Conclusion Of Pausing Application Test - Updated Post

: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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I thought of that option also @geoff.hom but decided for that reason it was simpler to have a yes/no choice.

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I’m also wondering whether to stay a member or not due to the 5 application rule - I only do sits in places where I don’t need a car and with good public transport; cats only; single sitter accepted (some prefer couples); etc.

That means a lot of sits have now become unavailable to me, except if I stay glued to the screen all day. I’ve been a member for 8 years. And am now paying for a website, where a good chunk of sits I’m interested in have become off-limits as they reach the 5 application limit before I even find out they exist.

THS does not appear to be willing to do something about this, despite numerous sitters voicing their frustration with the new rule.

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Having been a sitter with THS for the past year and a half, the new 5 applicant cutoff has drastically changed things. In my opinion, at least some of your cancellations are due to this new policy. Sitters now have to jump on any sits that interest them rapidly, without thoroughly checking their schedule and thinking things through. I have written several THS reviews about this, as well ask reached out to THS directly and via the THS chat. They simply do not care about the concerns that me, and other sitters and pet owners, have regarding the new policy. THS told me there have not been many complaints about the new policy. I know many who have spoken up and voiced concern. Until more sitters and pet owners take the time to contact THS about this policy and write online reviews, I believe the late cancellations will continue and become more prevalent. Some of us reliable sitters with great reviews are missing out on opportunities, as are the pet owners, simply because we can’t stare at our phone all day and we get beat out by those who “clicked” the fastest. Sadly, it has become a race, rather than a pairing of the best fit between sitter and pet owner.

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Hey everyone, been on THS and other major platforms for sitting for about a year now. I recently noticed I haven’t been getting as many email notifications for new sits. In my search for answers I came across a Reddit thread and saw there was a change that took place in September 2022 limiting an advertised sit to the first 5 applicants. Is this true and is there any plans from THS to adjust and change this? I read through some of the pros and cons of this strategy, and I’m interested in seeing other veterans user experience with this change, good, bad, indifferent and how it’s impacted your overall experience. Apologies if this has already been discussed in depth on here or if this isn’t the place to discuss the topic. Thanks!

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Please don’t move my topic, I think this merits it’s own topic.

I have just been invited to yet another sit which unfortunately I cannot do as I am booked out. But the scenario is just another in the same list of scenarios I have been seeing a lot of lately, far too many.

In the years I have been house-sitting with TH and two other sites, I have never seen so many sitters cancelling. Now I know there can be genuine, extenuating circumstances to cancel but why all of a sudden are there soooo many cancellations!

IMO insofar as TH is concerned, since the introduction of the dreaded five, sitters are literally jumping in without giving a sit a lot of serious consideration, researching the area, checking transport/flights etc and accept sits quickly. After doing all the above, I feel things just don’t “fit” there situation so they cancel. They can’t just tell a homeowner they found something better or they’ve changed their mind, so they need to possibly use an excuse to cancel the sit.

Does anyone else see what I am seeing or think the same? Just trying to get my head around it all as I really feel for the homeowners who are being let down for sometimes non-genuine reasons. Please, I am not saying this is the norm and of course there is always those reasons that things fall through. Just seems ironical that there are suddenly so many.

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@ziggy I also got an invite yesterday due to a late cancellation and have seen many comments about this recently on this forum. Whether its an increase because of the new policy, only THS will know if they are keeping those metrics. But I completely agree the new policy is causing behaviours that aren’t beneficial to either homeowners or sitters (says she who was up checking notifications pre dawn again.)

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:100: true. Sitters are jumping to take sits because it’s time precious and then it’s not a fit. Cancellations and the dreaded 5 are inextricably linked as have said again & again….needs rethinking.

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Hi Carla,
I appreciate that. Except that these replies are sent to the thread that is closed to replies, therefore closing any potential discussions between members. So we can “read” other people’s replies (and it’s becoming quite disorganized as multiple threads are centralized in 1 main closed one) but can’t reply to them, cutting off any kind of possible interactions between us. Sure we can heart and applaud, or even laugh, …as long as we stay silent.
I do appreciate the work all moderators do and how uncomfortable that must feel at times, especially for this specific “sensitive” subject. But I also think you are able to understand multiple member’s frustration on your end, (there is more that 1150 replies to this closed thread, data wise, it’s huge) and can understand why we keep bringing it up, as we should do, since we are paying customers and we are unsatisfied with the changes. If THS was a free service, it’d be a totally different ball game, but it’s not and it should be ok to voice discontent.
As a paying member, being silenced this way feels quite sad, because it makes me miss the “good old days” when I first discovered THS 8 years ago, and it felt like a little family was managing it, a group of friends, in a basement, not a big startup that looks at metrics, KPIs and data all day and listens only to its investors. And I understand the need for profitability but I also think we can certainly meet each other half way, and have a discussion about how we could meet each other half way. Some members have suggested BRILLIANT ideas (let the HO decide how many it wants to accept before closing, opting in and out of the 5 pause, etc.), but I suspect they will be ignored because in order to implement these changes, it would cost more in tech salaries, among other things, so it won’t happen. Also, it might end up showing how many HO actually wanted this 5 rule, which could potentially be slightly lower that THS would like us to believe. And then it would lead to us questioning why it was implemented in the first place when so many members voiced their discontent.
THS is trying to get its users to live on the platform so that we can see sits as soon as they appear, like Instagram, so might as well use Instagram style tools to take the pulse of the community: polls would be really great in this situation.
You said the tech team reads them, that’s one of the reason why you centralize them in the same thread? I’d love to talk to the UX, back end, front end, and full stack developers of the company, so they can explain why we still can’t filter on “sitter needs a car” for example. Because it’s been years, that these were requested and I’m not sure I ever understood why we can filter on “use of car included” but not its little sister “sitter needs a car”. Or why the “family friendly” filter and not “couple” or “single” filter?
We have issues with the system, the filters and the actual user experience, so let’s open up a thread where the tech team interacts with us and we can understand how filters and how much tweaking it would take to get the website to where it actually becomes enjoyable to spend all day on it (rejecting old adds we keep seeing that we can’t get to, bulk deleting messages in our inbox, filtering on sitters profiles we correspond to, among other ideas.)

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I agree. This five applicants and pause process encourages hastiness but it enables new and perhaps less committed sitters to apply and gain sits they might not otherwise have been selected for. From THS viewpoint obviously they are looking at the money business angle rather than the responsibility trust choice angle. As a sitter, this is the first time I have experienced ( on two occasions) on a couple of shorter sits that the owners have left the place unacceptably dirty, rushing out as we arrive, or leaving before we arrive, without any real care for the sitter or animals experience and apologising profusely whilst expecting us to clean up. I am afraid that these commercially motivated changes have detracted from the quality of the sitting experience for both parties. This is not just my experience, fellow sitters I have chatted with feel the same.

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I contacted TH directly who told me to post again here on the forum because I said the issue of the 5 paused sits had been shut down.

So here I am.

I have been on alternate Facebook groups and nowhere is anyone happy with the change.

Why is TH not addressing the harm caused to so many owners AND petsitter’s with a change they did not consult us about or even inform us of.

This is unethical.

To make a major platform change when users subscribe to one plan is unacceptable.

Is TH refunding original members or providing cheaper membership? I’ve already dissuaded people from joining because of this. And whilst TH may experience a brief uptick in revenue due to new members accessing site they will lose long term memberships. This change says everything about how we are valued.

Which is to say not at all

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I am having the same experience with some of the sitters I’ve talked to for our next vacation, which is coming up two weeks now, and we haven’t been able to confirm anyone because of the lack of response (they reached out to us first and we responded within 24-48 hours).
I’m not a fan of the pause after five applicants… 5 applicants who seemed eager in their first couple of messages but then went off the radar. I’ve had four sitters and have only had good experiences. Still, this new feature they’ve added makes it very difficult to find someone reliable who is genuinely interested/excited to sit for us. I get it: Chicago right now is not the most glamorous place to visit (winter), but our apartment is charming and super cozy, and our little dog is adorable and a joy to look after.

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Hi @wendy_chicago welcome back we have missed you, we are merging comments where the main topic relates to the Pausing functionality to keep all feedback and content together for ease of access by other members and the internal team who monitor this thread.

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I may have come late to this discussion but why oh why are only 5 candidate applications accepted per sit? By the time I see the post, talk to my husband to see if he agrees with me that it’s a good one to apply for, write my application letter, which is always a thoughtful, personal and pet-specific one, the sit application process has ended. I really find that quite unfair. Thoughts?

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Well, I wanted to reply to the 02/03 post of geoff.hom re choosing the best number of applications before a pause is automatically applied but that’s been moved to the closed Conclusion of Application Test - Updated Post so I’ll post here and let it get moved over.

He mentioned a test that was done where people bought more jam when they only had 5 choices vs. 24. Back in the 1974 book “Future Shock” the author Alvin Toffler called that “overchoice” and said that rather than dealing with shortages, overchoice would be a major problem in the future.

Wow, was he ever right! Just do any internet search!

THS said there was a problem with the old application system where pet parents / owners might receive 20, 30, 40 or more applications almost instantly! I can understand that.

But THS seems to have gone from what they considered overchoice to almost no choice with the 5 app limit.

There are other options or ways to tweak the pause system. For example:

An automatic pause at 5, 7 or 10 and then an email that the pet parent / owner must choose if they want another 5, 7 or 10.

Let the pet parent / owner chose the number they want to pause at like 5, 7 or 10

Have a maximum number of applications, like 30

Now, why did I choose 5, 7 or 10? After a lifetime in sales I know people like 3 choices and if given 3 choices they will usually choose the one in the middle! (There are numerous studies showing this)

Frankly, I don’t think you need the 3 choices. Just like THS already did, pick a number, automatically pause BUT THEN let the pet parent / owner know they must take ACTION to receive another of the same number of applications.

That way it will automatically pause but the pet parent / owner has an easy way to control things.

The solution to make everyone happy is simple!

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Over the last year we have booked many sits on THS but as I recently started searching for new sits there are significantly less available. It seems the 5 pause rule is hampering out ability to apply for sits in the areas we would like to travel. Five is too few for popular destinations and I hope that they will considering raise that number. I have many locations saved and there are currently few or no sits in any of them. This change is not working for me and seems many others agree. I foresee and increase in cancellations as people hastily book sits that don’t actually work.

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Hi @Jdukartdc Thank you for contributing to the forum conversation and welcome to the community. Your comment has been positioned here in this relevant thread keeping all content in one place for ease of access.

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@Ben-ProductManager @Angela-HeadOfCommunity People are STILL not happy about this change in the limit of applications to 5 - both owners and sitters alike. Will you please listen to your community and membership? Thank you

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