(Riccardo and other Couchsurfing users quoted in this article asked to be identified by pseudonyms.) On the business front, the crowdsourced hospitality site has been experiencing a rough patch lately.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.At first, Riccardo could not believe it was that simple. “I’m going to sound like such a jerk just telling them.” But he tried it on his next guest and bingo.“We got home just laughing and telling jokes, and I just said it. ’” “My friends say, ‘You’re telling me that line — get in my bed — it works?“I’m always sending him links like, ‘Hey, do you like this chick? ’ Then he always asks to do Facetime because he wants to see them.” “The first time,” he says, leaning over his beer, “I had two girls that stayed … She was in the process of moving to New York and needed a place to stay for four days while she looked for a permanent home.“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.’ I’m like dude, it works.” Riccardo is asked if he feels sleazy.
Not somebody just empty.” In Riccardo’s case, it all starts with a request for approval — from his pal in Miami. “There’s more people coming to New York than Miami, so he’s always like, ‘You bastard! ”1 He got a little closer on his second try, a girl from Slovakia with blonde hair (his weakness) and small, dark, squinty eyes.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.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.“My first Couchsurfing hookup happened when I was staying with my friend in Miami,” Riccardo recalls. Months later Riccardo got a phone call from the same girl, asking if she could stay at his place in New York City. “I never talked to her again,” he admits, adding, “I mean, we’re friends on Facebook.” Couchsurfing was born after a budget-conscious traveler named Casey Fenton sent out a mass request for accommodations in Iceland and received 50 invitations from students with a free spare futon.“He has a studio and was hosting two girls from France.” He slept on an inflatable air mattress with one girl, while his friend shared his bed with the other. Fenton soon realized people all over the world might not mind sharing their extra space gratis while making new friends in the process.
I didn’t know CS was a bangtool,” reads one response. just turned in her two-weeks notice, a final preparation for her upcoming road trip through the Americas along the Rocky/Andes mountains to arrive in Brazil just in time for World Cup 2014. “But I have made out with about 10 different guys.” While she encounters plenty of prospects in Philly — men she works with, men from her martial arts school, men on her community soccer team — she prefers to do her hunting further afield.