“We went out for drinks the first night,” he says, “and I hit on her. She, was like ‘No, no, no—I don’t want to make it awkward.’ I was like well, whatever, so we kept on drinking, dancing, and having fun.” Riccardo later learned he’d made a critical error.
Experienced couchsurfing casanovas know to hold off on making a move until later.
His photos show the good-humored Latin American native — dark, handsome, and fit — in exotic destinations around the world, from Cairo to Capri.
Nowhere does the profile state explicitly that if you are an attractive female traveler, you might skip the couch entirely and wind up in Riccardo’s bed, but it’s a good possibility.
Although the company has initiated a doubling down on mobile, the experience of users like Riccardo might suggest another path to profitability. The almost decade-old Couchsurfing, which is available in 100,000 cities across the globe, is becoming the go-to hookup app for a certain class of young world travelers.
Bloggers like Maverick Traveler will help you spot the “8 Signs of a Slutty Couch Surfer Girl” by decoding her profile, and female-centric advice site You Queen has even offered tips on “How to Use Couch Surfing as a Dating Site and Get Away with It.” Meanwhile, a site called Couch Bangs.com, which declares that “Couchsurfing isn’t just for Couchsurfing,” offers a forum for proud couch-cuddlers to share their experiences via short posts with titles like “French Girl in Istanbul” and “Brazilian Girl in New York.” Couch Surfing’s Community Guidelines explicitly warn against contacting other members for dating, noting, “we will consider this harassment” — albeit without stipulating what the penalties are for violating this rule.
Today, each of the site’s 7 million members has a unique profile which reads like a personal ad, highlighting interests, locations traveled, details about their accommodations and, most important, references.
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After a controversial transition to a for-profit model in 2011, which brought million in funding in the past two years, growing pains have set in.
In October, layoffs claimed an estimated 40 percent of the staff, and CEO Tony Espinoza announced his departure — giving an opening to competitors like Be Welcome and Hospitality Club.