Conclusion Of Pausing Application Test - Updated Post

We have just cancelled our automatic renewal due to this new policy.
Screenshot 2022-09-21 095252

(Yes, I know how to spell “excellent” but I’m very good at typos!)


The obvious answer to the above is that new sitters apply for all those sits that nobody wants!
I am very surprised and disappointed that you are persisting with this 5 application pause which is clearly very unpopular. Big shame.


Before I even write my response to what you said, I’m greeted with the pop-up message that “this topic has been solved.”

“Solved” apparently means ignoring our complaints and doing what you intended to do anyway, while pretending it was a “test.”

As you’ve revealed in your message, this whole thing was about jerry-rigging the system so new sitters would get chosen more. Obviously, that is important to you because you want more new members to sign up (and not quit). But I am not paying steep membership fees in order to subsidize your membership drive. I want very experienced sitters with lots of reviews, and I refuse to be pushed into accepting ones that don’t have that experience.

Like so many others have said, I have encouraged many friends to become members. No more.


Ben’s chain of logic is flawed.

“A small number of sitters taking a large majority of sits”
That doesn’t mean it’s not fair or keeping new members from getting sits. It means a small percentage of sitters does a lot of sits and may also be better at writing their applications. That’s pretty much the basic 80/20 rule.

“A small number of sits taking a large number of applications”
You’re surprised that luxury homes on the ocean in Florida in the winter get a large number of applications compared to homes in Death Valley in the summer or northern Canada in the winter?

“This makes it extremely hard for new sitters to find success on the platform”
That new sitters are able to compete evenly with established sitters makes it hard for them to find success? No, they’ll learn how to compete. It makes for a level playing field rather than whoever is fastest.

“and means owners may fail to get applications.”
There is zero logic to that conclusion! You’re saying if too many people are able to submit applications then the owner may fail to get applications! Huh?

It’s tough to admit when you make a mistake but the 5 application pause is a MAJOR MISTAKE that should not continue!


Hi @Ben-ProductManager Does this mean that if, let’s say, 15 people start writing an application within minutes, all 15 will go through?


That does seem to be a point that Ben should address: sitter membership is paid for at least theoretical access to all sits. This manipulation reduces access.


No email was sent out prior to the test or during the 8+ weeks of the test and it was not mentioned in the recent survey.

Now that you have made a decision - although a terribly wrong one - will ALL members receive an email soon explaining the new system? At present only the members using this forum are aware of it.

Since you have already deatailed it here, I would think something should go out today as members are posting listings and submitting applications currently and need to know the new rules of the game.


Ben, some clarification, please

You said:

“Some other members also questioned how we settled upon the 5 application limit. We found that 5 applications are the right amount to help maximise member success. Our surveys also showed that most owners find 5 applications are just enough (or more than enough), and they can always unpause their listing to receive more.”

How are you defining “maximise member success”.

Is it:
getting a sit booked as quickly as possible?
finding the best possible sitter?
what, exactly?

So, giving you the benefit of the doubt that you aren’t just throwing out corporate buzzwords, EXACTLY how do you define "maximizing member success’? You must have some specific definition as you are measuring it. If it’s based on member feedback, then that success is not evident on this forum.

And, you said your surveys showed 5 applications are just the right amount. I never saw any such survey. When were those done?



Hello Everyone,

Some of you have expressed a concern that we (the forum moderation team) have marked Ben’s update as a SOLUTION we have applied this functionality purely for you, our member’s convenience to ensure that this post is permanently positioned at top of the thread.

We have had comments before about transparency and so we want to make sure that this response is seen by as many of our forum members as possible.

Unfortunately, Discourse (our forum software) has limitations in this respect, as we cannot pin a single post. On looking at the options, the SOLUTIONS feature was the only way to raise the profile of this post and insert it at the top of the thread where everyone can see it.

Whilst Ben has posted his team’s response, it is our forum team’s responsibility to make sure that what he says is managed effectively here and moderated in line with our forum community guidelines.

We are trying to help with that, not hinder, but are limited in the tools we have available to us.

Thank you.

Hi @Lauraa

We are looking into this. As covered in point 5:

5. We will investigate the issue of paused sits being shown in saved search notifications. We’re currently looking into this to ensure that, at the time of being sent, only available sits (i.e. not paused sits) will be shown in saved search emails and push notifications.

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Hi @Els yes that is correct, all 15 applications would go through.

Thanks, Ben

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Ben, how will this be managed? Will the system software know we are writing an application at the time the sit would otherwise be paused?


Am I correct that one is ‘in’ by pressing Apply? allowing one to then draft a decent application in that window? But how long does that window last? @Ben-ProductManager

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@Ben-ProductManager My response is not only to you Ben, but to all TrustedHousesitters staff who were instrumental in this announcement. It saddens me that you take the brunt of the negativity, as I see you as the spokesperson, rather than likely the decision-maker.

Only hours into your announcement, I am already way back in a long line of members, and have no doubt that many more will come behind me with their own comments. Most of what I am thinking has already been said by others, so I won’t repeat them, but I do support them.

The one key point I see is that in any organization, a person (member, in this case) starts at entry level (new member), learns the ropes (excellent listings/profile, references, nearby sits to get experience), and then moves up the organization as they gain experience (& gain success when applying for more popular sits/locations). Supposedly trying to establish a level playing field negates the value of experience, a bank of well-earned 5* reviews or sitter feedback, and the dedication of loyal, long-time members.

I, along with thousands of other loyal members who stayed and paid their fees during the pandemic, will now be handicapped by this new system. In my opinion, marketing and quantity-over-quality is in the forefront of change for TrustedHousesitters in 2022. That saddens me immensely.


I’m not going to waste my time discussing this, because, frankly, THS doesn’t give a sh$t about what members say - that’s blantantly obvious.
So, where is the process for applying for a pro-rata membership refund for member who are cancelling??
I joined a site that, by this decision, is no longer providing what I have paid for


So basically, if you are in a different time zone, a sitter will have no chance of applying for a decent sitting.


Hello @Auscal For all issues relating to member accounts, including refunds, we would ask that you please contact membership services direct at:
The team there will be able to help you with your request. Thank you.

I support everything you have written @Snowbird. I also believe you saw what was coming (as most of us did) and relinquished your Voluntary Moderator’s role before this decision was published. It’s very hard for those of us loyal, long-time and very experienced members, who have helped THS grow and supported THS through the pandemic, to have very much respect for what this organization has become.


Respect @Snowbird, a great example of integrity!


Quite honestly what has the quality of pet care got to do with this? I would assume that all of us on THS give our all to make sure the pets in our care are well looked after. I can’t see this has any relevance to the 5 application pausing and can’t be seen as a direct positive outcome for the test.