“Honesty is for the most part, less profitable than dishonesty.” ~ Plato
Last week, right after I released my updated Love Home Swap website review, I noticed that LHS updated their search interface. Among other changes, they removed a filter that I criticized pretty harshly.
Overall I’m disappointed with the LoveHomeSwap search functionality. … It is also very important that you change the default “Filter By” box to “All Results” or you won’t see all of the homes available for your search. When I did a test search on San Francisco leaving that box with the default “Editor’s Picks” I got 66 listings. When I changed it to “All Results” I got 462 listings! I can’t believe I never noticed this before. And I also can’t believe the default setting eliminates most results from your searches. That’s a terrible design.
That “Editor’s Picks” vs “All Results” box is now gone from the search options on my member account. And the total listings in San Francisco is now 67. Yes, this means I was wrong, “All Results” apparently wasn’t really all results, it was something else entirely.
A reader responded to my review with an important and telling comment. You can find this comment at the bottom of the review I linked to above, but I think it’s important enough to quote here in full:
The ‘Filter by’ drop down is important. My research strongly suggests that the default filter of ‘Editor’s Pick’ shows all of the current (paid and trial) listings. Changing the filter to ‘All Results’ shows all listings that have ever been on the site including long expired free trial members.
I know of one lady who took a free trial in 2009, completed her listing but did not join – her listing is still shown under ‘All Results’ 8 years later. That’s why the default is set to ‘Editor’s Pick’ so that users primarily contact current members. If users contact long-expired members, the expired member will still get the message but will have to pay a significant fee to reply – hence the low response rate.
Last time I counted the ‘Editor’s Pick’ listings in February, I got 8478 listings. It is my conclusion that this is a much more realistic estimate of the actual number of active listings i.e current paid and current trial members – far lower than the figure that you quote. *
So “All Results” was actually giving users the option to pull up tens of thousands of inactive listings. A complete waste of time!
With LHS removing this filter, and apparently defaulting now to only display “Editor’s Pick” listings, I think they might have finally decided to stop displaying inactive listings. But unfortunately this change is only in the search displayed to members who are logged in. For people considering membership, and conducting test searches, the “Editor’s Pick” and “All Results” options still show up, which is still quite deceptive for people shopping around for a new home exchange network. One person who has a free trial account reports also still seeing the deceptive “All Results” option for searches.
Based on the change to members’ searches, and the feedback from a few people about how LHS includes inactive members’ listings, I’m changing my count of active listings on the LoveHomeSwap network. The total number of listings on LoveHomeSwap is 8,394.
I’ll be updating my review of this site soon, since my previous count was obviously way off, as it included tens of thousands of inactive listings.
*Note, the author of this comment is the owner of HomeLink UK, another home exchange network. She obviously has a strong interest in exposing dishonest member counts from the competition, but from all the evidence she has provided to me (publicly and privately), and my own research, I believe her comments are correct.