The name Couchers

Hi everyone,
I’ve been a lurker in the community for a while and have enjoyed the conversations! I wanted to express a concern I’ve had for a while about the name Couchers. I personally feel it’s too close to “couchsurfing” and will ultimately prevent this platform from getting its own unique identity.

This hit me hardest when I was thinking about submitting a logo design for the group, and I realized that the only defining characteristic of the name “coucher” is a couch and the act of sitting on it… But this platform will be SO much more than that - it will be about cultural exchange more than the surface on which you’ll get to sleep at night. In addition, I remember that a French-speaking person in the forum had previously brought up that the word has sort of a sexual connotation in French. Shouldn’t the name of the platform be something that reflects its message and transcends languages?

I strongly urge the community to come together and find a new potential name. I know that we haven’t found a good alternative yet, but I also know I’m not the only one who has expressed concerns about the existing name. Why don’t we compile ideas from all of us and have a discussion to select our top choices?

Some ideas of mine:
couchmap
philoxenia or filoxenia
xenophiles

Sorry if my first post sounds like I’m dishing on the amazing work that has been done so far by the development team - I am not, and I really admire and look forward to seeing this platform develop! I just have held this opinion for a while and wanted to voice it.

Thanks!

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Hey there Natalia and welcome to the forum!

I’m in complete agreement with you and always have been. I don’t know that there are many people who are strongly in favor of the name Couchers, but the fact is by this point in time we’ve all gotten really used to it. I proposed a few alternatives of my own a while back as well. They are…

OneWorld OurShare
OurWorld OpenDoor
MyWorld BorderLess
NoBorders ComeOver
AllRoads Stay With
ShareIt ShareYou
SoJourney AllWander
MakeRoom
TravelMeet

Of these, the domains that were available for cheap were…

ShareYou.org
AllWander.org
ComeOver.net
TravelMeet.org
StayWith.org
SoJourney.org

Honestly I find the name Couchers so off-putting I have trouble even telling people about it sometimes. I’ve since sucked that up but I’d rather be proud of the name from the get go. So yeah, I love your idea of proposing alternatives and then narrowing them down and maybe having some kind of vote. It’s just so very important that the domain names are readily available and there’s no chance of having any conflict with existing organizations/businesses.

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Is it important to have .org? There’s options like .travel, .meet, .world, .exchange … that could work, depending on a name.

SoJourney is so so good! I’m all in for a vote on names, is that something that the developers team could organize? Maybe we could all submit a name (or list thereof) along with the price of the domain name after a search on namecheap or something similar. Or, we could all vote on the top 5 or so and the developer team could decide on one based on practical/URL issues.

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Aw thank you! I’m sure we could organize an shortlist and a vote, but first I’d want to hear from someone with more authority that changing the name is a possibility or an option still on the table! :face_with_monocle:

I think that was the idea, since it indicates the non-profit nature of our project. I think we do want that signaling.

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I think we’re still at the same point as we were on this as months ago. If we can find one name that everyone can get behind then sure, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. We have a small sample of people and even amongst them, there’s no agreement. And there are far more things to direct our energy towards. See: The urgency of the product release

That being said, let me re-state the case for Couchers.org.

Our identity is going to come from so much more than our name, but even then there is identity to forge. Our narrative is that we are the community reclaiming couch-surfing. It is not CS’s term, and we are taking it back. The very act of couch-surfing is about non-transactional generosity, curiosity of people, friendship, and the building and sense of local and worldwide community. That forms the basis of our values and mission. It is the core activity to the platform, and we empower and support the communities that form around this activity.

We should be sure to enforce this narrative in our branding, so it doesn’t seem we’re just something like CS, and that effort will come closer to the release.

I know that some people are concerned that being reactionary will stifle our sense of self, but as long as we are aware of that and build our identity on these core ideals and through active community building then it is not an issue. Being reactionary has let everyone know what we stand for, and has brought in everyone here. We currently have the largest active volunteer force in hospex, and more people working on this than are employed in CS. This strategy is working because we are clear about our goals. The name Couchers.org helps embody this. The lack of clarity in both BeWelcome and Trustroots has been to their detriment.

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Great reply Itsi. Agreed 100%.

Other platforms are already in the “CS rejection” niche, BW and TR, aiming to be different, more idealistic, sometimes too naive.

If couchers manages to become the successor of CS it would be a huge accomplishment. It seems like a lesser goal but it’s not, CS is (or was) a hugely successful community. And the name is vital to reach this goal.

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I think you’ve made a good point that maybe we don’t want to double down with the couch imagery in the logo too. This could be a good place to show some of the other values. There have been some other ideas so far like people linking hands, or visual representations of communities

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sofars.org from sofa and so far.

culturesurfing.org

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Well, I haven’t seen any encouragement from anywhere within the team to get behind another name. It seems to me that when someone comes along and expresses concern for the name or offers suggestions, they are basically told “well, we’re just going to stick with Couchers for now.” There has never been alternatives, as far as I know.

Saying that you’d consider changing the name if everyone can get behind it isn’t really fair, since there’s no way we could ever come to a unanimous agreement. But I do think it’s worth having a stronger push for name ideas and discussion about it. And I absolutely think we should be spending energy on it, since the name itself has already turned people away (I’m speaking anecdotally here, just feedback I’ve received from people and stuff I’ve read online about us).

I just think we can do much better for marketing and out of respect for the French meaning of coucher, and it’s a bit sad to see pushback from the top every time, which imo is overshadowing the people who might prefer a different name but since there’s nothing to rally behind, everyone who might want a different name is kinda scattered.

I initially thought Couchers was uncreative and does a disservice to what we are building - something much broader than of or having to do with couches. On top of that, there are many people (and women in particular) who have negative feelings about couch-surfing or “Couchsurfing” and associate the terms with freeloaders, creeps, and at worst, sexual predators.

The “reclaiming” idea means well and is ideal, but my feeling is that it may not work to diversify our userbase. In fact, it could have the opposite effect of attracting the same people who misused CS to begin with.

All that said, people will get probably get used to/accept any name at all, eventually. Even I did, but mainly because I didn’t see anyone else as opposed to it as I was. Perhaps I am still unique in that aspect :stuck_out_tongue:

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We could be

kaʊtʃʌs

That would avoid the francophone kʊʃ ɜ:ʳ, claims kaʊtʃ-surfing while being ridiculous enough to keep away creeps, only evokes the mental image of a kaʊtʃ, which seems quite different than a couch - and looks creatively international!

I’ve never been much into marketing though :sweat_smile:

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I’ll get you for this, @Nolo!! :smiley:

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I know I’m guilty… well, we could bann the name for some time and force everyone to be creative and come up with a different name? :ghost:

In any case, I just banned ‘kaʊtʃʌs’ from the forum. It’s a bad bad name :upside_down_face:

allovertheworld.org
There are so many domains still available.

travel4us.org surftheglobe.org friendsinallplaces‎.org culturemix.org bubblesurf.org
I cannot stop! :laughing:

I do not think we should all vote for it. A few wise humen [sic] should be dedicated.

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It’s not an uncommon opinion at all, but in the hospex world that would put you more in the Bewelcome philosophy. I remember one of the founders of BW saying that BW and hospex is so much more than the couch. Needless to say, more than 10 years after, BW still has no activity.
Countless waves of refuges have fled CS to BW, but none has sticked around. Those who start something new are necessarily the most opinionated and principled, but you also need the casuals to create a diverse community.

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Itsi, you are saying that you haven’t been able to find agreement about any name besides Couchers; but it seems like there is also a lack of agreement around “Couchers” as a name, so what exactly makes that the default option?

I get the idea of reclaiming “couchsurfing” as a term, and you actually convinced me that it’s not too bad that the names are similar. However, people in this thread have brought up extremely valid problems about the name Couchers. Also, just looking at this thread, some good name ideas have been thrown around that didn’t get the chance to be “backed up” since all we can do here is like posts and reply to them. Why not ask community members to submit names (even in a Google form!) and have the leaders of the group decide on them with an open mind? It doesn’t even have to take more than a week, so I don’t see how the urgency of platform release is affected.

Referring to the “failure” of BWelcome and other platforms as a defense of the name “Couchers” seems to suggest that the only reason these platforms haven’t had people stick around is that their name wasn’t similar enough. I don’t think that’s true! This platform here has a lot of unique elements that differentiate it from CS and enhance the community aspect, so, if it succeeds, it will not be because of the name. (Also, unlike BWelcome, this platform here will benefit from the timing of its release).

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Here are some I thought of months ago:

Socialhost.com $299
hostnvisit.com / hostandvisit.com
visitnhost.com / visitandhost.com
travelgrid.com $5300
coast2host.com $8.99
goodwillhosting.com $8.99
goodwillhost.com $8.99
couchcruise.com $8.99 Someone bought this one this year :frowning:
couchexchange.com $775
Couchtravel.com $3250
Sofasurfer.com $5335
Couchcrash.org Free (I own this one and the .com variant and would gladly donate them!)

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Preparing ahead of time without even being forced… don’t be such a nerd Jesse :sweat_smile:

I guess it’s pretty evident, but I’ll say it nevertheless:
I :heart: the name. I think it’s genius! :tada:

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Couchexchange is good but it raised its price. Maybe sending traffic their way raises the price automatically

edit:
The problem with that one, you can’t make a good noun out of it: couchexchange - > couchexchangers : not really

couchsurfing -> couchsurfers, that was just too perfect

couchers is OK in that sense

I think anything with ‘host’ in it scares people away because of the idea of having to let strangers in your home.
Anything reminding to travel does not cover what we are standing for. (Don’t forget the community part.)
Names too much linked to a particular culture should also be avoided.

I think we should find a name with ‘surfing’ in it as that has positive annotations and the relation with ‘couchsurfing’ is easily made.

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