Back when I joined Couchsurfing there was less then a million people now its about 5 million and growing rapidly. So since its becoming so popular you know there are lot of people joining for the wrong reasons.
- There are people in it for the free couch, usually pretty easy to spot they fail at updating their profiles, don't usually bother with pictures and write really sloppy request messages. They very rarely use the CS request. And they never read your profile they probably spam every host in the city.
- Guys (or girls) looking for love. I am so wary of guys who say "female only" on their surfer preferance. Or vice versa (though a lot less common I've noticed). How can I stress COUCHSURFING IS NOT A DATING WEBSITE. And living in Darwin where there are so many guys compared to females I end up with a lot of the overflow blokes who have a hard time finding a couch because they lack the nessacary appendage.
-Scammers. Gee there is tons of those out there nowadays. Their profile basically empty with a fake picture saying they are from england and then their last login is Nigeria and their english is horrible!
-Penfriends! People who message you online to chat and be friends and they live about 10,00000 miles away. Generally from India and often have never surfer or hosted before just see the website as a way of stalking people. This is definitely not what couch-surfing is about. Myself personally I only add people I know.
I have not had a bad experiance like many of the other hosts I know. I have had a few neutral experiances but nothing bad. One girl who just sat and watched TV for the whole two days and never engaged in conversation and two girls who seemed to be more interested in the comfort and people waiting on them then my kind of couch. Both seemed to be in surfing for the wrong reasons however their profiles and messages to me didn't betray that. Still they never stole or wasted anything of mine so it definitely wasn't negative.
So how do I pick people?
Everyone always asks me and I don't really have a set way to pick people but there is a few things that will make me pick you over someone else.
-pictures. At least one where I can see your face clearly. A lot of the time I have picked people because they had an awesome artsy photo as their profile picture. Lots of interesting travel shots (with you in them) are a drawing point as well.
-personalised message. Saying my name is a starting point some people don't even do that! But reading my profile a little and commenting on some things you would be interested in is great. Mentioning snakes, awesome, cooking pretty much gets you instantly :) One couple started off with "name loves a good clean!" sure they could have been lying but commenting about cleaning is right at the bottom of my profile and means they must have read most of it!
-timing. Sometimes I have just picked people because they message me at the right time. Very rarely I have room for last minute requests especially since I have a whole family to check with. But one guy messaged me the day before a camping trip and I had one seat left so I accepted him. He turned out to be awesome and stayed with me for two weeks!
-knowing my other surfers. If one of my other surfers you met across the world and they reccomended you contact me, let me know. I have taken many "friends of friends" and always been happy. I had a french couple stay with me who were lovely and they saw me going through my surfers and I was about to deny one guy and they looked at him and realised he was someone they knew from Broome. They informed me he was really nice and that I should host him. So I didnt have the room but said yes and he ended up becoming like my brother and moving in staying for three months!
-having hosted before. No explanation nessacary.
-come to one of the CS meetings/parties I host. I had to decline this one german guy and his friends as I had no room but met him again at a party a whole lot of surfers went to. Discovered he was camping behind macdonalds and as I had the room again later offered him to come back. He and his friends returned and we had an awesome 2 months together!
-FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE Im looking for people passionate about sharing who they are with me. If you have two lines sying "i like walks on the beach" that tells me nothing and I'm less inclined to want to meet you. I don't want to host boring people I want to host passionate, different people from all over the world.
-Be from some obscure country. I've had so many french and germans (all great though) that I really want some variety. Hungary, turkey seriously message me if your from somewhere I've never hosted!!
That being said you could be all of the above and I just dont have the room. I get so many requests a day I can't host you all although I wish I could :)