In October, layoffs claimed an estimated 40 percent of the staff, and CEO Tony Espinoza announced his departure — giving an opening to competitors like Be Welcome and Hospitality Club.

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.

At first, Riccardo could not believe it was that simple. “I’m going to sound like such a jerk just telling them.” But he tried it on his next guest and bingo.

“My first Couchsurfing hookup happened when I was staying with my friend in Miami,” Riccardo recalls. Months later Riccardo got a phone call from the same girl, asking if she could stay at his place in New York City. “I never talked to her again,” he admits, adding, “I mean, we’re friends on Facebook.” Couchsurfing was born after a budget-conscious traveler named Casey Fenton sent out a mass request for accommodations in Iceland and received 50 invitations from students with a free spare futon.

“He has a studio and was hosting two girls from France.” He slept on an inflatable air mattress with one girl, while his friend shared his bed with the other. Fenton soon realized people all over the world might not mind sharing their extra space gratis while making new friends in the process.

But with anything social, there is sometimes a spark. But once there is a connection, there isn’t much holding me back.” For instance, this guy in Wales.

“There was a very strong attraction on both of our parts,” she recalls.

I want to have three days with somebody I can talk with.

Not somebody just empty.” In Riccardo’s case, it all starts with a request for approval — from his pal in Miami. “There’s more people coming to New York than Miami, so he’s always like, ‘You bastard! ”1 He got a little closer on his second try, a girl from Slovakia with blonde hair (his weakness) and small, dark, squinty eyes.

It’s important to stay professional, and guys I train with need to see me as a fighter and a teammate or it gets too complicated.” A Couchsurfer since 2009, Jessie has traveled the globe using the service.

But it’s not a dating site, she insists, “It’s a social site. “I have high standards, I don’t just sleep with any guy I think is hot.

His friend later advised him on a more direct strategy.