Thursday, March 08, 2007

Online frustrations: renting a room

After yesterday's praise for Freecycle, here's another good online community - though I have to say it's not quite working for me - EasyRoomMate.

Finding a lodger, or a room, is exactly the kind of thing that is perfect for an online site. Post your advert up, search the other adverts, and it should be pretty easy to find the going rate, and find a lodger.

The house-share sites have got sophisticated. They have tiered membership, so it's free to post an advert, but you can contact other people more easily, if you pay a small fee. EasyRoomMate makes it really clear: Basic members can only Premium members, Premium members can only contact Basic members.

They also take a lot of information (and I do trust them to take care of it!) , so it should be easy to find a match.

But it's not working well for us. We've posted an ad for the room shown here, upgraded to Permium, and contacted 160 possible housemates in the last month. We've had rejections from 16, and silence form the others.

I think we're outside their magic profile. the site is aimed at 20-30 something single professionals. The fields on the form are aimed at them, and other people don't quite fit in.

When we contact people, they can see on our profile that we are straight, they know we don't smoke, and they know we have pets. The profile doesn't tell them the single most striking factor about our house - three children - because there's nowhere on the form to mention it.

We put that up front in the advert, but it would save a lot of wastage if we could tell at a glance if someone will consider living with a family.

1 comment:

Peter Kanssen said...

You have to become a member to look through their lists, maybe that's putting people off?
Do you use the Gumtree?