Is my listing "private" and can I keep it that way?

I have some concerns about having my listing being public. I notice the following on my listing currently: Not-live - Please add dates. That is fine with me! We have no plans to go away anytime soon, and I see no reason to have private information including photos of my home up on a public website. Is this the way it works? If not, is there any way I can set my listing to private at all times that I am not accepting applications?

Hi @Marion, in the past I would have said you have correctly understood what “Not Live - Please add dates” means. However, THS seem to be including some listings with no specific dates under the currently advertised ones. I believe them to be sits that were recently advertised but no longer need a sitter. Hopefully @Therese-Moderator can advise you on this.

Your profile is essentially private until you post dates.

Some sits without dates are sometimes listed under sits in the same area but it’s random. For the most part, the only people who can see your listing are people who have saved it while it’s “live”.

IE. If I do a search for sits in “Calgary”, I see there are 22 live sits with current dates. If I scroll to the end of those sits, there are a handful of Calgary sits without dates but by no means all of them.

I’d also add that only members can see your sit even when it’s live. Random people on the internet can’t access them without an account (AFAIK).

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Hi @Marion. Your listing is visible, but only to members of TrustedHousesitters, not to the general public. When I looked it up it shows “Currently no sitter needed”. That’s how the TrustedHousesitters platform works. I’ve never heard of someone taking their listing offline, so TrustedHousesitters members couldn’t see it, once it was created.

I’m tagging @Therese-Moderator so, when she’s next online, she can let us know if she’s ever heard of anyone who has.

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Non-members can see your listing if they have a direct link to it. People can also browse/search for sits if they’re not logged in using the “Why not explore…” links in the footer of THS pages, so they could theoretically find your listing this way as well. You can try this yourself by logging out or opening a new private window on your browser.

I had once asked support if there was a way to “turn off” or hide my listing because I was about to move and it was no longer relevant. They said there was no way to do so. If you want to hide your info, I think you would have to take down the photos and clear the description yourself whenever you don’t have active dates, and possibly put in a placeholder picture/description in the meantime.

Thanks. I may do that. I hate to bring this up, but I am afraid that there may be legal issues for people in coops and condos with having overnight sitters. It could be considered an Airbnb like apartment share. It seems like a gray area, so I’d prefer not to have a listing visible.

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Agreed, but the chances of a non-member having a direct link are extremely slim.

And as far as “Why not Explore”, the most you can see is the small icon of 2 live sits if you’re not logged in. There’s no way to link it to a specific home owner.

This is what I see if I’m not logged in, I type in Calgary, Anytime.

I can’t get further than this.

Finally, as far as concerns about coops/condo rules etc, there’s no place on there that has your surname regardless, even to members. It might show some pics inside your home. And some pics of your pet. And a general location area. Extremely unlikely anyone from your condo would ever see it unless they are a member and specifically look for your sit and it’s live.

I would also recommend that you refer to your sitter as “a friend who is staying to look after my cat”.

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I agree, it’s highly unlikely that a random internet stranger would have a direct link to your house unless they had somehow gotten access to it previously.

It’s interesting that you get locked out when you go through the “Why not explore” links. I am able to click into the listings themselves before that “One last thing” popup appears, and at that point I have the direct URL and can paste it into a new window to view without any interruptions. Even more interesting, I didn’t get that pop up at all when I went to the “All house sitting locations” link, drilled down into British Columbia, and clicked around a couple listings.

Again, I very much agree that it’s all very unlikely and it would have to be very targeted for someone to find you, but security by anonymity (aka the idea that you wouldn’t be a target since you’re only one of a million people) isn’t actually very secure at all. How much this matters of course depends on how paranoid you are or how much you value your privacy, but it should at least be known that it’s certainly possible for someone to find photos of your house if they know what you look like and the city you live in.

At the very least, I don’t think it’s accurate to say that only members of THS can view your listing.

Anyway sorry for going off into this rabbit hole. I was a kid in the “the internet is full of dangerous strangers!!” era so think application security is an interesting black hole to jump into sometimes.

Wow, that is interesting. I wonder if it depends on what browser you are using? I have only tried in Chrome on a MacBook?

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I’m on chrome in on a macbook too! I had been trying this in the incognito window and tested again just now by logging out in my normal window. I got the popup when I did the British Columbia thing and clicked into house listings this time, so maybe it’s something with cookies? I’m not sure what makes it happen!

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There was recently a NYTimes story about a condo owner in NYC who was told she couldn’t have overnight guests in her home when she wasn’t home – paid or unpaid. The advice she got was YES your condo can make a rule that “guests” can’t stay in your apartment if you are not home. I get that this is a stupid rule given that you can have cleaners, petsitters, contractors, and all kinds of people using your keys and coming and going when you aren’t there as long as they don’t spend the night. I get that the fear is that people will use their homes as Airbnbs and this is terrible for your neighbors. THS homeowners are not doing this. They are obviously vetting the sitters because they are trusting the sitters with their pets, but what the the intent is, and what the law says may be two different things, so I’ve taken my identifying info off my listing and will put it back up the next time I need a sitter.

I do know that there are businesses that search for homeowner listings on Airbnb type sites to report to landlords. And there are offsite forums where people can put links to profiles, so I don’t think the privacy concern is entirely unwarranted.

I understand why it helps THS to have profiles they can use in advertising the site to more sitters, but I wish there were a simple “incognito” option for homeowners who aren’t actively looking for sitters.

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Thank you to everyone for the discussions and good advice.
As @Marion mentions, deleting some of the essential information from your listing, will make it ‘not live’, so this will now not show under the ‘currently unavailable listing’.

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