HO that live in the wrong city as they say in the sitting

Do they?

I have a sitter membership and I don’t think THS has my address (but anybody can find it in the phone directory).

It might be different for home owners. The home address should be in their welcome guides, but we have read stories here about HOs meeting up in town and then bringing the sitter to a secret location.

I don’t know if they have addresses for sitters. They absolutely have addresses for homeowners. Homeowners have a “listing” as a opposed to a profile. On the dashboard once you go to listing, the first option is “Your location”. You provide a full address, which any system – say Google maps – would be able to verify. It states that sitters will not see the address until after the sit is confirmed. (It doesn’t state that they will only see it once you send the Welcome Guide.) Under the address, there is a prompt to list the “nearest city, town, village” for the map. I don’t believe the map used has every city, town and village but I could be wrong. The dot on the map as far as I can tell generally just comes down in the “downtown” busiest section of major cities. In the case of NYC, it lands in the financial district a bit east, but if a homeowner lives in Brooklyn and says Brooklyn as opposed to Manhattan it would land someplace in Brooklyn that also would not be accurate. All I’m saying is rather than depend on Homeowners (lying or not) to put the most accurate information in their answer to the “nearest city town or village” question which at best still won’t correspond to the map, or get angry at homeowners for not describing the exact location in their description – which they might not think to do and/or have security concerns about, and/or sitters wouldn’t look at if they were trying to get the application in before the five person limit was reached, it would make sense for THS to take all this out of the equation and simply show a location on a map that’s within a mile of the actual location. I suppose there might be a few homeowners with more than one location in which case, THS could easily have an “add an address” feature. This would eliminate all complaints that homeowners were purposely being misleading. It would end feelings of mistrust on this issue. It would save homeowners time as well, as sitters would have more accurate OBJECTIVE information before they apply for a sit, and not backout because they suddenly realize it’s not what they thought. That’s it. Instead of making it a “bad homeowners” issue, lets talk about changing the tech to solve the actual problem.

Google cannot really verify that, just see if it was consistent. It could be anybody’s address.

So home owners do not need to submit proof of address, it seems. While US sitters get their address history checked.

I don’t think HOs even those that are giving the wrong city are actually giving THS false addresses. You do need ID with an address to get on the site. You are told to accurately describe your home and give your address. Giving a false address should get people kicked off the site, and I seriously doubt it’s causing the problem here. If the wrong city is mentioned under the listing, it is because the HO put that city in the “nearest, village, town, or city” spot. If THS isn’t verifying the addresses they should be. It would be crazy to imagine that a serial killer could be luring victims to remote fake addresses! None of this involves some super advanced technology. This is what Airbnb and other sites use. This can be done by any web developer. If I order something for delivery, and I don’t write my address correctly, I get prompts to change it to match what’s in mapping systems like Google.

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It would work only once, I think. It is difficult to imagine that they would not get caught.

Well, maybe in some countries, without cell phone coverage, etc.

There shouldn’t even be an option to put the city of your choosing under the listing. It should automatically match the verified address of the HO. (And all those dropdown menus actually contain are locations HOs have previously entered… some of them are comically inaccurate.) It’s not hard to make these changes, and they’re just logical. I’m not sure why they don’t want to do it, except that it suits HOs to keep it this way.

Agree that it should be taken out of the equation. This is what I said consistently. Several times. The prompt for “nearest city, village, or town” to which someone could answer Anchorage if they lived in Chicago should be eliminated. Yes. This is what I’ve said. You don’t attempt to change human behavior. This is about FORMS and what webdevelopers do. Paying the salary of people who do this kind of thing is perhaps where some of our membership $ should be going. This all involves technology used in sites like Airbnb, Craigslist, etc. It’s not inventing the wheel. The end result is accuracy of location – town and state under the listing title, based on the actual address the owner provided and THS verified which they ALREADY DO. It also means accuracy of location on a map using tech that maps by zip code – as they do on Craigslist, Airbnb, etc. In fact the tech that Craigslist has been using for 20+ years would work well for Homeowners as it gives them a chance to set either a very small radius or if they are concerned with privacy a slightly larger one. Sitters would have a better shot at finding the perfect sit as close suburbs and towns would still come up on city searches but with the actual towns listed, so for instance Arlington VA still comes up on a Washington DC search, but it comes up as Arlington VA and sitters can look at the map and decide for themselves if it’s close enough before they apply. Possibly even filter for EXACT matches if that’s the preference.

To suggest that this isn’t happening because you surmise that “HOs don’t want it” or are somehow benefitting from the current system at the expense of sitters is absurd. I’m certain the vast majority of HOs on the site want to give sitters an accurate idea of where they live before sitters agree to a sit. HOs it might surprise you to know do not direct the policies of or technology used by THS. Most responsible companies that use tech in the way that THS does, would be striving to improve user experience. These changes would improve user experience for both sitters and homeowners. I have no idea why THS does things the way they do things, but there is no conspriacy of homeowners trying to fool sitters.

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I said this starting in post #75, about incorporating the actual location, based on their address and NOT their choice, into the website. It’s a basic function. I’m tired of wasting my time on clickbait. I haven’t done a sit in nearly a year now due to personal circumstances, but I am still paying my fee. Now that I’m ready to sit again, I’m finding I don’t have the patience for clicking on and reading endless listings to find out that 90% of them aren’t where they say they are. And YES, as someone who relies on public transport because I don’t drive, that is biggest priority when choosing one sit over another. So it’s super frustrating that THS allows HOs to mislead sitters like this.

And YES again, if there is the option to choose your location, and you choose to put what you think is a more “desirable” location instead of where you ARE, that is a deliberate attempt to mislead. Of course THS prioritizes HOs and their needs. That’s why sitters have to undergo background checks, and HOs don’t. There are a thousand little ways that HOs are prioritized because there are far more sitters than HOs. Sort of like how bars let ladies drink free, because that draws in the men.

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Sorry if I’m being repetitive. I think I answered this question more than once. I have a combined account and I have truthfully described the information I had to verify with copies of identification prior to my listing being accepted. Of course, THS has the address of homeowners. This isn’t an opinion.

I’m also out. It’s really clear that people in this discussion are more interested in talking about how “if only homeowners would” then in discussing what THS could do to resolve this issue to the benefit of both sitters and homeowners.

I’ve said several times since I joined the thread what THS could do. Which is the same thing you said. I also suggested what HOs could do. But guess what? Neither is going to happen because only sitters would ultimately benefit from it. THS would have to spend some money and/or effort, and HOs would lose the option to make their location seem more attractive than it is. So where’s the incentive to make the change? How many changes that have been made in the past year or so have been to the benefit of sitters? None, because HOs are needed here more than we are. That’s just a fact. There will always be more sitters than sits, so HOs will always be the top priority.

But it should still be okay for people to express frustrations and suggest changes. The only other alternative is just walking away and not renewing. And it’s starting to look like that’s what they’d rather us do. Whatevs. Nothing lasts forever.

I’ll answer that question! Of course, HOs have a reason for wanting this change. The vast majority of them in any case. I do see the “lying about the city” and the “non-accurate mapping issue” as being related. They both have a bad impact on both sitters AND homeowners. They make it harder for sitters to find the perfect sit AND they make it more difficult for homeowners to find the perfect sitter.

The current policy does NOT benefit homeowners over sitters. If a few, and I am reasonably certain it is very few homeowners actually believe that lying about their city in a listing will work for them, they are dumb. They are going to wind up getting burned. Either somewhere in the process the sitter will figure this out and get out of the sit, or the sitter will do the sit but leave the dogs locked in the yard to get away for a few hours. They’ll be complaints, warnings in feedback, etc. and that’s if they actually get a sitter this way. It just won’t work. At best, it won’t work because peple will withdraw their applications after realizing where the house is. It’s not only deceptive, but it’s a bad strategy for finding sitters. I understand why you are frustrated that it’s a time suck for sitters, but it doesn’t actually benefit homeowners either. Of the literally 10s of thousands of listings, are we even talking about a whole number percentage of owners who do this? So please explain how you think “homeowners” are “bennefing” or even why you think that a majority of them see the ability to answer “village, town or city” as a benefit.

So the current policy – the prompt for “city, town village” does not benefit homeowners, and the vast majority of homeowners give accurate information. The small minority who don’t give accurate information, are not only NOT benefitting themselves, they are sowing distrust between sitters and homeowners generally, so it would be in the interest of both HO and sitters to change it – of course neither have the power to do so. Only THS can do that! Most HOs don’t have this on their radar because they aren’t lying about their location – not because they are in solidarity with lying homeowners. They don’t even know it’s a thing because they aren’t looking for sits. And when they find a sitter who maybe has been burned and is oversuspicous about the location – all they are thinking is “Why is this person acting like we’re being deceptive? What am I missing?”

The mapping, a related issue definitely affects homeowners in a negative way and is also related to what location goes under the listing title. Here’s how: And I just checked this. Let’s say for example a person lives in Long Island City aka LIC NY. This is a neighborhood in Queens one subway stop or a quick bike or ferry trip from midtown Manhattan. This is definitely a part where you vote for the Mayor of NYC! The THS search engine does not recognize Long Island City. The homeowner will have to put either Queens or New York City for nearest village, city, or town. If they put NYC down the map dot will be in lower Manhattan and a sitter might think they are lying or withdraw when they realize it’s not Manhattan. If they say Queens, the map dot will be about 8 miles east of where they live in a section of Queens where it would take at least 45 minutes to get to mid-town. Both options are geographically inaccurate. The homeowner is at a disadvantage because the homeowner has no way of showing on a map how close they are to midtown. If the mapping was accurate, someone looking to be close to midtown could make an INFORMED decision about the sit before applying. The search engine could also be set with filters to show sits within say a 10 mile radius of mid-town. This benefits the sitter, but it also benefits homeowners, especially those in small villages or neighborhoods superconvenient to large cities. This is also how a home in LIC would appear on an Airbnb listing.

As I wrote here, previously: when I was desperate to fill a last minute sit, I had two applicants. Both former NYers who’d applied quickly because of the 5 application limit. Both were worth corresponding with. Both eventually withdraw AFTER they read the listing and realized what neighborhood I was in because they both remembered NYC 30 years ago when this would have been a “dangerous” place. That’s fine with me, but it was kind of a waste of my time. I would have much preferred they’d not applied in the first place but beyond having accurate information available to read on my listing, what could I have done differently?

Your theory that “THS always agrees with HOs. Therefore HOs must all love the ability to decieve sitters and that’s why THS won’t change this stupid system” is just not sound.

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This thread has really exploded hasn’t it! There are some very excellent points, very coherently argued by @Marion and @LIQ in particular.
One has to wonder what the original thinking was by THS when creating a system where an HO could pick the “nearest” (or, as we have seen, maybe more attractive) locality to where they actually lived. It was probably because THS went with their mapping provider, which wasn’t very good and/or hasn’t upgraded since the dawn of THS and/or was as much as THS could afford in their embryonic times.
This mapping provider (I wonder if I can detect what it is?**) can’t have many customers these days, because it’s so bad; this makes me wonder if THS purchased the software, without upgrade options, many years ago and now would face a big cost to use something more modern & capable. Naturally, it doesn’t want to do this or pay a licence fee to use something like Google. :woman_shrugging:t3:

**EDIT: Looks like it’s run by Mapbox.com Can any geeks confirm? If I’m right, Mapbox isn’t at all shabby so it must be a legacy issue.


Just as an example I searched my home city in the UK for sits with no filters applied. It shows 188 and when I applied the distance filter there are only 6 within the city itself. Some of the listings mentioned are over 2 hours away by car.
If I click on those 6 listings in my city it is quite possible some are already reviewing applications which will reduce the numbers even further. I can’t see anything changing in the foreseeable future as this topic has been raised many times over the years.

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HOs in Queens can choose Borough of Queens or Queens County, or New York City. But they can still put “Long Island City” under their photo, can’t they? I’ve seen listings with, say, Astoria or Forest Hills under the photo even though that’s not in the dropdown.

This is what I’m talking about. (I live in Queens, BTW.) Not Queens/Brooklyn vs. midtown Manhattan in the NYC location stakes. I’m talking NJ vs. NYC. MD/VA vs. DC. Middlesex vs. London. Basically when the HO specifically enters a location that is in their view a “nearby” location instead of their actual location. I’m not talking about maps or pins or how long it takes to get to that location by bike or on foot or by train. (You saying you’re in NYC is correct… midtown Manhattan is not the entirety of NYC, or even the best part.)

When I use the dropdown for “London, United Kingdom,” and there are 189 results, only 3 of them actually IN London, that means that 186 HOs outside London assigned themselves “London, United Kingdom” from that dropdown likely because they knew it would draw more clicks than, say Tunbridge Wells or Guildford—which many of them DO say under their listing photo. This becomes clear when they immediately tout their supposed proximity to London (which is usually a real reach, like “only a 40-minute train ride to [the outermost location that could reasonably be considered London]”) instead of their own town. How does that benefit a sitter applying to sit a dog that needs to be walked several times a day? How could they, in reality, spend any meaningful time at all in London, and would the HO even want them to? So why do this in the first place?

HOs need to stop doing this, but THS needs to implement a system that doesn’t allow them to. This is a two-pronged problem. HOs will keep doing it as long as they feel it’s to their advantage to “upgrade” their location, and only THS can control that. In the meantime, sitters have to keep dealing with endless clickbait. It is what it is.

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Thank you for this post. While it looks and sometimes feels like Marion and I are completely at odds, we both actually agree on the actual solution to this issue (though she has added more insight to the conversation from a HO’s perspective). It would be nice if THS took it onboard, because both HOs and sitters are wasting a lot of time and dealing with frustrations here. Accurate location information should not be optional.

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No @LIQ they can’t put Long Island City below the listing photo. What appears under the listing photo is based on the answer to the question: Nearest city, town, village. And you can only put down what is listed through their mapping system. My choices in Manhattan are limited to New York City (mapped as a dot in lower-Manhattan) or Manhattan (mapped as a dot in lower-Manhattan). I cannot put down a neighborhood like Morningside Heights or Inwood for example. Nor can people in Queens put down Astoria or Long Island City. I actually just double-checked this on my own listing to make sure I’m not speaking out of my butt. This is in fact the case. Updated to add: If you are seeing names like Astoria, Bay Ridge, Upper East Side, etc, you are seeing them as part of the listing title not under it. This is problably a “solution” some Homeowners have found.

For example I have a listing favorited that says “Astoria, NY, US.” Another that says “East Dulwich, United Kingdom.” Neither of those locations can be chosen from the dropdown menu on the search page, but they are below the photo. So now I’m really confused… (not being facetious, either!)

I am talking about the pulldown from the HOs listing dashboard. The location as it appears under the photo of the listing is based entirely on what the Homeowner puts in answer to “nearest city, town, or village”. If the HO tries to put Astoria (and I tried that one specifically) it won’t work. Neither will Williamsburg Brooklyn. Are you sure it doesn’t say Astoria in the listing title? I’m not talking about the listing title which the homeowner writes and which does not affect the search results or the map. I’m talking about below the listing. Also if you go to the listing you’ll see that the map dot is nowhere near Astoria. It’s possible there are more choices for higher tiered accounts, but I doubt that as people wouldn’t really notice it. It’s possibly if you are indeed seeing this below the photos that maybe the system used to allow for this and it’s grandfathered in. I don’t have an explanation. I just went to look for sits and I don’t see any coming up that have New York City neighborhoods listed below the photo. Again, homeowners can write any title for the listing. It won’t be related to the map or the search.

The map shows her exactly in Astoria, and the breadcrumb path under the map says “United States → New York → Astoria.” On the search listings page, it says “Astoria, NY, US” under the photo. This is really confusing!!

You can see the listing on this search page:

Wow! You are right. I’m shocked because I tried several variations of “Astoria” as a test. nd I’ve periodically returned to my location to try various ways to move the map dot, but no nearby neighborhood names work. I have been using my laptop to make any changes. I’m wondering if this works differently on Macs or phones? Again, technical issue, because I can’t find anyway to search as a sitter for Astoria specifically or to list in my actual neighborhood as opposed to general NYC. Programming nerds could you help us out?

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