Product Update - June 2022

Completely agree.

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Please don’t do this. There are many other things that have been brought up as site improvements.

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@will, thank you and agreed.

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I’ve just re-read the thread : ‘Really disappointed since joining’ and there are several HOs there who admit they take the first sitter who applies!
So under this new system, YOU REALLY DO HAVE TO BE THE FIRST APPLICANT!

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:clap:t3::clap:t3::clap:t3::clap:t3::clap:t3::clap:t3::clap:t3::clap:t3::clap:t3::clap:t3::clap:t3::clap:t3:
Thank you. That’s exactly my point of view!

Unless I missed a reply, there hasn’t been a HO yet who has responded positively to this change, and they are the ones who are negatively affected by it. Whatever sitters might think of it isn’t really relevant, and it saddens me that @Ben-ProductManager and the product team are completely disregarding the feedback they have received from HOs on this thread who have, so far, said they do not want this change. I’ll say it again, not that anyone’s listening, we’re all adults here with free will: if you don’t like the response rate from a HO, move on. Don’t ask TH to try to manipulate them into behaving differently.

I’ll remind everyone that some UK sitters didn’t like it all when TH tried to manipulate their behaviour, yet some of those same sitters now seem to be okay with them manipulating HOs…? https://forum.trustedhousesitters.com/t/website-search-showing-local-sits-only

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Another question?

For members in the know! Is this a process other pet/house sitting sites use?

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Yet we were told the review system was a priority for this year…….(awaits this remark to be removed/moderated) :joy:

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Like you I apply then move on.
My comment was aimed at those who have complained, quite vocally, about hearing no replies from pet owners. Being rejected without their application being read and so many other things. To me, and as you pointed out correctly, as a sitter it is a way forward to speed up the process. Already today I have withdrawn an application for a fantastic looking sit because I accepted another one for the same dates. Both responded quickly but one was in a position to talk and accept immediately. The other hadn’t got their ducks lined up and wasn’t yet in a position to commit. This system could stop things like that happening.
Of course a few pet owners don’t like the sound of this new system. It means they have to be proactive and make decisions instead of ignoring sitters then complaining when it’s a couple of weeks to their holiday and they don’t have a decent sitter.
This will affect a very few. The others can keep sitters applying by unpausing their sit until they find their ideal sitter. In the meantime they can reject (I hate that word but can’t think of a better one) those they feel do not fit their requirements.
Well, that’s the way I’m reading it. It’s a way of making the system quicker and smoother.

Improvements to the site are never going to be liked by everyone. There have been one in particular I was very vocally against but it happened and I live with it. One thing I have to keep reminding myself is that THS is an expanding business and the bottom line is making money. As something gets bigger it has to be streamlined to work or it sinks under its own weight. That’s what they are doing. They know there will be a few casualties along the way but there’s no stopping a juggernaut.
Here’s to finding that perfect sit this summer. Just spotted one on Lake Ontario. Wish me luck!
Elsie

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This is an unfair characterization of those HOs who have complained about the new change. I never ignore sitters. I respond to everyone quickly, acknowledging their application. If they don’t like my timeline, they can withdraw their application. We don’t need THS to police the timing of our interactions. If I list a sit for Christmas 2022 now, and don’t make a decision until November 2022, that’s between me and the sitters.

If you are not a HO that currently lists sits, you cannot have the perspective that we do. I’m a sitter also, BTW, not just a HO.

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My comments were not aimed at anyone in particular. If you or anyone else is offended I apologise.
As I have already said I apply, then move on. If a pet owner wants to talk some more great. If they want to ignore me or reject me also fine. I have no problem. But no one who reads the forum can miss the comments from sitters who don’t think like that and are confused with how the system works. May I ask a side question, why post a Christmas sit (example) when you are not ready to commit to a sitter? That does bother me. I have at least half dozen pending sits in my archive where the pet sitter has answered but says their plans are not finalised. Wouldn’t it be better to wait until everything is done?
You bring up a very good point. Maybe education on how the application system works is needed. I know how it is for a sitters perspective but don’t know all the nitty gritty of the pet owners side. And I’m sure it’s the same the opposite way. Online seminar?

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I’m not an expert in the algorithms but I do know that on one of the other sites, there can be as many as 65 applicants and yet the sit remains active. I would hope this new ‘trial change’ would alleviate the high number of applicants on the more popular sits that come up on THS. There is some flexibility at least for the HO’s and they can pause and restart their sit if they haven’t found the perfect sitter in the first five. I personally would like to see it set at 10 however. Like has been said already, it is a work in progress.

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Personally, I find this offensive to HO’s and highly detrimental to sitters. As someone paying a hefty price to see listings, the last thing I want is to find I cannot apply for a sit because 5 other people happened to post first? And as a homeowner I would want to see ALL applications regardless of order posted so that I could choose the best fitting person for MY home and pets. I understand the concerns expressed but this is definitely NOT the right way to proceed. I can see that all HO’s could be advised to send a “we are reviewing applications” notice in the first 3 ish days from the application posting. But really some depends on how soon the sit will be? Limiting a HO to 5 before proceeding is ridiculous IMO. And as a sitter who may be asleep in the time zone or out walking pets, a time limit this tight would mean I miss a large # of sits. This is a business for which we are all paying . This is not kindergarten where a bell rings for the next timed activity. This is NOT helpful to anyone IMO. HO’s or Sitters. I do quite like when a HO sends a notice saying we are reviewing all apps now and hope to chose someone in the next ## days. THAT is both helpful and kind.

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@ElsieDownie my thoughts exactly!

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Hello @Ben-ProductManager,

My wife and I have really enjoyed being a part of the THS community for the past 2 years. Thank you for all you do in making that possible. Without reiterating some of our concerns already stated, we wished to suggest an alternative approach for the team’s consideration. We hoped this addresses some of the challenges inherent in serving a two-sided market, while at the same time retaining some flexibility for both sitters and HOs.

HO posts a sit and it goes live
Sit will be live for at least 24 hours AND after those 24 hours have elapsed, until 5 applications have been received.

Case 1:
Housesit goes live and receives 20 applications in the first 24 hours. Housesit listing is paused (no longer live for sitters to see / apply) at the end of the 24 hours. HO can re-list if none of the 20 are suitable and enough are rejected to bring the threshold below 5 sitter applications. At that time, can re-list for the following same parameters.

Case 2:
Housesit goes live and receives 3 applications in the first 24 hours. The housesit listing stays live. During the 3rd day, the 5th application is received and the housesit listing is paused. HO can re-list after rejecting enough applications to go below the 5 application threshold.

Hope this perspective adds value.

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I am a home owner and to me it is not a problem at all. I always answer very quickly, I am able to keep one or two applicants, who might be ok but not perfect and decline the others, who are not suitable. I understand that, as soon as I decline some applications, others can apply.
I don’t understand why people post a listing, receive numerous applications and then don’t bother to reply for weeks.
When my dates go online I know there might be more than one person applying and I plan to find the time to answer them.

I have read about fairness. Well, nothing really is fair to everyone. That’s life.
Depending on the location of the sit there will always be people who can apply earlier but for different time zones others will be faster.

Most of the sitters and home owners won’t even realize the new rules. Relax and wait how it’s going to work out. It will, I am sure.

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100% agree with the comment that it is unfair and not what we signed up for as sitters to be able to see listings, but not apply to them. That is exactly what the membership fee is for.

I am also in full support of the HO who commented they may not want to decide till closer till the sit dates and it is unpleasant to feel pressured or have THS micromanage the pace of their planning. My own travel style is more spontaneous and last-minute, and my ideal communications with HOs might start with getting in touch well in advance when I first notice the listing, but having a slower dialogue and waiting to see how other plans shake out before confirming closer to the actual dates. I don’t appreciate being told by THS or anyone else that my travel style is not ok with them, and if an HO wants me to confirm right away months in advance or take the risk that they will go with someone else who is ready to confirm sooner, it is my choice and no one else’s to decide that I am fine with that.

Question: will we still be able to message each other when a listing is “paused”? Will the listing still appear in searches, but with “apply now” greyed out?

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@Engadine AussieHousesitters lower an owner’s rating if they do not respond to applications within a certain time frame.

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This, this, this. THS should be here to support sitters and HOs and provide an optimal platform to facilitate our interactions - not manipulate anyone’s behavior!

I disagree that sitter’s opinions aren’t relevant though, because the application pause will absolutely affect both sides of the equation (and may totally distort sitters behavior as we start feeling the need to rush in with quick & dirty applications lest we not be in the first 5). I have already noticed that THS tends towards giving better and more targeted support for HOs than sitters, so I don’t think it’s necessarily productive to give them feedback that encourages this approach. But hopefully the strong majority of HO feedback against the application pause will be persuasive to them at least, even if they ignore all of the sitters’ comments!

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Well maybe people shouldn’t be complaining so much about HOs not reading applications… careful what you wish for!

Given the way this forum is handled and how THS responds to feedback, we would probably do well to be very clear about when we are simply venting or trying to discuss a topic with each other vs. providing feedback to THS and requesting that they take action in response to it.

This often seems to be taken as an extension of member services, and the team treats every comment as a request for action, which is commendable to some extent - but sometimes people are simply venting or sharing their thoughts in an informal manner as well, after all it is a “forum” :slight_smile:

I seriously doubt that anyone who has ever posted a comment on their frustration with HOs not having read their application had any desire for THS to impose such a bizarre “solution.”

And it completely ignores the very obvious point that many unread messages may simply have been read on the app.

I think it is far more important to allow HOs and sitters both the flexibility of initiating conversations with each other through the messaging system on here, even if not every exchange leads to someone clicking “confirm” or “decline” or even a reply at all.

I would love to hear if anyone feels they will be well served by the new system of pausing applications. Or if anyone feels this issue was higher priority than others, like the review system, protecting sitters from retaliatory reviews if we have to bring up a rules violation by an HO (like undisclosed cameras), letting sitters advertise their desired locations or availability, adding more search functionality, or any number of feature requests I’ve seen on the forum.

Thanks to Ben and the team though for their efforts at making changes they think will help. It seems like there is simply a disconnect between where these efforts are being directed, and what the community actually wants and would be served by. Of course the THS team cannot force HOs to be more responsive or make faster decisions on sit applications - but precisely because of this, I would argue it makes no sense for them to try! Because this is a volunteer exchange and not a paid dogsitting app like others that are out there, it simply makes no sense to treat it that way. Everyone who has signed up for this site knows that our membership fee is for the team to maintain the platform and facilitate our making our own connections and arrangements with each other. I don’t expect them to hold my hand or share the heavy lifting of the search and application process for me, and it’s unfortunate if others made the THS team feel as though this was their role. Better stick with providing functionality on the platform than trying to control the actions and decision-making process of its users.

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