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USING WORKAWAY

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1. Posted by tallulah52 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3y

I would advise anyone thinking of using Workaway.com to think carefully.

I signed up with them over a year ago and parted with my cash, only to be completely ignored by them. I applied for several positions on their website - only one person responded and that was to tell me she had not been registered with Workaway for a long time! Have requested my money back but have been met with a stony silence.

Maybe a few lucky people find something but I think the whole thing is a bit of a con.

Moderator Note
This thread has now been closed. We at Travellerspoint feel that all relevant information has been discussed here and any additional contributions were not adding anything constructive. We are leaving this thread here, but please treat the comments in the thread with skepticism as most of the contributors are posting anonymously. Despite one post from Workaway in this thread where they didn't acknowledge who they were, Travellerspoint's view is that they are not a con and there is no need to be too concerned if you were considering signing up with them.

[ Edit: Closed thread, added note ]

2. Posted by workawayalex (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3y

Hi,

this is Alex from the Workaway team.

I am sorry you did not find a place to volunteer via workaway, but as you probably know it depends on how you present yourself in your profile, skills you can offer, and how you communicate with hosts, whether hosts you contact invite you to come stay with them - and sometimes even whether they reply or not.

You can be assured Workaway and all host profiles you can see online are real. We have more than 16.000 likes on facebook, the Guardian wrote two articles about workaway (you can find links on our site), a german official EU website links to us:
http://europa.eu/youth/volunteering_-_exchanges/index_de_de.html

You can see new real feedback regarding exchanges on our website every day (currently more than 3.300 - but this is only a small part, since workaway has been around a lot longer than our feedback system, and not all exchanges lead to feedback on our website).

As for replying to emails, I dare to say that more than 99% of emails we receive are replied to within 24 hours.

Of course we can not guarantee everyone who signs up, that they can volunteer at one of the hosts they contact - how could we?? We post the listings, enable contact, and constantly try to improve our website. Everything else is up to hosts and workawayers.
If you want to be guaranteed a place to volunteer, you might want to consider signing up with an agency for volunteering - but be prepared to pay lots more than the workaway fee :-)

Best wishes
Alex
www.workaway.info

Post 3 was removed by a moderator
4. Posted by voluntour (Budding Member 5 posts) 2y

I feel I must contribute to this thread.

I have had the same exact experience as tallulah52: I have contacted many (!) potential hosts and have not once received a response. I find other features of this site worrying (in their difference from such established sites as wwoof), namely:

- there is no forum to discuss experiences, ideas etc
- it is impossible to view other workawayers' profiles
- the "meet other workawayers" option (where you can see who else is volunteering in the same area) has never once identified another person, only an empty balloon on a google map
- the only host reviews are consistently "excellent" or "very good", and with the few that are rated "poor" the text box is empty

Furthermore, in the article that Alex has referenced above, the author does not use the workaway.info site, but is rather referred to a particular host by the site's creator. This does not officially lend credence to the site's authenticity.

There is indeed a facebook page, but it has only 5,494 likes (not 16,000+), and the only posts without exception are by workaway.info themselves. Again there is no third-party evidence that supports the posts by workaway.info.

On the facebook page is a link to the "new feedback gallery" (https://www.workaway.info/feedback-lg-en.html) which does not actually exist.

Most travel guides rely on internet research and so being included in a travel guide does not constitute being validated by the travel guide.

In a quick search about this issue, there are many other people who have posted their own very similar experience, that they have either never received a response from a host, or that the host responds to say that they have moved, their situation has changed etc., and they can no longer accept workawayers. In fact, the ONLY replies that say the opposite are by new members who joined the same day of that post, and who have never posted again. It is entirely possible those are fake accounts created by workaway.info to give themselves some reliable-looking feedback.

I would love to see some feedback from people who have successfully used workaway.info. In light of the above concerns, I would only find posts by established forum members, who can provide provable details as to their experience, credible. I would not find further posts by workaway.info staff to be particularly convincing.

Anyone?

5. Posted by Bush hunter (Budding Member 2 posts) 2y

Thought I'd throw my views into this little discussion,

First off, I'm not an established forum member, but it seems a bit presumptuous for someone who's posted once in these forums (voluntour) to ask for experienced replies.

It seems that voluntour is another volunteering site, and thus I give less credence to the criticisms of Workaway from this user.

As a volunteer, I've found that persistence is necessary to find a good placement, but to accuse workaway of using fake accounts to promote themselves only leads me to think that voluntour has some ulterior motive.

I do not want to get into a slanging match here, but thought I'd post some links to independent bloggers and wikipedia to show that it's not a con:

http://vickyflipfloptravels.com/what-is-workaway/

http://westcoastnomads.com/archives/1168

http://nogginfarm.blogspot.com.es/2011/07/we-have-just-flopped-on-sofa-with-cup.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workaway

https://gracestainback.wordpress.com/tag/workaway/

6. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5579 posts) 2y

Just to be clear; is your email address correct Bush hunter (ie. you are actually affiliated with workaway)?

I can clearly see how the poster before you would see the activity levels of posters on a forum to indicate that they and their opinions are legit/trustworthy. It is for example quite easy to have a search set up in Google that informs you every time a company name is used on a forum/blog post and thus respond to that within a day or two. That's the kind of step typically taken by those working for a company. The chances of a random someone that has used a service other than really really really popular ones (skype/twitter etc) coming along and seeing a thread/post within a few days of it being posted are very small and they become infinitely smaller the more often they occur.

As a business owner myself, I also track mentions of our name. It's whether or not you respond as the company itself (Alex's response above), or pose as a random user even though you aren't, that makes a big difference to people's perception of the reliability of the company (not to mention the possible legal ramifications).

On a side note, my very first thought when reading voluntour's response was that it might be from a competitor, but I have not been able to find any info that back that up (as you can see I'm an admin/owner here on TP and we have a few little tricks up our sleeve for uncovering potential promotional/deceitful posts in either the forum or the blogs).

Post 7 was removed by a moderator
8. Posted by voluntour (Budding Member 5 posts) 2y

Wow.

So the only person to step forward turns out to be an employee of workaway, using a misleading post from a fake account. What a surprise.

"to accuse workaway of using fake accounts to promote themselves" Yes, I had a suspicion, but you guys actually proved it. Thanks for that.

Which means not only are they shady businessmen, but that they knew there wouldn't be an established member to step forward and stand up for them.

They even asked the administrator to remove my post. But he is now satisfied that I am a private citizen in no way connected to any competing travel organization. Many thanks to Sam I Am for his thorough research and for providing an honest, open forum where travellers can help each other navigate the hazards of voyage, be they visa hassles... or shady travel organizations.

We will never know what is really going on at workaway.info, but we do know some things:

Fact: Many people who use the service do so with no success.

Fact: Workaway employees use misleading tactics to shut down their critics (thanks to Bush hunter for this one).

Personally, that's all I need to know.

9. Posted by workawaydavid (Budding Member 2 posts) 2y

Hi,

I´m David I set up and run workaway.info. You can see who I am and read a bit about me here:
http://www.workaway.info/whoweare.html

As a first time poster it seems you are trying to start some sort of anti Workaway campaign and as the owner of workaway I feel I have a right of reply here as many of the things you state are just simply not true.

But first of all I have to reinforce what Alex said above:
Whether you receive answers or not depends entirely on your profile and how you present yourself.
I asked you in a PM for your username so I could take a look at your workaway profile and try and see where you were going wrong .. I´ll say again here openly.. If you let me know who you are .Ill take a look at your profile and see why you have had no responses.

Workaway enables you to contact hosts directly ..we are not an agent.. its entirely down to you and you get replies depending on the skills you offer, the time you want to go and of course how you present your self..

In answer to your accusations:

- the only host reviews are consistently "excellent" or "very good", and with the few that are rated "poor" the text box is empty

-We don´t publish negative texts (only the negative ratings) as they often contain insults and start a tit for tat slanging match.We keep a copy of the text for our reference. If a host gets more than 2 independent bad ratings we remove them from the site.

On the facebook page is a link to the "new feedback gallery" (https://www.workaway.info/feedback-lg-en.html) which does not actually exist.

It was down for 2 days.. We´ve just changed servers and it is now back up. Click the refresh on the top righthand corner of the box and your will see hundreds and hundreds of positive experience from genuine workawayers who have used the site with success. . ( Of course we like to show all the good feedbacks as its what promotes the site.) Also I try and add 3 or 4 good feedbacks of the many that come in daily which you can still see in the top right hand corner of the home page. www.workaway.info

You can see all are statistics on reviews here from the last 3 years.. It is something I am really proud of :)
FEEDBACK LEFT: 9049 - AVERAGE: 4.8/5
Excellent 7848 - (86.73%)
V Good 777 - (8.59%)
Good 123 - (1.36%)
Average 72- (0.80%)
Bad 229 - (2.53%)

Regarding your comments on Facebook.

On Facebook workaway actually has 36000 likes (the 16000 figure was taken from last year. ) These are the likes from buttons embedded in the workaway page on each host profile. You can see them on the front page of the site these figures are delivered by facebook and can not be manipulated by us.
The 5494 likes you refer to are the likes of our facebook page ( also have 5300 more likes on our Workaway fan page)

-It is impossible to view other workawayers' profiles

Workawayers profiles are set to private. As workawayer , you sign up to contact hosts (not other workawayers) this is not an option we claim to offer. However we are introducing a new feature soon (next month where you will be able to do this)

- the "meet other workawayers" option (where you can see who else is volunteering in the same area) has never once identified another person, only an empty balloon on a google map
The meet other workawayer option is working fine ( you need to be logged in for this feature to work) though at the moment numbers are low (around 300) we are working on a new feature to vastly improve meet up to be released next month(see above)

I hope this answers your questions and I repeat my offer that if you send me your username I will personally take a look to see how you can improve it and follow in the footsteps of thousands of volunteers who have successfully used the site...

10. Posted by voluntour (Budding Member 5 posts) 2y

First of all, if you think I will identify my username, and with it all my personal information, to a company that has a demonstrated lack of morals, you are out of your mind.

Secondly, your arguments would have looked a lot better had they come before Bush hunter's snipe, not after.

And thirdly, every one of your rebuttals is either in response to a concern (not an accusation, there is a difference) that the site is not well run - ie poor reviews hidden, cannot view other profiles; yes I know you never claimed to offer these features, that is entirely the point - or on a convenient technicality that you are "working on" the faulty features like meetup and crash-prone servers.

What you fail to address are the graver truths that your company uses immoral tactics to snuff any legitimate concerns raised by your own clientele.

That you do this at an alarming rate, using lies and censorship, instead of improving how your company functions, is what makes people start using the word "con".

A forum is not unlike the idea of workaway. It is a place where people can share and learn from each other. Sometimes that means sharing warnings on negative experiences. It is not a place where companies can plug themselves, or manipulate public opinion for economic gain. In short, the forum is not about you, it's about us.

The fact that you don't get that encapsulates every concern that has been raised about your company.

As you see in my first post, I appealed to forum members to defend you in light of circumstantial evidence. I specifically asked workaway employees to stay out of it. However, all responses are and continue to be from workaway employees.

If, as you say, "there are thousands of volunteer who have successfully used the site", then sit back and let them speak for themselves. Their words are worth 10 times what yours are.

You see, this is not a campaign against workaway. I want workaway to be better. I want to find a host, plan a trip and set off on an adventure. I want to volunteer. But it is your reaction that is making me start to think that I want these things more than you do.

As a business owner, you should welcome criticism that allows you to improve and grow your company. With the amount of resources you spend trolling forums and slamming your critics, you could be addressing their concerns and making yourselves a better, more successful business. And when a significant number of people all say they are having trouble using your site, publicly negating their experience and shifting the blame onto them only serves to make yourselves look bad.

Since you seem to be having trouble identifying where you can improve, I'll help you get started:

Start a forum on your site. As you can see, forums are extremely important features that let people help each other out. And with your clients helping to address each others' issues, it takes some of the burden off of you.

Allow third-party postings on your facebook page. Their positive feedback - in words, not numbers - is your best advertising. And, if they post a criticism, you can still use it to your advantage. It gives you the opportunity to respond and show how much you value their feedback, and want to make their experience a positive one.

Seriously improve your meetup feature. Even the new one you are working on will only allow people to see other workers' current location (last time I signed in it asked me to allow workaway to identify my location). That's not very helpful when planning a trip in advance. Plus, if someone were to locate me now, here in my hometown, I would be a private citizen with no helpful advice on hosts. Which is okay, but not really what people are looking for in the feature.

Allow negative host/worker reviews to stand. They are possibly even more helpful than positive reviews, and not all people might find them negative (too much meat served, for instance). If they do have inappropriate language, then remove them.

Impress on hosts the necessity of responding to messages for placement. Even if they have to turn them down. If this were the case we wouldn't be here in the first place.

Shorten the subscription period from two years to one. A lot can happen in two years. If people have a continued interest in hosting workers, they will sign up again. This can avoid a lot of wasted messages on people whose situations have changed.

And most importantly...

IMMEDIATELY AND FOREVER CEASE POSTING IN TRAVEL FORUMS. Period. As yourselves, or as a fake user. It not only makes you look bad, but in many forums is against the rules (including this one). Monitor uses of your company name all you like. Pick up on useful feedback that can make you a better business. If you must, send a user a private message apologizing and asking how you can make it better. I can virtually guarantee that they will come back to post about what a good company you are.

Now go get started on making your company the best it can be, and leave Travellers Point to the travellers.

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