Is it realistic for us to be competing with Couchsurf within a year?
If you go to your dashboard, the number of members in “Global Community” gives you the total number of members. We also send updates of numbers out in the fortnightly emails. Currently we’re at 8750 members.
Of course, for us to be successful we need to get a critical mass of users. While there’s a lot of work going on on the development side and still a way to go, the platform is definitely now usable and ready to take on more members. If there are two main goals for 2022, it’s getting beta versions of the mobile apps ready and greatly increasing our userbase.
For the time being, our focus needs to be mostly on getting our name out there. There are so many people that have turned away from CS due to the paywall or other actions they’ve taken in the past, so they’d be extremely receptive to what we’re doing.
We’re going to be doing a lot in terms of marketing, we’ve recently launched some social media pages and from here we’re going to be focussing on that along with our content and PR more generally. We get huge increase in signups whenever we’re included in articles (e.g. Andrew Fedorov’s excellent Paradise lost: The rise and ruin of Couchsurfing.com) so getting in more will be a priority.
Along with that we want to be growing the number of active local communities we have and bringing on more community builders who are passionate about the Couchers mission. Growing these communities is critical for us. Having active, community-oriented people as our first and core userbase allows them to set and maintain the tone for the culture of the community going forward (e.g. being non-transactional, no dating, emphasising human/cultural experiences rather than a free stay). Focussing here will allow us to take on many more users without compromising that culture.
It will take us a while to become the dominant platform. Likely a few years. But within a year, yes we want to be in a state where we’re healthily competing and well recognized.
8000 globally is extremely small. Couchsurf has thousands in California alone. Is there a paid position for marketing?
No we don’t have any paid positions.
Yes we’re far off CS scale but we’ll get there!
Couchsurfing has also been around a hell of a lot longer, like early internet. There wasn’t an Airbnb and a thousand clones to both discourage people from considering real alternative travel and suggest to them that they should be making money off of other travelers.
If you want to help it grow, use it, tell your friends about it, and host if you don’t already!
I just start using this after 2 years, yes, I check the anniversary mail and today is Saturday.
Good job, love from the Taiwanese！
(Great you have the language to choose)