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      • 315. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
        homeaway_community_manager HomeAway Employee

        Hi lrbaldwin,

         

        Please see this article: Online booking now required for subscription renewals. There is no longer an option to renew without being online bookable. Thank you.

         

        Erinn

        HomeAway Community Manager

        • 316. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
          twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

          I suppose the difference is that I didn't believe the poll was removed because of censorship. It was probably removed because HA has made the decision to move forward with this decision and it would have wasted our time and theirs to even have it available????

           

          Your apology is accepted and appreciated........ and I am not trying to marginalize your opinions. Many are upset about the changes, me included, but I feel that instead of just reacting, I need to absorb what is being presented and figure out how I best deal with it. I am reading all the comments to see if anyone has ideas that will help us through this transition of change. I am on several other platforms that have produced absolutely nothing. I left AirBNB quite some time ago, but maybe that was a mistake...I don't know at this point. Time will tell (for me) what the best plan of action is if my numbers don't increase over the next few months. My subscription is up in less than a month

          • 317. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
            Active Contributor

            bobcat if we decide to stay with the H/A group we better get use to this type of action. I am telling you there will be more coming and it is not good. Again Nothing will ever change for the better until H/A see's a drastic drop in revenue. All the keyboard pounding we do won't change a thing. It is up to each one of us to educate the public on other sites they need to be booking through. Hard and long road but the only avenue we may have.

            • 318. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
              Contributor

              homeaway_community_manager wrote:

              We've developed our secure communication system to combat this, as it doesn't reveal the owner or traveler email address and therefore becomes useless to fraudsters.

              Please now justify why the phone number is being redacted.

              • 319. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
                Contributor

                twobitrentals wrote:

                I didn't believe the poll was removed because of censorship. It was probably removed because HA has made the decision to move forward with this decision and it would have wasted our time and theirs to even have it available????

                That's practically the definition of censorship.

                • 320. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
                  twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                  Well, we will have to disagree on this issue and leave it at that.

                  • 321. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
                    Senior Contributor

                    Hello again Erinn,

                     

                    I don't intend to argue this security issue with you.  But still I have to echo what has been said already: this justification makes no sense at all.

                     

                    1) If I publish my email address ANYWHERE, I expose myself to phishing attempts.  Whether or not HA obscures my email address from legitimate customers seeking to rent my VR does not change that fact in any way whatsoever.

                     

                    2) The only way I can avoid exposure to phishing attempts on my email address is to not share my email address with ANYONE at all, period.  Which makes the email address kind of useless, doesn't it?

                     

                    3) Most every business I see online (including HA) publishes their email address publicly.  They HAVE to if they want customers to use email to contact them easily.  That exposes them to possible phishing attempts.  But they do it anyway (YOU do it anyway), because clearly the benefits of providing a convenient means for customers to contact the business far outweighs any risks from phishing.  Also, they know that risk is entirely 100% manageable.

                     

                    4) The only way an owner could be phished in this way via HA would be for the sender to reply not as a prospective guest, but rather as HomeAway, and provide bogus links in the email encouraging the owner/manager to click on the link and log in to the HA dashboard.  Anyone seriously trying to phish an owner/Manager can do this exact same thing whether or not HA obscures the email address.

                     

                    5) Therefore the most effective phishing prevention HA could institute would be to first and foremost not ever send owners links that they can click on to log in.  Or nearly as effective, they could include security features (as many banks currently do with images, etc) to help us quickly see that an email looks "fake." Yet HA does not choose to do either of these things.

                     

                    6) Another very simple countermeasure is for owners/managers to use a DIFFERENT email address for communicating with HA than they use for communicating with their customers.  If this is the case, then we immediately know that if we receive an email login offer coming from our customer email address, then it MUST be phishing.

                     

                    Clearly HA is not being truthful with us regarding their motives for restricting our ability to directly communicate with our customers.  If security were actually the priority, and if it is also true (as stated over and over again) that the single most important factor in booking is fast response to inquiries, then there are other far more effective means of preventing phishing attempts that do not directly interfere with our ability to communicate with our customers.

                     

                    And HA management continues to wonder why TRUST of their company is such a big problem.

                    • 322. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
                      homeaway_community_manager HomeAway Employee

                      Hi fhl,

                       

                      This is also an account specific question and off the topic of this thread. You'll need to contact Customer Support for help with this concern. Thank you.

                       

                      Erinn

                      HomeAway Community Manager

                      • 323. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
                        bobbie32 Premier Contributor
                        5) Therefore the most effective phishing prevention HA could institute would be to first and foremost not ever send owners links that they can click on to log in.  Or nearly as effective, they could include security features (as many banks currently do with images, etc) to help us quickly see that an email looks "fake." Yet HA does not choose to do either of these things.

                         

                        First off..long time no see.  Hope you are doing well and your rentals are doing well.   

                         

                        Secondly...I totally agree with what you said.  I never click on any link that comes thru an email.  Yet, HA still tries to get me to click on links. Sad...

                        • 324. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
                          bhorsnround Contributor

                          I don't feel comfortable with that; I always research them before booking and/or speak with them.  What's up with that ?

                          • 325. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
                            Active Contributor

                            bobcat, you are 100% correct.  We all know the real reason for the removal of guest information and that is to stop owners from going around the system and booking guests direct cutting H/A out of their fee.

                            • 326. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
                              Senior Contributor

                              I monitor but do not participate much.

                               

                              So far this has been our best year ever -- even despite HA's performance.  Only time will tell though!

                               

                              Nice to see you still hanging around...

                              • 327. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
                                captmarkhd Senior Contributor

                                I don't think anyone was really surprised or should be surprised that this happened. Once they enacted the service fee they really didn't have much choice but to control the contact between host and guest (I'm not saying that I like it or that I agree because I don't). I do think that its possible they tried other tactics to discourage owners from taking bookings off site so they would not have to remove contact info such as loss in placement due to less availability and then a higher placement due to more accepted bookings through the platform.

                                Frankly I'm surprised that they waited as long as they did to remove website links and contact information. I never, ever encourage anyone to book off system if they came to me through HA's efforts to save money on the service fee yet if they insisted then I would not keep them from booking either. But I was getting about 20% of my bookings direct from my website without any prior contact with the guest and I always asked how they found me and the response was the same, through HA. Since the links have been removed I have only had one direct booking and that was a referral from a past guest and about 20 through HA. So I do believe that there had significant leakage that had to be controlled. Again I'm not supporting them because I strongly disagree with the service fee and removing the links and contact information but ultimately HA is accountable to the share holders including the CEO. So once they made that decision to charge the service fee they had to commit all the way.

                                • 328. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
                                  u0999 Premier Contributor

                                  <<Frankly I'm surprised that they waited as long as they did to remove website links and contact information>>

                                  that is because they did not want to "scald" the frog and make it jump out.. they were bringing water to the boiling point slowly. Otherwise there could have been a sudden drop in listings number that could not be replenished by ever-widening geo search or by starry eyed newbies signing up to rent their primary house while they stay at their aunt's for a weekend.

                                  • 329. Re: Important updates to the HomeAway Booking Platform
                                    Active Contributor

                                    "They send a fake email to an unsuspecting owner and get that owner to give out their log in information."  Quoting Erinn

                                     

                                    I've been dealing with the Internet since the '80s, and have never understood why anyone would give out log on information.  IMO, those who do are the ones to be blamed for the fraud. Do these people leave their VRs open for months at a time too?

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