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“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.His friend later advised him on a more direct strategy.
(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 $22 million in funding in the past two years, growing pains have set in.
But with anything social, there is sometimes a spark. But once there is a connection, there isn’t much holding me back.” For instance, this guy in Wales.
“There was a very strong attraction on both of our parts,” she recalls.
“All of my friends, they love these stories,” Riccardo tells Business Insider over beers in a quiet bar in Midtown Manhattan. I’m like, ‘You know, whatever, we went out, had sex...’ They’re like, ‘No, no, no—tell me when she got there, where you went, did you kiss her, every single detail.’” We had the same questions.
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.
“I’m telling him it was awesome last night, I had sex and everything—but it was empty sex.” We ask if he’ll stop, since it’s become so unfulfilling, he smiles and shakes his head no. As Maverick Traveler, a self-proclaimed nomad who “roams the earth, seduces beautiful women,” and blogs about his adventures, puts it, “I simply do not know of an easier way for a guy to get laid with exotic women in exotic countries. ” The anonymous blogger is also the author of the popular “How to Bang Couch Surfing Girls—The Complete Guide” (which, after he declined to comment for this article, mysteriously disappeared from his website) and “8 Signs of a Slutty Couchsurfing Girl” (which mysteriously didn’t).