Discrepancies in sitting opportunity numbers?

Not sure if I am missing something but here goes ….
There is a section at the bottom of the housesit page which says
Where do you want to go pet and housesitting?
Against UK it shows 7533 which I assume are the sits available. When you press it there are 1462 sits showing
Against England it shows 6864 and when pressed it shows 1326
Against Australia it shows 1836 and when pressed it shows 336
There are big differences between these numbers.
Could @Therese-Moderator or someone look into this? What do the larger numbers represent if not the number of current sitting opportunities?
Many thanks

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hi @Twitcher - I think they may signify the current total number of paid-up home hosts whether currently looking for sitters or not

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@Twitcher I noticed this the other day after seeing a post on TrustPilot. A prospective house sitter was looking at the number of sits available in a major US city prior to joining. After seeing the large number of sits available they decided to join. Once they joined and wanted to apply for sits in that city, availability was reduced to a single digit.

Because this piqued my curiosity, I did my own check and plugged in a search for New York City. On the day I searched it was showing 5 sits and 3 were in New Jersey. My husband, who is not a member, signed up for a free account (at the same time I was searching)as a prospective house sitter would. His search on NYC showed 115 available sits. When he clicked on several of the “available sits” it was showing "reviewing applications ". Why would these be shown to a prospective purchaser as "available ", when they indeed, were not. Imagine the disappointment in paying your money for a product that is really not available. I DM 'ed someone at THS and was told it would be forwarded on to the product team. Just checked again today and NYC is showing 117 available sits for my husband, and 7 for me. As expected, no response or follow-up from THS.

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Hi @anon1411559 and apologies for the delay in responding. We were travelling to our new cat sit yesterday and are just settling in.
Your findings are rather disconcerting and I will check out a few more comparisons while I await a response from THS re my original post. Perhaps the question should have been directed to @Ben-ProductManager rather than a moderator.

WOW. I just repeated your experiment, and searched some random popular locations. These are the search results—showing X sits (when logged in as a free account) vs. Y sits (when logged in as a paid sitter):

New York City:
124 sits vs. 7 sits

Mexico:
17 sits vs. 2 sits

Hawaii:
14 sits vs. 1 sit

Amsterdam:
48 sits vs. 0 sits

This is highly misleading to potential sitters, and highlights the huge drop in sit opportunities that paid members have experienced since the pause was implemented. This means that, prior to the pause, I could at this very moment be browsing dozens of potential sits in Amsterdam, and apply to any that I liked. Now? ZERO Amsterdam sits show up.

On the “bright” side, the decision by THS to present different search results to free vs. paid members opens up a loophole of sorts—conduct your searches from a free account, copy the URL of a desirable listing into your paid account, and favorite it to be alerted the next time the listing is accepting applications. (Note: In his update to the Pausing Applications post, Ben stated that “Paused sits will be visible within search results. Sitters will be able to find these sits in the ‘Owner not currently looking for a sitter’ section.” …If/when that improvement is made, it would render this loophole unnecessary, as that is all this achieves. However, at least on my account, this change has not yet been implemented—I see some Amsterdam listings in the “Sits without current dates” section, but not all the same ones that pop up when I search from a free account.)

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It wasn’t directed to a moderator. It was directed to someone at a higher level.

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Hi @anon1411559, I only meant my initial question was to a moderator and in hindsight it should have been to Ben.
Thanks

It might have something to do with the very weird geography THS uses. A search for a particular area or town offers you (apparently) heaps of sits, but trawling through them you find most are in the (far-flung) surrounds of that area.
Clicking as a paid member on London sits brought me 1332 sits - but look more closely at the map next to that search and you see that area stretches all the way to Cornwall in the west and Newcastle-on-Tyne in the north. London on the map shows 468 sits.
But click on London on the map and it all changes again! 468 on the map turns into lots of surrounding sits and only 57 on the map in London. The listings now say 543 in the area,
A click on that 57 on the map turns into 25, with a random scattering of other numbers in the surrounding counties, while the listing now says 174.

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Welcome Elleann and thank you for your interest and input.

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@Elleann, hi! No, the discrepancy has no connection with the geographic search function. You can prove this by inputting the exact same search terms from a free new account and a member account. You will get completely different numbers. I just did it for New York City, New York, U.S.
On the free account, I was told “There are currently 121 house sits in New York City, NY, US.”
On my member account, I was told, " There are currently 5 house sits in New York City, NY, US."
Wow. Just wow.

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@Colin - No, the discrepancy isn’t connected with hosts who are not currently looking for sitters. When I log in as a new unpaid member, I am told “There are currently 121 house sits in New York City, NY, US.” These listings are all for specific dates in the future, and a handful are labeled “NEW.” All but 5 of them are currently reviewing applications. When I log in as myself, I only see the 5 available ones, with the heading " There are currently 5 house sits in New York City, NY, US."

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@Betsy exactly as I said above. The complaint comment that I read on TrusPilot called it a “Bait and Switch”. I had hope it was an unintentional result of the 5 application pause. Since never heard anything from THS confirming this, I can only assume that it is a very calculated and misleading marketing strategy.

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Hmmm, I am testing it right now.
NYC 4 sit, NYC free account 119 all with dates
Singapore 4 vs 16
Brisbane 36 vs 81
How interesting. And no reaction from THS

Edit: When looking at “missing” yet available sit from my paid account it states … Reviewing applications … oh well … 5 application limit in action

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This is what I see on a paused listing when viewed from a free account:

Note the large, bold font for “Sitter needed” and the dates. Underneath, there’s a pink box stating that the owner is reviewing applications, urging me to “join now to start applying.” As a prospective member, I would interpret this to mean I could apply to this listing once I paid for a subscription. There is NO indication that this is a paused listing that will vanish once I’m a paid member.

Here’s the exact same listing after I pasted the URL into my paid account:

No “Sitter needed,” no dates—only the “Reviewing applications” message. And this listing doesn’t show up at all when I conduct the search from my paid account (not in the regular results OR the “Sits without current dates” section at the bottom).

THS is showing free members unavailable listings without making it clear they can’t be applied to. Try exploring the website as if you were a prospective member trying to find out more information—clicking on “How it works” simply shows a very general overview about what THS is, and there’s no mention of the 5-applicant pause in the sitters’ Help section under “Applying for a sit” or “Frequently asked questions.” When will this critical information be clearly communicated to all members, both current and prospective?

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Hi @IfItFitsISits and with regard to your last question. When will the information be communicated to ALL members - I have raised this many times in different threads on the forum and on Trust Pilot.
The response seemed to be that the information would go out in the ‘Trusted Times’ but as we have now discovered there are several versions and not all members receive or read it.
The fairest way would be to communicate via email but the request was ignored.
It appears they are happy for new members to sign up and let them discover the limitations once they have handed over their money. Job Done!

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This is all incredibly underhand and dishonest. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a class action lawsuit emerging soon, from this practice and the 5-app limit.

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I agree. At the very least this is a violation of “truth in advertising.” In the USA that is a federal offense, easily reported to the Federal Trade Commission. No need to hire a lawyer to do that. THS should have their sit numbers reflect sits that are open, i.e., not paused either by the HO or THS, to avoid getting a warning letter or worse from the FTC.

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AscI just said to one of the moderators via email this just affirms my opinion that THS just don’t give a damn about their members and how they impact them. They only care about numbers, stats and dollars and bugger who they trample on in the process. That’s not good customer service it’s just revenue chasing. Eventually the clients will leave and go elsewhere or legal action will ensue.

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Hi @Crookie - some members may leave but there are plenty of potential sitters being lured in to take their place with the promise of unlimited opportunities. Hopefully they all won’t become as disillusioned as we are.
According to THS the new changes are an unmitigated success but only a small percentage of members are aware of them so far due to lack of communication.
I arrived at a sit on Wednesday and the homeowners were completely unaware that they are now PP and will have to deal with applications five at a time. They are aware now and not happy about it.

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I’ve noticed this before and glad it is now being discussed openly. Ultimately, it all comes down to money. I work for a global organisation and the marketing dept. are known to want to make claims that cannot be substantiated. It used to be part of my role to determine whether the claims (if challenged) could be backed up by clinical evidence. You’d be surprised by some of the things marketing departments try to put forward in the interest of making money (though, perhaps you wouldn’t be surprised). Ultimately, you can slap a label of ‘trusted’ on something and it sounds like the company have your best interests at heart. They don’t. The reality is, they only have the interests of the consumer at heart if it will generate revenue. I don’t mean to sound cynical, I think this is true of business generally. Unfortunately with THS, the cracks are starting to show.

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