Are bots being used to beat the 5 appl rule?

@EJPullen66 no you don’t have to give a reason .
It’s nice to include a short friendly message .

However if there is a standout reason from their application why you didn’t choose them you could mention it so that they don’t apply again.


No, you don’t have to. However, I am sure it would be greatly appreciated if you did, as it would be a short personal message countering THS’s generic decline


Are HomeOwners aware that they have power to DECLINE therefore allowing others. I don’t think so.
In fact THS should be asking HomeOwners to look at fully completing their profile. So often i see under Amenities : wifi … and that’s about it!


Hello @Berna I thought sharing this thread might help as it shows the pop-ups owners get on their listing explaining the next steps when their listing reaches the 5 limit. They also get an email prompt about choosing their sitter. Withdrawn application back on the market? - #5 by RadarInc

I hope that helps :slight_smile:

Yes i understand that. But, do they understand they can decline applications that don’t meet their requirements.

Hello @Berna Happy to help clarify further :slight_smile:

Yes, owners get directions on declining applications to receive more. If you check out the screenshots on the thread above (please see the link I included in my previous comment) it shows the messages which say ‘If these sitters aren’t quite right for you, you can reopen your dates by declining those who do not match your requirements and then reopen the applications’

There is also another pop-up which helps them manage their applications. I hope that helps!

HOs know they can reject applications, however due to the rule it can be a bit of a gamble so not all HOs are willing to take the risk.

Pre this rule an HO would receive say 8 applications, including 2 really great candidates.

With the new rule, the HO receives 5 applications and the application window temporarily closes. As people may have rushed in due to the rule, the HO may find themselves with 5 Ok-ish applicants but not someone they really prefer as sitter.

Now 1) who will you decline to create more space? and 2) if you do decline them, will you get better candidates or not with the say 2 spots that have now opened up? Because if you don’t, you can’t really ask back the ones who you already declined. They wouldn’t appreciate being treated as ‘2nd choice’ and may well have moved on.

So that’s the gamble the HO has to take: if I have Ok-ish but not great candidates amongst the first 5, should I keep them in the pool just in case and choose one of them? Or should I decline them, not knowing whether I get better applicants and in the worst case even end up without a suitable sitter? That’s one of the reasons HOs decide to stick to the 5 that have applied, as it can be risky to decline

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Yep. This is exactly what THS is counting on.
They make it sound like it’s easy to just decline sitters.
For many people it’s hard to say no and reject people, as we ourselves know the pain of being rejected at times.
So it unlikely you will feel comfortable going back and asking someone you declined if they will sit.
I think it’s a cruel situation that THS has put on members.


Hello everyone,

I am just jumping on here as there are a lot of general 5 pausing discussions happening here and wanted to let you know in case you have not seen it that there is a new discussion post around that topic Five Applications Pausing Discussion Post feel free to head over there to check out the discussion.

In regards to bots being used to apply for sits, I wanted to update you all that this was shared with the Product team and as part of the new inbox work they will be looking at application speed which will help look into this, amongst other things they are already checking. That’s all I know for now but any more updates I will let you know.


Cat sitting near major cities. We have a modest house in Brisbane, but only one very low maintenance cat. On this, and other sites we are swamped with applications for every sit. Many sits near me are in fancy suburbs with pools and on the face of it, much more attractive. But one or more dogs is much more work!

I too have been frustrated by seeing a posting come up that would be perfect for us, but in minutes, it’s “reviewing applicants”! Have NO doubt that some sitters are using BOTs and some are simply “applying” by clicking, then reading it later to decide if they really want it.
Wonder why THS hasn’t added
(1) a captcha (a program that protects websites against bots) to applications? This is so standard on so many functions now. A human can see a field they must respond to before continuing. A bot cannot do that automatically.
(2) minimum number of characters (100?) for an application?
Can’t imagine a meaningful application of less than 100 words.
Two steps could stop the “ghost” or “bot” applications!


Think of selecting sitters like dating. No one is a fit for everyone!
I don’t feel badly if someone doesn’t choose us: although yes, think most would appreciate the courtesy of a note as to why.
There are many reasons for not choosing a sitter that shouldn’t be badly received - here are just a few off the top of my head!
(1) Looking for someone who is already in our area/country
(2) Looking for a single person (or a couple as is appropriate!)
(3) Looking for someone who has more experience doing sits
(4) Looking for someone with experience with (cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, chickens - whatever is appropriate)
(5) Unfortunately we’d already agreed with another sitter before seeing your application…
In short, your reason doesn’t have to be long but a short note is a good idea.
Who knows, one of the sitters you don’t use now might be perfect some other time!
Best of luck with finding great sitters!