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(Riccardo and other Couchsurfing users quoted in this article asked to be identified by pseudonyms.) On the business front, the crowdsourced hospitality site has been experiencing a rough patch lately.
After a controversial transition to a for-profit model in 2011, which brought million in funding in the past two years, growing pains have set in.
“I’m always sending him links like, ‘Hey, do you like this chick? ’ Then he always asks to do Facetime because he wants to see them.” “The first time,” he says, leaning over his beer, “I had two girls that stayed … She was in the process of moving to New York and needed a place to stay for four days while she looked for a permanent home.
Riccardo G.’s profile on Couch Surfing.com, the website that partners intrepid wanderers with willing hosts, notes that he lives in the “best neighborhood to go out and have drinks,” that he offers a “cozy/clean/nice sofa/couch” and that he’ll even let you bring your “small dog, if you just can’t live without him.” He describes himself as “amazing, outgoing, funny, smart” and says his interests include friends, eating, drinking, the gym and puppies.
His photos show the good-humored Latin American native — dark, handsome, and fit — in exotic destinations around the world, from Cairo to Capri.
At first, Riccardo could not believe it was that simple. “I’m going to sound like such a jerk just telling them.” But he tried it on his next guest and bingo.
“We got home just laughing and telling jokes, and I just said it. ’” “My friends say, ‘You’re telling me that line — get in my bed — it works?
“My first Couchsurfing hookup happened when I was staying with my friend in Miami,” Riccardo recalls. Months later Riccardo got a phone call from the same girl, asking if she could stay at his place in New York City. “I never talked to her again,” he admits, adding, “I mean, we’re friends on Facebook.” Couchsurfing was born after a budget-conscious traveler named Casey Fenton sent out a mass request for accommodations in Iceland and received 50 invitations from students with a free spare futon.