When I asked who I might contact who can resolve this, her answer was effectively "no one." The only # she would give me was for the corporate office, which she admitted would get me nowhere.
bobcat, I also just got off the phone with CS and got the exact same answer. I had recently signed up for 2 years of subscription plan for the express reason that it differentiated from PPB by providing contact info so that I can vet my guests. It cost me well over twice as much to go subscription than I would pay if I got bookings on PPB because my property doesn't rent for very much. The ONLY reason I paid was so I could vet my guests and have meaningful conversations with them prior to booking (I have an information package .pdf that I like to send as it helps solidify bookings).
This is so incredibly unfair. I am out over a thousand dollars that I paid for a service that they are no longer providing. I just want to cry at the money I have lost and how we are being treated. This is real for many of us.
goldenriver.......it appears that you are upset when it appears from your profile you do not use any of the advertising venues, so why so upset? If you don't advertise on HA/VRBO it has no affect on you.
As captmarkhd has pointed out, I don't agree with everything that HA does and my inquiries and bookings have dropped dramatically in the last few years. Can I say absolutely that HA is to blame....NO! I had a VR in my area when there was only 3 others, now there is over 34 and the other original 3 are gone a few years back. So, can I just get angry and blame...sure, but that won't change anything. I have to make decisions based on facts for my very own property.
Your comment about looking at Facebook/Yahoo....not interested. I don't come here to argue/banter and if HA deciding that CONTENT is unacceptable based on the guidelines, then they can remove that too, along with the offender if it is repeated???
AND actually it does make it right that they have rules to follow and for those that choose not to, whether conduct or content be removed. I know I have rules for my VR that I want followed and so if someone feels they are not right/fair then they can choose to find something else. I am sure that I am not alone in wanting my VR rules followed????
The way I read this is that there are supposedly property owners on HomeAway that are not legitimate and taking money from people without owning a rental property. If that correct?
No that is not correct. How the fraudsters achieve this is via phishing. They send a fake email to an unsuspecting owner and get that owner to give out their log in information. They then use that to "hijack" inquiries from the owner's email account and contact the traveler pretending to be the owner. They then get the traveler to send them money outside our secure system and then they're gone and so is the travelers money. 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. Thank you.
HomeAway Community Manager
Again, I stress to readers that regardless of whether or not this action is or is not legal, the big picture message is what this tell us about TRUST of this company.
I do not see how anyone, traveler, owner or manager can trust HA/Expedia given their past history of duplicity and now this flagrant abuse of our relationship with this company.
I certainly do not.
I was told I was chosen because I was generally helpful. I asked if I had to toe any kind of party line and was told "no, be yourself". Ok. Too much work to be someone else anyway.
I have been pretty direct about my criticism of this change and other changes (both here and directly to the people in charge). I don't think it's fair to make it out to be worse than it is, just as I don't think it's honest or respectful to tell us this is for our own good or for the good of the travelers.
But I acknowledge that this is their product and they can do with it what they want and it's up to me to decide whether I want to keep using it. One of my homes is up for renewal in a week and since HA/VRBO currently accounts for about 60% of my bookings for that home, I'm going to renew for a year and see whether that number gets worse. That 60% is down from 100% a year ago, because I added other advertising channels to the mix last year.
goldenriver.......it appears that you are upset..
twobitrentals, please don't take my comments personally. I tried, above, to apologize to anyone who thought i was disparaging you or ambassadors. You might have missed it, so, I apologize to you if I wrote in a way that conveyed that message. However, I stand by my statement that the forums were more productive before the censorship on the forum. The comparison to VR rules is a stretch; this is a public forum, not a private property. You don't need to agree with me but I wish you would at least acknowledge that my opinion has validity. Also, content has not always been removed based on guidelines but because the message does not align with current messaging (case in point, the survey that you, yourself, reference that has been removed -- doesn't that bother you? It bothers me.)
Also, I did clarify already that I'm not upset but motivated. I do hope you don't continue to paint me as just an "upset" owner, I find that disrespectful and it serves to marginalize my opinions.
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.
HomeAway Community Manager
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
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.
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.