registered user can post an endorsement, but it would be nice if you could leverage the LinkedIn, Twitter, or other APIs and allow me to send an endorsement request to friends via those platforms.

How it works currently is that 1 (or more) people first has to take that first chance on you. This is no different than AirBNB, but the difference was they required more than 1 type of verification to even register (iirc, my SSN and driver’s license or passport). I realize this is an all-volunteer free site, so I feel the LinkedIn linking and employer verifications could be relatively easy to start.


On hospex communities the word “reference” has usually a different meaning. On a new community it is clear that internal references are a rare thing (expecially on couchers, where leaving a reference is one of the most cumbersome and annoying things).
You are mentioning some commercial services, that have their term of use that not all couchers users could be willing to accept. It could be possible to use as external references other hospex communities (even if also in this case there is always the problem of novices), but in any case there is a problem: how can you be sure that the person supplies as an external reference ITS reference ?

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Good points, that’s why I mentioned several options. I’m not a big fan of any, though LinkedIn is the lesser of evils for me. None, in particular, should be required, but I think one of some kind should be at some point (even if just a verification of employer-based email). Or at least that there’s some kind of onboarding that walks you through setup including linking to those sites, and warns you that this may be a sticking point for your profile and to think of alternative means to provide separately.

I’ve seen other discussions of the need for growth of MAUs, and decreasing friction is the easiest way to accomplish this IMHO. It was a lot more effort figuring this out on my own than I would’ve expended if I wasn’t currently out of work.

The reason I don’t like simply including a hyperlink to my profiles is that sort of thing is pretty easy to scrape (and then show up on the shady data providers). I’d rather it be like Blind or other platforms (eg AirBNB) that accomplish this. I’m currently learning how to code so maybe this is something I can volunteer to help implement.

I think linking to profiles on other platforms is a great idea. I didn’t mention it since this is the first such site I’ve belonged to (I joined CS but never proceeded past the paywall).

As to your last point, building this sort of thing through APIs means you somewhat rely on the provider. I for one am willing to trust Couchers or another platform to a limited degree if they have a badge of some sort (like AirBNB does) of eg employer verified, or LinkedIn-verified with city, state and perhaps some other info like field of work or most recent employer.

Of course, all this can be accomplished directly, but it’s a hassle, and that impedes growth.


You are forgetting that -at lest here, in this period- 80% of guests are people that just finished studies and took a sabbatical year or semester, so cannot have such informations.

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“I believe her limited experience is an area for improvement.” “Needs to gain more industry-specific knowledge for further development and growth.” “Time management would be his biggest area of opportunity.”
regards: smokerschef .com

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Interesting. Not here. In any case, I provided alternatives, so no need to belabor those.

Edit: to be clear though, students may have LinkedIn also. I started one in school and put classes and projects. I’ve seen retirees with them, as well as business owners, and stay-at-home moms, so it’s not only for traditional employment.

Lol. That’s a performance review. Never seen anything like that on someone’s LinkedIn. If so, they’re doing it wrong.

In my opinion LinkedIn is just self promotion and says less about a person than any reference or photo you can see on hopex sites. That’s why it is important to be able to post more photos on our profiles (one photo, a thousand words). Also getting a reference is not so hard, I started with my brother’s on CS, plus 1-2 friends and everything was fine. Filling properly our profiles (as host) can help guests a lot. If people are lazy to fill their profiles, they will not put a link to LinkedIn.
From a host point of view, I hosted 2 first timers on Couchers lately because they wrote me beautiful personalized messages. So no, references do not need improvement in my opinion, the quality of the guests requests needs improvement maybe, but that’s up to them. Being rejected a few times is the only way of learning.


I agree with what some of the other folks here a saying. It’s not that I think there would be no value in adding identity verification options, but genuine trust is built when people in the community meet up in person and share with the rest of us how that went (i.e. leave a reference). There really is no substitute for that or easy way around it.

And I don’t think any amount of badges/links/verification checkmarks/etc. really changes the fact that you’re still meeting up with a stranger. People have different comfort levels with that initially regardless. For me personally, what I have loved about using hospitality networks over the years is that it has changed the way I think about encountering “strangers” and what things in life are actually risky and what things aren’t.