Hello everyone? Is workaway a "con"? Is it legit? Well my answer to that would be that it's "a bit of both".
Based on 6 months using the site, and reading through this thread here's my input;
Are there 'suspicious' host profiles? - Most definitely YES. (It's pretty damned easy to set up fake profiles and automatic profile dates and responses etc. and I am of the opinion that a certain amount of this has happened in the past - and does go on).
I sent MANY requests in a whole host of places doing all kinds of different things - some of which fitted my 'skills set' almost perfectly.
Overall the response was negative - lots of messages went unanswered (even though many of the hosts were shown to be 'active' during the relevant time-frame), lots of half-cocked rejections too - often these seemed like semi-automated copy and paste responses that you normally get from companies that just scan your message for keywords. I received a few better replies, but I mean a few. All in so far I've received around a 5% response rate - which judging by what some people got here isn't that bad. I did take up an offer for a 1 month placement which I saw out during the summer (peak season). My experience there wasn't that great - it wasn't quite what I had hoped for - it seemed a bit too businesslike and unfriendly where I was seen more like a cheap labourer only and there wasn't any cultural exchange aspect to the whole thing - okay, so I know it's WORKaway - but still, I was kind of disappointed overall. If a better feedback facility existed then these kind of things could have been recorded to inform others and also perhaps to help the hosts - for if they got constructive criticism and some reoccurring 'flagged problems' they might even try and change whatever it was. It's all about personal experiences after all and what one person finds negative someone else might not find so and vice versa etc.
As for what some have said here - that they just get fobbed off with messages saying they should market themselves better - Well yes you should, it's a business after all and rightly or wrongly this site should be seen like a recruiter - job hunter relationship. Though of course the "recruiter" should perhaps do a bit more to help - after all what is being offered when stripped down to the bare bones is just a 'very low paid job'. I know times are hard for some people, but should we really have to jump through hoops? It's a 2 way thing after all (or rather 3 way) - The recruiter gets their cash - the host gets their 'cheap labour' and the worker gets their work experience (and hopefully more if they're lucky).
I always get suspicious when 'companies' seem to have something to hide. Like trying to suppress any negativity and create fake positivity by using underhand methods - as we've witnessed on these boards with the 'fake traveller' profiles (Bush....is the one I remember from the first page). Unfortunately this is quite a common form of viral marketing that many companies and individuals use. But if the company was genuine, why would they need to do this? Internet word spreads quickly, so if there really is something good to be had - this kind of trickery wouldn't be needed. Also what happens to people such as Roots8697 who posted here back in May (7 months ago) and hasn't returned - hopefully he's having so much fun on all his workaway placements that he's been unable to login here again, right?
So, to sum up. I'd liken this site to if you're a guy going out for the night to hit on girls and you go to a nightclub and ask the doormen if there are any girls inside - they respond with a resounding "YES". So you go in there, and hey.......that place is 90% full of guys - it's like a gay club during Mardi Gras Festival. So you feel duped............but hey, there ARE some girls there. So the doormen didn't lie. Just not good odds, not good odds at all.
I know this is highly unlikely to happen as it would hit the profits. But perhaps one way a company such as Workaway could be seen as being more genuine is if there was some kind of "Delayed payment system" set up whereby the fees are not cashed out until the workawayer has applied for and been accepted for their first 'placement'. Thus creating more trust that you are not just paying for nothing.
Well we can live in hope. Seasons Greetings and good luck to all those in your future endeavours...................
[ Edit: Edited on 25-Dec-2013, at 16:01 by SecurusViator ]