Couchsurfing sobered up only to realize it was the last drunk backpacker left at the party and the rest of its friends had gone home to make money and travel in a more sophisticated fashion. Can it keep true to its beliefs to grow up without giving in?
The Airbnb precursor angered many long-term users when it turned for-profit and did a massive overhaul of its website. Now it's figuring out if millions of users can all agree what sharing looks like when there's big money at stake.
Couchsurfing offers travelers somethingnone of its competitors can match: free housing abroad. The organization will have to be careful not to ostracize loyal users on its journey for a fresh look.
It’s a question that causes friction in social travel sites all the way to up to the Peace Corps, but organizations’ past actions suggest that it is up to individuals’ discernment to stay out of harm’s way.
If Airbnb- and CouchSurfing-type accommodations cause concern about their legalities and risks, these issues are not dissuading important investors.
Couchsufing, now that it has taken on new funding & gone through its management changes, wants to become more reliable on booking, beyond its rabid-community-of-travelers approach.