Visibility of House Sit

It was brought to my notice that dates I had listed looking for a house sitter were visible out with the THS website.
I was contacted by someone who isn’t a member of the community putting themselves forward for the sit.
They managed to find our contact details very quickly with a quick google search with the details we have on our profile.
I wasn’t aware that the website wasn’t secure I thought that only those who had signed up, paid and joined could see any details from our profiles.
I worry for those that have extensive photographs of their pets and homes on their profiles for the world to see.
My reason for posting this on the forum is to ask was everyone aware of this as I certainly wasn’t and it has made me incredibly uneasy.
I have spoken to THS at length on this topic and they confirm that the information on house sits is available to anyone.

Actually people who have not signed up, see a lot more live listings than the ones who are members. The reason is that the 5 applications rule doesn’t apply to people browsing the site without being subscribers.
It’s all to get more people to sign up as paying customers and that’s why they will not restrict the listings to members only.

Thank you for your comment. So being part of the THPS community does not afford the HO any security. All the sit information is out there details of pets and property and people who are not part of what I thought was a trusted community can see more than those who have signed up, that doesn’t seem right.

Yes, the profile pages are accessible for anybody who has the url but in the header there is a meta-tag "name=“robots” content=“noindex” "

This makes that responsible search engines like Google do not index the contents. That is more privacy than on some sites for home exchanges etc.

If you want more privacy/security it is better to use paid sitters and that kind of agencies.

It depends on what you put online. I certainly would not post my address there. Also I certainly would not accept someone who isn’t a member.
On Facebook people post more personal stuff and don’t have sitters who look after the pets. Then they are surprised when after posting vacation pictures that their house has been broken into and robbed. This won’t happen when you have sitters staying there :wink:

Also people can sign up for a free account for even more browsing! This is done to drawer in possible sitters. I asked if there was any way to keep my account invisible between sits. There isn’t BUT one work around I was using for a while was to take down my home photos which seemed to prevent the listing from being live. This means browsing sitters can’t favor it, but otherwise I’m not sure there’s a downside. Another work around would be to bit more careful about the information. Basically, however, your home and pets can be part of the advertising for the site. There is NO opt out.

For sure if someone who wasn’t a member with a profile contacted me because they’d been able to see my listing, I would absolutely report it to THS because they need to know this breach exists if for no other reason than when the inevitable lawsuit happens, they won’t be able to say they didn’t know this was a problem.

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Anyone can sign up for a free account which will allow them to view listings. They will then have to pay to be able to contact for any posted sit. this is fairly common across many sitting sites as people won’t pay blind not know what is on offer.
I’m not sure what you had listed in your profile to allow them to work out your contact details but they would have had free full access to what is available to paid members.

One way would be to do a reverse image search, for example on a photo of the property.

Or they lived close by and they just recognized the house.

Hello @NjC

What an interesting thread! I am just here to let you know some more information and to offer some reassurance so you can make the best choice for your listings and profiles.

TrustedHousesitters is in the public domain, so to confirm as some of you have already mentioned (thank you!) the listing and profile links can be seen by the public, if a URL is shared by someone or someone comes to the website and then they will be asked to create a free account.

TrustedHousesitters does not share or show on profiles/listings full names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses or any personal information. If this is found on listings during approvals it is removed.

Things to think about is do you have any photos that show street addresses, car number plates etc, again these are removed if found during the approval phase for new listings, but check after approval you are not uploading anything like this.

Some owners only like to post photos of the inside of their home, so the outside remains private until the sitters arrive.

Do you have a unique name and/or live in a small location? You can always Google your first name and location and see what comes up. If you find any URLs on Google search, you can then email Google and ask for these to be deleted.

Google are very good at doing this, but it does take time. The secret is also not to continually google yourself until after Google has removed the various URLs, ideally leave it at least 8 weeks from what we have seen, but Google will know more.

The best bet is to look at your listing or profile, see what it contains and Google using that information and see if anything comes up.

Also, remember that sometimes other members share links to their friends etc and may give more information. We asked our friends if they share the link to our profile to make sure they don’t give out our phone number and tell their friends to join the site to be able to contact us.

I hope that helps and there have also been some really helpful answers on this thread @pietkuip @cawosey @Pawtastic @Marion Thank you :grin: