I saw a discussion about adding feature to block other users. I personally agree we should be able to do this as there are some sitters I am tired of applying to all my sits who i will never let into my home. But if that isn’t on the table right now, then please prevent people from re-applying for house sits after you decline them, at least until you send an invitation or you add/modify the dates. I keep having house sitters who I decline re-apply after I explained they aren’t the right fit for us. I just had one apply, I declined with an explanation, and then the sitter re-applied in less than 20 minutes, declined, and then they APPLIED A THIRD TIME all in less than an hour. This is a nuisance and could simply be prevented with this added feature.
Update: the sitter has now applied (and been decined) 4 times within 24 hours.
I wish we could do this. I had a sitter apply for my first sit with no message, just an application and he did not introduce himself of anything. So I wrote to hime saying I need more from you than just a blank application so I am rejecting your application. And when I had anther sit advertised he applied again the same way. I wish I could block him.
As someone else suggested, they may be a bot, a computer program.
There are several reports about this kind of thing now.
@stewartlikeshousesitting sadly, this may be a disgruntled rejected applicant. By doing this they would be triggering the pausing after five applicants, so limiting your possible matches by taking up space. It’s certainly a despicable tactic but some people are revengeful in life.
Ya I’m sure some people set up an automatic apply script for saved searches as a way to get their applications sent in first before the 5 application limit is triggered. Would explain how it’s virtually impossible to apply to places in Venice for example as 100% of the time when I’m notified for a sit there it’s already received all 5 applications as soon as I click the notification for it (and I do sometimes click it instantly by accident if I’m using my phone)
This sounds like bot behavior. When it became a competition to apply for good sits I’m sure clever people are willing to ensure they win.
@weirdholyman Some people have written on this forum that they press “refresh” all the time and that that is how they find sits in attractive locations before the notifications. Or the house sits without pets.
When someone is doing that all day, they will think of automation. Or their partner will.
That’s an interesting thought… due to the popularity of certain sits & the speed with which they now go to ‘reviewing’ status (5 appl), are some people using automated scripts to be able to apply to their saved favourites faster than others can??
Well, this behaviour (using bots) is unlikely to be what THS intended when they introduced the beloved 5 app rule…
If more people used it this might be able to get rid of the rule
@Myhnabird those of us that argued against the change said that people would work out ways to get around it. I, myself, have worked out and applied a few new strategies. But it appears some people are able to leverage technology as well. Even more unfair to not-so-tech-savvy loyal members.
I don’t understand how this is done. Can someone explain how they do this, to a not so savvy tech user? I’m getting soooo frustrated with the five ruling.
Do you just keep your page open where you have your criteria listed then keep refreshing the page? I don’t get it Geez, have we really come down to this just to try to get a sit?
You can’t compete against bots - doesn’t work on ebay and it won’t work here. THS is really going to have to do something about this or it’ll be the end of their business.
I have thought about what one could do. (This is not my area of expertise though, and I am not into computer hacking.)
Many websites have an API (Application Programming Interface) with public specifications. For example WarmShowers (the hospex site for touring cyclists) had this. It is how an app or a browser communicates with the database. There were volunteer programmers that used that to program their own mobile app. Or Twitter (before Musk) had a public API and people wrote their own mobile apps.
When such a thing is not public, one can try to figure it out, by reverse engineering.
Then one can make a program with GET and PUSH commands to scrape data from the database and to send commands. It would take me some time but I think I could do it. (I have done this kind of thing for legit purposes.)
The greatest challenge would be to reverse engineer the API, but it is probably quite standard. The THS software is ten years old, probably a soft target for a halfway decent hacker. The version before that was public (one can still find the specifications on Github.)
Such a program could interrogate the server several times per minute, to ask for sits in Paris with just a cat. And it could send an application. And notify the bot owner.
There are online communities of hackers where one could get some help. For free, or one could hire a wizkid (in India or Thailand or Africa) to do this for you. It should not be that expensive. I would estimate that an amount like the THS basic membership fee should get you there
Or I could get the grandkids to sort it out (if I had any)
@ziggy Necessity is the mother of invention.
@Timshazz I wish people wouldn’t confuse me with facts
Curious I did a quick search: “bot to automate THS applications” This guy did it for job sites. Pretty sure THS would be a pushover https://www.fastcompany.com/3069166/i-built-a-bot-to-apply-to-thousands-of-jobs-at-once-heres-what-i-learned
It wasn’t successful in this case. Some of the reasons would apply to the same thing in THS. But many don’t apply, so the approach could result in success. It’s a numbers game and will quickly clog up the system. Sitters are already frustrated with the 5 app limitation. This will exacerbate the situation if a reality.