Conclusion Of Pausing Application Test - Updated Post

You can add this to the giant thread about the 5 applicant limit…

My feedback about the new changes are this:

  • homeowners are more frequently telling us bad stories about previous sitters
  • owners feel pressured to choose “in order of applications” so they are not rude.
  • as a sitter we feel pressured to apply ASAP even though we are not sure the sit is right, just so we don’t have regrets later

Conversation with a recent owner. “I don’t know what to do, you sound great but there was someone else who applied first!” We encouraged her to choose based on her comfort level, and she felt very relieved to hear this.
Housesitting should not a fast decision.

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I agree. I find it utterly infuriating. There are various locations I’m quite keen to sit in but often, by the time I become aware of them, they seem to be rapidly closing in on 5 applications or already at the reviewing stage. I’m really not a fan of this recent change and much preferred the previous system.

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I think the biggest difficulty now is to be able to apply for the sit. Because of the 5 applicant limit, the listings are disappearing very fast, a matter of minutes. But once applied, you will compete initially with only 4 applicants. You having good reviews, yes your chances will increase for sure.

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Well said Chatsetchiens. You think the situation in London is bad, I’m trying to secure a sit in SE Asia and it’s pretty much impossible. I am in a different time zone, so by the time I wake up in the morning the one or two sits posted the previous evening have already been shut down by the new 5 application rule. No matter what kind of spin the admin team tries to put on this rule, there is no doubt it has ruined this THS site for most users. Make changes by all means, but the changes should improve the site, not render it practically unusable.

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This “5” issue is devastating. I’m seriously thinking that I may have to give up the nomadic petsitting lifestyle I’ve been living for the past 3 years because of it, at least give up using this particular site and just hope that all the owners shift over to another site.

I’m lucky to have a few regular sits, but when I need to find a new one in London, it’s nearly impossible now. I didn’t understand what was happening at first and it was an owner who explained what was going on - they were also angry about it as they hadn’t realised about the change, had gotten 5 applications that they didn’t like and then - just nothing. The whole time it was “Reviewing applications” from the sitters side but they hadn’t been notified and were running out of time before their trip.

Several of my ‘clients’ in London have told me that they get a high proportion of applications that they simply wouldn’t consider - people obviously looking for a party place or mere hotel alternative. So by limiting it to 5 they don’t get to the chance to see as many options as they’d like, in order to be able to make a more informed choice.

If this site wasn’t so expensive I might be more inclined to stick it out, but the appeal of that other UK-only site which is much cheaper and owners don’t even have to pay to post is starting to look much more appealing. I’ve always used it in parallel with TH but this site is now sadly becoming unviable due to this terrible policy. I can’t understand who benefits from it?

TH please make a sensible business decision and repair this broken new system!

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Absolutely agree this is the result of the new extreme ‘5 applicants at a time’ limitation.
The back-and-forth between HO and sitters usually takes several days. If a sitter only applies to one, they will miss out on other opportunities since other well suited sits will probably be closed.
IMHO limiting applications to a dozen or 15 would have been more useful to everyone.
Owners would feel more confident having a broader range of applicants to consider, but not overwhelmed. Sitters wouldn’t feel they need to apply immediately to several or risk being shut out.
Having been a HO looking at applicants we would get two dozen in a day and shut it down feeling overwhelmed. But going through those two dozen, quickly could eliminate a third of them as not suited. Another third would be unresponsive. So we’d end up with about 8 “real” candidates.
In the past as sitters we were often late applicants (old system), perhaps 10th or 12th yet chosen because we have a great record.
Now HO often will never know we’re available.

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I appreciate this will be moved to the now closed thread, but have no way of asking this question.

@Ben-ProductManager I have twice asked if the 5 then pause feature is going to be reviewed, or if the overwhelming negative feedback is a cause for concern to the owners, sadly I have not yet received a reply.

I accept that new features have to be tried and that nothing stays the same in the business world, but not all changes are for the better, the 5 and pause being one of them. I sincerely hope that the views and dissatisfaction of the members are going to be listened to, and perhaps, the feature might be changed, not necessarily back to how it was, but tweaked in accordance with what the members are asking for.

Mods - I respect this is a long thread and that you all have put in a lot of time into managing it, but my two previous posts have not been responded to.

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@Daisy999 …Response I got when I messaged the help desk. THS still stands by it being positive.

'I am sorry to hear about your frustration with the recent update regarding pausing applications. To be transparent with you we have seen some very positive results following this test, and as such, have made the decision to implement the five application limit across the platform - with some key improvements to be made.

To provide you with some context, previously, there were a couple of challenges: a small number of sitters taking a large majority of sits, and a small number of sits taking a large number of applications. As our community grows, it’s important that the platform works for all of our members - existing and new.

This new process ensures a greater and more even distribution of sits and applications across the platform, which is a fair and positive change for our members. Ensuring sitter and pet parent success is also key in acquiring new pet parent and sitter members, which in turn creates more sit opportunities and sitters, benefitting all of our members.’

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Also , when they close the thread they say it’s because it is annoying some forum members and they have had requests to close it. I don’t really understand this. There are topics on the feed that don’t interest me so I simply don’t read them. It’s also mentioned that the tread is too negative. But I find the issue negative and I’m interested in how sitters and HOs are managing.

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Hello @Daisy999

We concluded the pausing test back in September and this conclusion has not changed.

  • Overall, there are more sits happening than ever before
  • New member success is higher than before the test.
  • A higher percentage of Pet parents are getting more applications
  • Pet parents are now more responsive and confirming their sitters faster than ever before
  • Sitters are also receiving quicker responses to their applications

Since the conclusion, we continue to see unprecedented levels of Sits being confirmed for both Pet Parents and Sitters.

The voice you are not hearing in this thread are Pet parents who were not getting any applications and are now getting applicants and confirming sitters. Sitters who were applying to oversubscribed Sits and now have gone on to be successful sitters.

I can’t stress more that we continue to evaluate the user experience and continue to collate feedback from members.

Many Thanks, Ben

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at the cost of drastically reduced sits to apply for … is it worth it??? Nah, I´d rather wait for the reply than for ads.

Edit: even the lack of replies didn´t matter to me as there were plenty of other ads to apply for. Today, I cannot see much difference in response time, however, there is a day and night difference in number of ads

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I agree! It might not go back to what it was, but maybe accept a little more that 5? Maybe 10? 15, 20? See how that goes and perhaps meet us half way? That would show THS is taking into consideration user feedback seriously and willing to listen to its customers.

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The 5 application cutoff move has completely changed the THS application process, and for the worst, let’s be frank. It might be great for THS yearly revenue and budgeting forecasts, to have more new members, but it’s detrimental to the quality of the platform.
It’s also completely ridiculous for sitters that have worked hard to build a strong profile all throughout the years to start withdrawing from sits for the sake of a “better sit”. And so we are clear, we all started somewhere, and yes it was challenging to get our first one, but here we are today, with multiple reviews that confirm we are trustworthy, so everyone can get there.
So many HO that were on the platform for a long time have complained, and same for pet sitters. We have missed on so many sits since last year, simply because we were asleep while a sit was posted. We absolutely despise that change, and THS will not take older members opinions into consideration, wanting more members to subscribe and pay a monthly fee. That has a direct result on the potential quality of new sitters.
That said: as much as we need now to rush our application in order to “get in” before the deadline, I simply cannot believe trusted sitters that have years of experience and built a solid reputation would start applying and then withdrawing after having committed, because of a better opportunity. I’m sorry, but we spent years building our reputation, and it’s certainly not because of this 5 application change that we will start abandoning home owners. Let’s not forget that between the moment we send our application, get in touch with the HO, organize a video call, chat, then confirm, there is enough time to withdraw an application, before the last committing and final step of confirming on both side in the system, occurs.
So maybe THS needs to start implementing a rating system, when sitter and or home owner get rated by the amount of cancellations, and other related behaviours, that are detrimental to THS, the way airbnb will notify in the reviews that this listing has been cancelled 5 days prior to the start (for example).
That might make new comers that aren’t so familiar with commitments and THS’ terms and conditions, think twice before letting a HO down, and taking another’s sitter’s space. Obviously emergencies exist, but let’s be honest, too many HO have complained of it to be a series of emergencies only. We understand that travelling has changed a lot in the past couple years, and It certainly is a mix, but it’s starting to sound a lot like sitters are just shopping around and picking better opportunities even after having confirmed a sit and that’s simply not ok, especially when it comes to pets sitting, not just home sitting.

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Hi @ExploreDreamDiscover thank you for sharing some of the points of why we have closed the Pausing Thread and subsequent new topics on the same subject.

It’s not only common but best practice across forums to merge topics referencing the same subject, regardless of how extended the topic becomes. This obviously keeps all of the content in one place, giving instant and easy access to those members who are searching for and interested in the particular topic be that Pausing Applications or Caturday Moments. It also allow the internal team to monitor the feedback easily and for the forum team to manage in the most efficient way.

As a business we welcome positive and negative feedback, here on the forum also … it’s the measure on how well we are doing and most importantly, what our members think of us and how they are using, reacting to and managing their membership and housesitting lifestyle, across the platform. The thread has been invaluable to the Product Team who made improvements to the functionality and which have already been implemented.

So why is the Pausing thread different and what are other members objecting to? The subject has been discussed, in depth and from every angle. Comments coming to the forum are simply repeating what has already been discussed since the functionality was launched, this repetition adds little benefit to members and the community.

Should we see a constructive and objective conversation from different perspectives developing we would welcome and encourage contributions but unfortunately in the present climate we have members who are successful but who feel very reluctant to post and comment because of the nature of the discussions. (we know this through DM’s we receive)

After receiving requests, some would say challenges, to hear from a successful member Carla, one of our team posted about her personal and positive experience arranging 6 sits, back to back in great locations across three popular States. After doing so she spent two hours “explaining” just how and why she was successful, something which would be incredibly daunting for any member and probably would not happen.

When a topic takes over the way Pausing did and it is worth reminding members that the percentage of members commenting and engaging with the thread, even though seemingly extensive (we did an analysis of the topic)was only a small percentage of the total Forum membership at the time driven by a small number of members who were posting multiple comments.

The topic took over the forum. Not only did it become a major challenge for moderators to manage, requiring numerous shift hours to ensure that our community were kept informed and safe, positive engagement went through the floor (we track and measure) while negative engagement went up.

Members voted with their feet and left the forum. Posting, commenting and contributions across all categories declined alarmingly and we cannot allow that to happen again, that’s why we will continue to merge all comments relating to “Pausing” to this closed thread, as previously mentioned we need to keep all content on the subject in one place.

We do truly appreciate and acknowledge your concerns and assure everyone that you are listened to and most importantly heard. We are a community and every voice is important, not just the very loud ones, our community forum is and always will be for all of our members.

The number of DM’s we received at the height of the discussion left us in no doubt as to the feelings of many members who wanted to regain their forum and we are once again starting to get DM’s of the same narrative and we need to prevent a similar situation from happening

I hope this gives clarity … We are not censoring, we are moderating the forum for the majority.

We do care and we do listen.

Thank you for understanding.

The Admin Team

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Hello all. I am a user of THS for 3 years now and have about 20 or so sits under my belt.
However I never look on the main website and this is the first time I’ve ever used the forum, I only use the app to apply for sits.
What is all this I’m reading about a 5 application limit and applications being “paused” etc? I use the app every single day as I am currently doing sits full time, and I have never seen this? I just look at my pending applications on the dashboard of the app and it either days ‘0-3 applications received’ ‘4-7’ etc etc. Admittedly I haven’t seen any say 8 or more in ages but just presumed that was because it is winter. Are they just limiting applications at 5 now?
Thanks!

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I have talked to a few owners who did not have a clue about the 5-app rule. They were quite stunned and not happy whatsoever about this rule. They actually thought they received only 5 applications. They do not like the idea of turning down applicants one at a time to only receive 1 more.

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The same thing is happening to us. We’re Sydney based looking for sits in Italy and Portugal. When we wake up in the morning there’ll be half a dozen alerts with most of them ‘reviewing applications’. I’ve asked THS if they can recommend any strategies we can use to improve our chances. I’m still waiting for a response.

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I’ve complained too about the 5 person limitation which can be extremely frustrating, but the administrators swear by it and insist on it being a more positive way to conduct the site. It doesn’t seem as if they’re willing to change in spite of numerous complaints from both HO and sitters. Sometimes you have to admit defeat and go back to the way things were but they are fully convinced that this is the right path.

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Hi! Yes I know and actually one of the sitters had been confirmed on the platform and I had to ask her to decline so I could explore other possibilities. There was less than a month before we were scheduled to leave.

In any case if you’re looking at sits in other countries I would think it normal to at least get an idea of airfares before. No need to book, just know what expense you’re looking at and if you can’t afford the fare, then look at someplace more affordable. I lost a lot of time and in the meantime could’ve been examining other requests.

I’ve broached the issue about the 5 person limit to the administrators but they are convinced and not open to any changes or modifications, even though there seems to be a barrage of general unsatisfaction with the policy.

ValSco

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@Val_Sco - Honestly, you will not believe how quickly some sits appear, hit their five maximum applications, and then disappear. Sitters no longer have enough time to read and absorb a listing’s information correctly let alone attempting to get an idea of airfares before applying.!

I agree that THS seems to be adamant that the rule is working and is here to stay, I am afraid this rushing through of applications is a consequence of their actions. Unfortunately, It too is here to stay and is something else that we have all got to get used to.

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