Conclusion Of Pausing Application Test - Updated Post

@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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Hello, We are Gavin and Trisha from the Gold Coast. We have been sitting since 2015. Between 2015 and 2019 we were totally nomadic, relying on sits for all our accommodation. It was one of the best things we ever did - we had some amazing adventures, loved reconnecting with furry friends, and really enjoyed that we gave home owners the peace of mind to enjoy their time away. We have made some deep friendships along the way. We probably did about 100 sits, mostly through THS but also with other forums. After Covid (AC?) we stopped travelling and were confined to Australia. We have started back again last year, but are only looking to sit for a few months at a time, once or twice a year.

The biggest change we have noticed in all our years of sitting is the new 5 applicant and pause rule. We are in Australia looking for sits in European cities, and it is almost impossible. The only sits we have got recently are repeats where we are contacted outside the system in the first instance. It feels like the Admin staff have made up their minds it’s a great innovation, but I just wanted to add to the chorus that it has been a huge negative for us. We think we may end our membership when it comes up for renewal because we are no longer getting any value out of it. Nonetheless, we will be eternally grateful to THS for opening up new horizons and new friendships for us.

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This is definitely an unintended consequence of 5 applicant rule. The First Five get through and the owner still want to see more applicants so they pause it only to lose the original applicants because something better came along in the meantime. When are they going to listen to the HO’s and Sitters about this issue.

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So basically if the HO really needs a sitter they have to pick from the first 5 that applied or suffer the consequences.

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Officially no. They can keep rejecting sitters and unpausing until they find someone they like. Practically…well…that takes a lot more effort than if they choose 1 of the first 5 and perhaps have to compromise or they were allowed to choose to recieve a larger pool of applicants in the first place.

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:100: and the issues of cancellation rates and the 5 limit rule are inextricably linked. I wish HQ wouldn’t keep splitting these posts and adding new issues to the 1151 (yawn) pausing applicants thread….this needs to be fixed! :roll_eyes:

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Would it be a good idea to have a check box on the owner settings whereby they can choose to opt in to have their listing limited to 5 applications or opt out?

This gives the ability of those owners who want a bigger initial choice of sitters to compare but still allow those owners who like the limit to keep it.

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I think I read a suggestion that the HO/PP be allowed to set the number. For example, the default could be 5, but it could just be a number box so they could set it up/down. Or maybe a list with like 5, 10, 15.

You’d think that’d be not-too-hard to implement, while letting the HO/PP decide what they think is best.

However, one could argue we’re not great at deciding what is actually best. This whole thing made me think of the jam anecdote in Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink.” Here’s an article describing that:

Six flavors of jam … five applications. Coincidence? I honestly have no idea. :sweat_smile:

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