Copy & Paste

Cork, Ireland – 3:45 a.m.

I love CouchSurfing.  It has changed my life in so many incredible ways I can't begin to count.  One of the best parts of it is that, despite — and I say this vehemently — not being a dating site, I met my luscious hubby through CS.  No, it was not a hosting situation.  We were both living in Napoli, both hosting people in our own, separate apartments.  We simply bumped into each other at a local gathering.  A love of travel in common, a shared belief in the good in humanity, even a few mutual friends.  Buonissimo!


Another fantastic cartoon by Natalie Dee.  Used with permission, of course.


There are those using the site who do not quite grasp the spirit of genuineness (not to be confused with Guinness), generosity, and connection that Couchsurfing seeks to embody.  There are different categories these pretenders to the throne (the throne of awesome, one would presume) fall into, not the least of which is the dread Copy And Paster.

A Copy And Paster does not read your profile before sending you a message, they simply construct one generic message and send it out scattershot style in the hopes that at least one tiny piece of electronic ammo will find a target.  It's not about connection, it's about convenience.  Why personalize a message when being generic saves so much time?  Coincidentally, the frequency of these types of messages seems to increase the deeper one gets into tourist season for one's particular locale.

And so it was when my upstairs neighbor, baffled that anyone would NOT want to be serenaded by himself, 2 guests, and an acoustic guitar at 3:45 in the morning on a Wednesday, woke me up that I received such a message.


Copy And Paster:

"Hey Girl!

I hope that you are doing well. I have a question actually and it is not a typical couch surfing question. I am going to be traveling to Cork, Ireland this fall. 

[blah blah blah college blah blah]

I have the option to live at the dorms at the college, but I would so much rather live with the Awesome Irish Folks who are from the area as opposed to in the dorms with other American People.

[long term hosting blah blah blah rent blah blah]

Have a great rest of your Day!"


Clearly there was only one way to handle this.


"Dear Copy And Paste Girl,

Try reading profiles before sending messages.

Awesome American Person"


…Too much?   Not enough?  Perhaps I should pity the fool.

Oh, listen to that — they put the guitar away.  Time to sleep.


Ever felt snarky upon a rude awakening?

Or perhaps received an email that was just the cherry on top
of an already cranky-makin' situation?


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  1. I love your response SO much. :-) I wish I had the nerve to say things like that to people.

    1. Thank you, Gray. I posted an abbreviated version to one of the local CS groups on Facebook. Not everyone was amused, though some clearly were. I generally avoid snarkiness online, but every once in a while it’s good to “give out,” as they say here in Ireland. And who knows? Maybe she’ll be a little more mindful next time. ;)

  2. Yeah the copy/pasters make a shitty first impression. When I was hosting that usually meant an automatic no. It was a copy/paste rejection of course!!

    1. Yeah, I had to learn to be discriminating when hosting. I signed up while living in the US, but lived in such a remote area that I never got requests. When I moved to Italy it was a different story. I was within walking distance of the Naples airport, so got inundated.

      I realized that if I was going to not burn out, I need to select guests with whom I was compatible and could share a meaningful experience. Copy-pasters who don’t read profiles pretty much disqualify themselves from that immediately.

  3. I find this annoying as well…especially when it’s for couch surfing, which I’ve never done but seems quite personal. You’re trying to connect with someone to spend your time with when visiting a place…I would think the person looking for a bed would want to send a genuine email so they could see if the host was a “match.”

    1. See, now that’s why I always hesitate to post snarkiness — I don’t want to prejudice anyone against anything! CS is actually wonderful, heartening, and amazing when used as intended. And it’s fairly easy to spot the pretenders once you’ve hosted or surfed a few times. I highly recommend it! Please do give it a shot! :)

  4. Cranky due to lack of sleep? :)
    I’ve been hosting since 2006, and love it. Mostly good experiences, but the odd strange one, copy paster, or user. I just started surfing 2 months ago. Now that it’s summer season, I’m having no luck. Hostels are great too, but expensive. I’d like a local guide, a cultural exchange.. not just see the sites and run.

    But kudos for the kind words about CS. Agreed. And amazing how it worked out for you.

    I went to my first CS event the other day in Berlin. I’ve got another tonight in Rome for the lunar eclipse. Excited!

    You’re in Ireland? I’d love to see your CS profile & request your couch. I should be there by end of summer.

    1. Hey, Ian! Yeah, surfing is a different world from hosting. I must admit, I’m more comfortable with the latter. At least it’s home territory and I always have a place to hide out!

      Drop me a message on the contact page with your CS profile. We can exchange info and see if it looks like we’re a good hosting-surfing match. Even if not, let me know when you make it to Cork! Great CS community here. :)

  5. hi Katrina; this is interesting; it is true that CS is not a Dating site but i know about a loooot of people who met their partner via meetings / hosting / surfing; which is great too, besides having friends all over the world, friends whom you will never meet if CS does not exist; it changed my life a looot too and it brought so much joy to it…:). the girl did not know that the person she sent an email for is indeed “an American and blah blah blah:)”; it is true that a looooot of people don’t check profiles and just keep sending copy paste messages but some of them hit the rock and got rewarded and mainly women in different cultures and countries. i got tons of that kind of messages and even once a woman called me “Ali” then i answered informing her that i am James Bond and not Ali Baba;).

    anyway; copy and paste makes it easier as you can not write a different message for 100 CSers in such a place BUT checking profiles is very important as it saves you from a lot of misunderstandings ahead.

    what drives me nuts is when people write “you are very interesting and we want to meet you! ooh can you host us as well?” and when you reply saying “my couch is busy for the moment but it will be great to meet you for a cup of tea” they never answer back; which means that my Couch is the one which is very interesting and me i am just a bridge to reach that free-food-bed service;).

    @Odysseus: what that guy mentioned in his CS profile indicates another different version of CSing; it is simply a BEDSURFING; there is other versions such as WALLETSURFING, WEEDSURFING…etc

    anyway; CS will soon hit the 3 millions but with 1 million of fake profiles, 1 million of honest profiles and 1 million of (bedsurfing, walletsurfing, weedsurfing….etc)

    greetings from the land of peace
    peace & hugs

    1. Sigh. Rachid, you know I love you, right? Please try to remember, dear one, that this is MY soapbox, eh? I know you don’t like fake CS-ers, but let’s remember how awesome it is. I mean, heck — it’s how we became friends, right?

      Love you and miss you, man. *hugs*

  6. Haha, just enough. I’ll admit I’ve sometimes used couchsurfing for the convenience but I *always* read through the profiles and only ask to surf w/ someone who sounds interesting and compatible with me. It doesn’t even make sense not to do this. For one thing, there are a few creepers (hosts) out there — like the guy who wrote he only had one bed that the surfer has to share with him and, oh, he only accepts surfing requests from women. At the very least, it’s good to read the profiles to avoid guys like that. And yes, of course, it’s also great to make genuine friend connections through CS, which is really the main point of CS anyway.

    1. Honestly, I can’t really condemn someone for copying part of a message. It *does* take a lot of time to write up something new for each request. In fact, CS even recognizes that by having a checkbox to allow you to save a message as a template. It’s just the “not bothering to read anything about you’ bit that gets me. Le sigh!

      Just read your post about the soup, btw. I will go comment. HI-larious!

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