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His case prompted Judge Andrew Woolman to tell the court that just because women sign up to the website, it "does not mean that the consent to sex." Meanwhile, in January 2017, Ryan Schofield, who met a string of women on Plenty of Fish and other sites, was jailed after attacking eight victims over a seven-year period.In Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Schofield stormed out of the dock as prosecutors detailed his shocking history of violence against a string of girlfriends dating back to 2009.He accepts them based on their attractiveness “of course,” but physical appearance isn’t the only criterion.“I’ve seen cute girls that have boring pictures and I’m like, ‘You look boring, sorry.’ At the end of the day I’m going to spend three days with you.Today, each of the site’s 7 million members has a unique profile which reads like a personal ad, highlighting interests, locations traveled, details about their accommodations and, most important, references.This system allows friends you’ve made globally or locally to vouch for you and the unlikelihood of you being a serial killer.
Although the company has initiated a doubling down on mobile, the experience of users like Riccardo might suggest another path to profitability. The almost decade-old Couchsurfing, which is available in 100,000 cities across the globe, is becoming the go-to hookup app for a certain class of young world travelers.In February 2017, 27-year-old Scott Lazenby was jailed seven years for raping one woman he met on the site and molesting another victim in front of her own son.Lazenby, from Colne, in Lancashire, had exchanged messages with both via Plenty of Fish website before arranging to meet them both on “dates”, Burnley Crown Court was told.(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.