Exciting times ahead for People Like Us

This plan was not implemented due to covid. The information in this blog post may be out of date

People Like Us will shortly introduce a subscription fee for “Premium” members. We will also retain a free “Basic” plan which anyone can join to “try before they buy”.

I have not yet finalised the fee level but will commit that it will be under $USD100 annually, and we’ll have a discount and an additional incentive for multiple years purchased at the same time.

Why do we need a fee? I love People Like Us and I’m very proud of the community we’ve created together but I acknowledge that while in such a short time it’s already become the largest general free home exchange site, we need to grow. It’s still too small to be viable and for everyone to get the exchanges that they’re looking for.

Over the past two years I’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars of my own money and thousands of hours of effort in establishing and running the site but it’s currently limited by my own time and resources. I’m a bottleneck!

We need to grow and to do that, I need funds to invest.

Over the past year, our impressive growth has been achieved without any paid advertising. Think of what could be achieved if we were able to advertise like the big guys!

I love what we have to offer but it’s almost certain that 95%+ of the home exchanging world has never heard of us! Our beautiful community that we all invest our time in, that we KNOW people would also love if only they got to experience it, is UNKNOWN to these people! Home exchange is not for everyone but we know that there are many, many people out there who would love to be a part of People Like Us if only they got to try it.

We MUST tell them about it!

We don’t have to be the biggest in the world and, in fact, I don’t want to be. Our growth has to be steady, managed, and “consumed” in a way that never changes our spirit and ethos. But we do have to grow, hence the subscription fee.

As I’ve travelled around Europe over the past 6 weeks, thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging about the introduction of fees. Your support has been quite overwhelming.

I’ve spent this last week working on what features would be available under a Basic service and what would be saved for Premium members. As always, your feedback is welcome.

This is my draft working list.

Basic members can:

  • Register, set up a member profile and list one home
  • Search for homes using all existing filters.
  • Send and receive a “nudge”* to other members.
  • Make homes favourite and see a list of their favourites.
  • See basic details of a listing (but not secured parts such as names of Premium members, maps, calendars, detailed descriptions, member descriptions and desired destinations).
  • Join the regular (existing) Facebook group
  • Receive support on a “best efforts” basis
  • A nudge will be a predefined message that can be used to express interest in exchanging with another member. Basic members will not be able to contact other members via the PLU messaging system but will be able to send a nudge to express interest in another member’s home and receive a positive or negative response (like a thumbs up / thumbs down response). They will also be able to receive nudges from other members and provide a response. Nudges will allow Basic members the ability to gauge interest in their homes without having to pay to join.

Premium members receive all Basic inclusions, plus:

  • Unlimited home listings
  • Unlimited exchanges
  • “Premium” badging on their listings to make them stand out
  • Appear at the top of search results
  • Earn and use Globes
  • Saved searches
  • See all member details
  • Send and receive messages to/from other Premium members
  • Make exchange proposals, accept and finalise them
  • Provide and receive feedback for completed exchanges
  • Provide and receive references to/from other members
  • Send a nudge to a Basic member to express interest in their home
  • See who has favourited their home
  • Set up and save trips
  • Influence the future direction of the site by providing suggestions and voting on new features
  • Premium Members-only Facebook group
  • Priority Support

Globes will only be available to paying members but, acknowledging that some people who currently have Globes and who may not sign up immediately for various reasons, we will keep their Globes in the bank for a period to allow them to sign up and retain their Globe. This will be for a limited period (yet to be determined).

For current members who already have exchanges booked / accepted / finalised and who do not wish to become Premium members, we won’t have functionality to support this but if both parties are happy for the exchange to go ahead, I have no objection. Details will need to be worked out between the members. Future exchanges can only take place between Premium members.

I’ve started working on the framework for this but there’s a lot of work to do, including a few new features. I’m aiming for March, but I’ll see how I go.

As always, all comments are welcome. Contact me via the site (https://peoplelikeus.world/messages/user/1) or email (drew@peoplelikeus.world). This will also be cross-posted to our Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/peoplelikeus.world) for discussion.

;