Author Topic: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!  (Read 810 times)

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Offline HobbesOnTour

Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« on: November 28, 2020, 11:03:31 am »
Just to let people know that Warmshowers will be charging for their new app come January.
From their latest email:
1.The new app will be available on both Android and iOS and will allow you to choose a monthly fee or a once a year fee ($2.99 USD or $17.99 USD)."

I find this to be a retrograde step. Many hosts on the platform never have the intention of actually using it for accommodation - they simply want to offer it. Now, they'll have to pay for that privilege!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2020, 11:41:22 am »
Just to let people know that Warmshowers will be charging for their new app come January.
From their latest email:
1.The new app will be available on both Android and iOS and will allow you to choose a monthly fee or a once a year fee ($2.99 USD or $17.99 USD)."

I find this to be a retrograde step. Many hosts on the platform never have the intention of actually using it for accommodation - they simply want to offer it. Now, they'll have to pay for that privilege!
I have not paid any attention to warmshowers lately.  We had some nuisance members bouncing from host to host basically just living in town and not touring so I set my status as unavailable.  I never used them as a guest much any way.  I am still a member, but have listed myself as away for a few years and have no plans of using them as a guest.  I wonder if it is only the phone app they will be charging for, and if so whether the services will still be available via a web browser without using the app.

I have considered just deleting my account in the past and may eventually do so.

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2020, 12:47:26 pm »
My understanding is that a membership charge was introduced earlier this year applied to new and recently new members.
I thought that was a retrograde step, but the app charge will apply to everyone. I suppose existing longer term members could still use the web, but probably impractical for many and I wouldn't be surprised if that loophole was closed soon.

I was a host for years and have used it for accommodation just once.
It can be a useful tool for getting local info and I have tried that several times.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of inactive accounts.

 

Offline jamawani

Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2020, 04:13:20 pm »
I dropped Wamshowers when there was a cyclist who had pled guilty to serious sexual assault charges.
He had been pledge director at a frat and the pledges were brutalized.
When I brought this to the attention of WS, the owner actually responded by saying, "It's not our job."
Although it may not be their job to background check everyone -
When something this serious is brought to their attention - when there are actual court records -
Then I think that is is their job.

I believe they represent the worst of internet ethics.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2020, 04:45:40 pm »
I have basically been inactive and just not bothered to delete my account.  I think the time has come to do so.  It never really worked for me as a guest.  We did have some positive experiences hosting until we moved to Tallahassee.  I thought it would be great hosting here since we are right on the ST and have plenty of space, but alas it didn't work out well.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2020, 07:25:27 pm »
Man, no love for Warmshowers around these parts.

I've been a member for ten years, and have used the service as both a host and guest. Most of the experiences I've had were good. Yes, there were a few "meh" ones and one or two sub-par ones. This is going to happen with the nature of this service. Overall, Warmshowers has been good to me and I've met some cool people through it.

As for the charge: I re-read the announcement they sent this month. My interpretation is that the mobile app will have a fee to use, however, you could still use the web (desktop) version for free. I'm guessing they need to charge a little for the app because it costs money to develop and maintain. They previously had a mobile app, but that doesn't work anymore. Yes, free would be better, but unless they get lots from donations or someone with deep pockets, charging for the app is a necessary evil. Of course, it would be better to contact Warmshowers for clarification about fees rather than complain here.

I'll keep on using Warmshowers (well, when COVID is done). It may not work for others, but that's okay.


Offline hikerjer

Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2020, 09:13:45 pm »
I've been a member for years and have hosted a numberof times. It's always been a good experience. Never had much luck as a guest. I think it's a valuable service if run right and $3.00 a month doesn't seem bad if you can use it on a monthly basis.  I'll keep it on the radar for furture tours and see how it plays out.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 07:23:04 pm by hikerjer »

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2020, 01:56:22 am »
Heard of it. Never tried to use it. It sounds like a good concept.

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2020, 09:51:57 am »
That's shocking about the sexual assault charge! Was that person a host or a tourist? Is there anymore info?

To clarify, a charge was introduced earlier this year for all new members (and some newish ones) across all platforms.
As it stands, as a long standing member, I could, I suppose, use the web as opposed to the app. However, on tour, using a phone, that is unlikely.

I think the principle of charging is just wrong in a "goodwill" inspired community.
I'd have no problem paying - it's the demand to pay I have a problem with. There are lots of free apps out there. I'd have thought a focused app for bike tourers would offer an attractive platform for advertisers. Go ad free and support the community? Sign me up!

In fact, it doesn't "feel" like a community.
When there were app issues previously and people tried to use the Facebook page to communicate that was shut down.

Again, to emphasise this point: Should someone wish to open their doors as a host only, they now have to pay for that privilege. I cannot see how that can be justified.
 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2020, 10:47:28 am »
As it stands, as a long standing member, I could, I suppose, use the web as opposed to the app. However, on tour, using a phone, that is unlikely.
Not sure I understand why.  Using a web browser on the phone works fine IME.  That said I can see other reasons why you'd choose to not bother.  I know that I bailed on warmshowers myself.

Quote
I think the principle of charging is just wrong in a "goodwill" inspired community.
I'd have no problem paying - it's the demand to pay I have a problem with. There are lots of free apps out there. I'd have thought a focused app for bike tourers would offer an attractive platform for advertisers. Go ad free and support the community? Sign me up!
Yep.

Quote
In fact, it doesn't "feel" like a community.
When there were app issues previously and people tried to use the Facebook page to communicate that was shut down.

Again, to emphasise this point: Should someone wish to open their doors as a host only, they now have to pay for that privilege. I cannot see how that can be justified.
My feelings as well and why I deleted my account.  Additionally it seemed to me as if the guests started to be freeloaders who weren't even on bike tours, but just bouncing around from host to host and overstaying their welcome.  To be fair I had only one of those before I shut down, but I spoke to others here who had the same experience.  I am not positive how much of the change is the location and how much it reflected a change in how things were going with WS but the change came with our move from MD to Tallahassee (a matter of a few hundred yards from the ST).

I never found the service all that useful as a guest largely because I tend to not know where I will stop until I am there.  I found that hosts largely wanted some notice and that is reasonable.  It just didn't fit my needs.  The only time I really know when/where I will be is arrival at the start and that is because of a ticket for a flight, but typically I ride right out of the airport unless it is a late flight (I did stay with someone in a case like that twice, but not via warm showers).  Also when I did try using the service I tended to mail a bunch of hosts ahead of time.  The majority never got back to me.  Of the remainder I felt like I let the majority if not all of them down because I wound up not staying with them.

About the only time I really found them useful was for the rare case where I had some logistical need upon arrival at the start of a tour, like a place to leave my soft case.  That would be an exception for me since my tours are mostly one way and riding right out of the airport, so I use a cardboard box.

Offline jamawani

Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2020, 01:38:39 pm »
The person in question wasn't "charged" he pled guilty to reduced charges.
It was never a question of whether or not this person had a serious record.
He was just out of college riding across country looking for places to stay.
All of the folks who had hosted him said he was great - handsome, charming, etc.
But I did not want to consider hosting anyone who had brutalized young students.

This is precisely the kind of thing that makes online sites like Warmshowers a potential major risk.
One would think that Warmshowers would want to prevent this - but then, one would be wrong.

The fraternity in question, Sigma Chi at the University of Nebraska, was suspended for 4 years.
For "hazing" even though the pledges were sexually assualted by a paid sex worker.
Sorry, but in my book that is the definition of rape.

https://journalstar.com/news/local/unl-suspends-sigma-chi-fraternity-following-hazing-allegations/article_22ca2490-94f6-5ecb-8e17-f157593eeaa1.html

http://www.dailynebraskan.com/news/unl-agrees-to-pay-to-alleged-sigma-chi-fraternity-hazing/article_497c8977-4e01-5a93-b250-62262539fb13.html

BTW - Sigma Chi is back in full swing at NU - it's all old news. Truly disgusting.
And Warmshowers is equally disgusting for basicaly saying "Predator, schmedator."

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2020, 03:15:10 pm »
From what I have experienced so far, my impression is that long distance cyclists are a good bunch of people. But, as the Bible points out so effectively, even the garden of Eden had a snake in it. Why is it so often the case that one person messes things up for everybody else? I am considering doing the ST this winter. I was thinking about using warm showers occasionally, but now I am not so sure. I do not need them and never have. I am a member, but have so far had no experiences. I would readily allow a bicycle tourist to rest here. I have bike tools. A bike shop is close by. Restaurants and food stores are all over But then again, there is that slight element of risk. As for myself, I am not worried about it.

I have not been open to guests lately. An old buddy of mine was in the hospital. He is applying for disability compensation. He worked all his life. He had an operation and was taking prescription meds and antibiotics to protect him from post operation infections. He got out of the hospital in pain with no place to go. I invited him here. I bought him plenty of food and gave him a private bedroom. That lasted 76 days. I took him back to Stuart three days ago. He should be fine.

I have not had any warm shower people contacting me and that may be why, because I have been closed to accepting a guest.

Here is a suggestion. If you are taken in as a guest, give your host $3.00. And I agree 100 % that charging anyone $3.00 a month for extending courtesy and hospitality gratis to a bicycle tourist is  crazy. I noticed WS were looking for donations to keep their operation afloat. Maybe people did not donate. I did not donate. There may be costs involved in keeping that organization going. If they cannot get enough in donations, they have to charge nominal fees.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2020, 02:36:35 pm »
While I definitely prefer things like Warmshowers to be totally free, I can understand why they may need to charge. There's definitely money needed to maintain the website, database, app, etc. They take donations, but it's probably not enough.

The positive angle I can see for charging a fee for WS is people will probably value it more. Having a cost in this capitalistic society, even if it's a small one, will mean that people won't treat it as casually. It could cut down on the mooch factor described above. And yes, there's even a positive in charging hosts. There are definitely people who may have good intentions when they sign up to host, then go on to ignore requests. It makes a network less valuable when there are all these potential hosts that are unresponsive. It is good that WS shows a host's response rate in their profile. But it may cut down more of the noise when hosts have to pay a small fee per month to be listed.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2020, 10:34:44 pm »
I just got an email from Warmshowers about the app and such. The pertinent info:

Quote
1. You will continue to have access to your user account through the website for free. The app is an optional upgrade if you prefer the ease of using an app. All current access remains the same for you through the main website. The app is not required and instead is an enhanced experience.

2. The app fee is USD 2.99 per month or USD 17.99 per year. This allows us to provide regular maintenance, bug fixes, and support to ensure you continue to have the best experience possible when using our technology.

The main website will continue to be available to you for all your touring and hosting needs if you do NOT wish to use the app.

Offline LouMelini

Re: Warmshowers now charging.....everyone!
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2020, 01:07:47 pm »
From 2012 to 2015, I was on the Board of Directors of Warmshowers.
 Regarding the sexual predator comment- during my time, anyone that was suspected of any criminal behavior had their profile eliminated on the website. There was an active "Trust and Safety" committee that primarily looked at any negative feedback reported by a guest or host, in addition to any other complaints that would potentially involve the trust and safety of Warmshowers. The comment "it's not our job" is, to say the least, is inexplicable, should not have happened. One post to this forum stated that the person had positive feedback but that person would have had their profile taken down simply due to potential risk.  I assume this incident occurred after my time as I am not familiar with the situation. I do not have any knowledge of how problems such as the report of a sexual predator is handled since I left the board. Given the mission of Warmshowers, it is, in my opinion, imperative that trust and safety of hosts and guests be maintained. I could go on regarding the other comments, perhaps another time.

« Last Edit: December 14, 2020, 01:58:48 pm by LouMelini »