couchsurfing goes for profit - go go bewelcome!

couchsurfing goes for profit - go go bewelcome!

Couch$urfing is now finally a for profit corporation. I'm not going to dwell too much on this (if you are interested in dwelling check and join the inside rebellion). Here are a couple of positive steps for direct action:

  1. create a profile at BeWelcome
  2. change your CS profile pic to e.g. the picture of this post
  3. change your C$ mission into something funny
  4. set your couch availability to YES but tell people to sign up at BW and contact you there (add a link to your profile)
  5. translate the wikipedia article into another language (and make sure the articles about couchsurfing and hospitality club (fyi: HC = still for profit dictatorshop) link to the BeWelcome article)
  6. create a local city group on BeWelcome for your city
  7. if you have been active in your local C$ community: post in your local group about BeWelcome

In the past week BW has seen almost 1000 new signups and many people with dormant profiles have been reactivated, there are tons of discussions and you are very welcome to join those with your ideas, critique or just to say hi!


atopia's picture

no availability for me?!

Interesting... I haven't really checked before, but at least after changing the profile and couch pictures to the Corpsurfing and Sold motives respectively, I can't change my couch status (which is "No" currently). There is just no settings at Couch / CouchStatus and it also does not show up in the overview.

evaaa's picture

hey, i have also changed my

hey, i have also changed my profile pic in the same way but i can change my couch status. just to let you know.

robino's picture


C$ is not know for censoring yet (although there have been some cases already). Casey knows it would be the stupiest thing ever, as he is very aware it is one of the reasons Veit Club died.

SO you're sure there is no option at ? Can you send me a screenshot. Might be cool for open couchsurfing.

By the way, what do you think? Is it technically possible for capitalism to commodify a gift-economy as such? I am wondering, aren't the contradictions beyond its reach?

Zuphit's picture

not necessarily bad

I actually think it could work.
Although the investors probably don't care much for the social benefit of the site, as long as it attracts users who spend enough time there they'll keep pampering it... the more so as it becomes more mainstream, it'd be as good advertising space as any.
They know where you're logged in from and when/where you're headed to, so I don't expect it to take long before very specific flight/rail/etc ads would pop around.
Hell, I'm actually pretty sure lots of the mainstream users could actually like something like that.

Anyway, it can be a good thing. People have been complaining for years now about how mainstream couchsurfing has gotten. This is probably the kick that would push the original "core" to other platforms (ie bewelcome), while leaving the others behind.

robino's picture

i was actually thinking about

i was actually thinking about it from a different angle. I mean, me as a host I am adding value to Couchsurfing every day. I mean, how much do you think the casa-experience would be in terms of value for the Couchsurfing system (if we would propagate it through that network...)?

And if that would be the added value why would I then keep on doing it for free, if I see they are making money out of the experience I give to other people?

They cannot monopolize that sort of experience either, and as soon as you bring money in, it becomes a different ball-game. Hence I wonder if the two are in fact compatible and if we have reached a limit for the system to commodify this type of experiences?

Zuphit's picture

Okay, I got your point.

Okay, I got your point.
Then I suppose it depends on how they define themselves.
If they define themselves as service providers, then everything you mentioned applies.
If they suddenly decide to charge membership fees / demanding you to buy couch requests / anything like that - they're turning the surf/host exchange into commodity, definitely ripping off your value.
(can't imagine they'll survive if they go there)

On the other hand, if they define themselves as no more than the mediator (possibly expending to some sort of travel portal?), everything in my last post applies. The internet is packed with those.
In this case your hosting is no different than a video you make and upload to youtube, or any of the sites that work by that model.

BTW, trademarking the word couchsurfing is definitely gross monopolizing imo. Although somehow Steve Jobs managed to do it to a fruit, so I guess everything goes.

crculver's picture

This is probably the kick

This is probably the kick that would push the original "core" to other platforms (ie bewelcome), while leaving the others behind.

Not only are "core" members leaving to BW, but tonnes of fairly recent CS signups who are quite mainstream people are moving to BW too to protest the corporate transition. I gave up on BW over a year ago after I was convinced that it could not establish any lasting values of freeganism, wanderlust, hitchhiking, etc. The fact that these last weeks a few hundred people who are at best ambivalent towards such lifestyles (and at worst hostile) have already signed up for BW, just confirms my suspicions that it will end up as mainstream as Couchsurfing.

At the European Rainbow Gathering last month, my discussions with people about hospex often led to the claim that it's better for nomadic hospex to stay fairly unorganized, proceeding through word of mouth and not a dedicated site. BW's openness and accessibility isn't an advantage, but a liability.

Zuphit's picture

it all boils down to

It all boils down to the people you meet.
Usually if you read profiles carefully you can filter out those who'd be hostile towards your lifestyle (or they might filter you), and when using search filters it's usually fairly easy to find like-minded people.

But I have to admit that some of the best experiences I've had with CS were with those half random, completely different than me people (hardcore Mormons for instance). So I actually think it's a good thing to have a big pool containing all sorts of people, it can get a bit boring otherwise.

Anyway, I find it hard to believe that super capitalists would emigrate from CS to BW because it's now a corp.

Jass's picture

Unorganised is great but it's

Unorganised is great but it's troublesome to have a contact in every part of the world when on the road, particularly in winter. However, twenty years ago it was this so why not now?

robino's picture

there is always elements of

there is always elements of unorganisation and organising. the question is how much do you want to centralize and or distribute certain information. some like it like this, others like that.

However you cant stop others from doing it differently that you.

And there is something really cool and not yet much discovered part about bewelcome and further distributed hospitality networks (if we keep on working on it): we can change it in whatever way you feel like, in whatever way it would work for you. Affiliate with people and networks and so on, in the format you want to have it.

You can even mix offline with online.

robino's picture

C$ Goal: Stock-Market!

So much news these past two weeks....

Couchsurfing to go on the stock exchange, says the new president/ CEO