Since this week the option to make your profile public has been disabled. We noticed an influx in fake accounts this year, creating profiles just to show links with or without a cloud of words. We suspect that bots create those accounts to be indexed by search engines and therefore create more credibility and visibility by those engines.
That's why the Board of Directors recently decided it would be good to see if the amount of fake accounts decreases when disabling the option for profile pages to be indexed. This will be in effect at least until the next General Assembly where the members of BeVolunteer are asked to vote on this topic.
Members who have their profiles public can keep their profiles public, as long as they don't change their profile to private. As soon as the status has been changed, it can not be turned back to a public profile.
Those who closely follow our statistics page might have seen a sudden drop in the number of (new) members. You might wonder how the amount of new daily members can be a negative number: it's the sum of all who've joined and who's membership has been suspended or removed.
Every year BeWelcome sends out an e-mail to all who've not logged in for over a year. These members are asked to login once more to show they're still interested. By not logging in, the status is changed to 'inactive', and those members will not show up in the default search results. They can still be found and are not removed or suspended.
We recently found out that the members who confirmed their e-mail address, but never signed in, were excluded from these yearly login reminders. Totalling almost 2,300 members had a completely empty profile and never logged in, not contacted our support team to help them log in. That's why the BoD recently decided to suspend those profiles, since it's very unlikely any of them would be active at some time. If they want to become active again, they can do so by contacting us.
De facto, it means we have 2,300 profiles less in our member list. Although we are a bit sad to see our number sink, it means that there's a higher change finding real members who've at least logged in and showed interest in our hospitality exchange at one point. Quality above quantity!
We hope we will gain another 2,300 members soon again.
Behind the scenes, many volunteers work hard to enable rich encounters between members. For example, they welcome new members, they answer questions from our members, they make sure the servers and website are working, they remove fake spam accounts, they work on the new website, they translate texts in over 20 different languages and they do a lot more!
We would like to introduce you to some of our volunteers. Every one of them decided at one point to spend a little bit of time to help BeWelcome, making this the greatest non-profit, volunteer driven hospitality network out there!
Why did you join BeWelcome?
This is probably a very common story. I was a member of a similar website and I wasn't thrilled with the direction it was taking, until one day someone told me about the alternative “BeWelcome” and then I started using both. Finally, I was getting more involved in BeWelcome, because I identified much more with their ideas.
Why did you start volunteering? and in which teams are you active?
Luckily I have a lot of free time in my life, which allows me to be a volunteer for different organisations. I saw that BeWelcome needed a hand in the translation team. So I helped them to translate the website into Spanish. I believe that my work will increase BeWelcome's chances in Spain and South America, which potentially is a huge "market".
Could you tell us an interesting/nice experience in your volunteering experience?
Honestly the translation team is quite an independent experience. But something that keeps me entertained is checking a page where we can see the percentage of the website that has been translating to every language. English is always 100% and we try to keep the other languages as complete as possible. Sometimes you get close to 100% and it's a very nice feeling. But then, new content is created all the time and now the Spanish translations fell back to only 80%! So after finishing this interview I will translate a few pages. Congrats to the Portuguese translators by the way! They are at an amazing 99.6%!
Please give us three "keywords" which describe how is volunteering for your team(s).
Flexible: Because you don't have regular obligations. I can translate a huge part of the website if I feel very motivated one day, and then do nothing the other days.
Rewarding: I have also translated several newsletters that I actually receive in my own inbox. When I see them in my emails and I think about how thousands of people are being informed in their language thanks to my efforts, I feel what I have accomplished. But I have to say that I never read the newsletters again, because it would piss me off if I found any mistakes!
Enriching: Translating always teaches you new words and expressions and in my case it improves my knowledge of both Spanish and English.
What kind of traveller are you?
I was travelling almost non-stop for 4 years and I really enjoyed using hospitality networks. They always were my first choice. Visiting a place where you have some "friends" waiting for you is just perfect for me.
How many countries have you visited? What is your favourite country or place?
I know Europe quite well and Morocco and Senegal. So far Morocco (never in summer) is my favourite place to travel. It combines an exotic atmosphere with comfort. It's not that far away from Europe, and it's very easy to mingle with locals and to meet other travellers.
What is your favourite / coolest BeWelcome experience?
I had the chance to be in the BeVolunteer General Assembly in Furth a couple years ago and it was great experience to see how a group of passionate people try to make the most out of this project. Plus we got amazing food by the hosts there :)