Free lodging in good company... This “free accommodation worldwide” project has been around since 1999. The re-launch under a new name (be hosted, be lodged -> belodged.com), many new and additional features and a fresh look & feel went life at the end of 2007.
By now belodged.com is not yet the largest community, but it shall be a real vital and bubbling one. Today (November 2008) one can find accommodation in more than 3'700 cities spread in 117 countries around the world...
Only a few months online, it already has been translated into English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese.
This project is following the former globiwalk.com website which was launched in the end of the nineties, at a time as free accommodation networks have not been very well-known. Now, beginning of 2008 - after a long period of un-sufficient website support due to a lack of time (the founders finished their studies and started working 9 to 5) the project was re-launched and provided with a new skin and full of verve and ideas.
No 'me too', no 'copy cat', belodged.com wants to differ from similar networks and tries to be up to date in its look & feel and community services... But have a look at it!
Privacy of user data is very important to belodged.com. Registration is anonymous and free, no personal data except of member's e-mail and geographic information is needed.
With the anonymous messaging service in the member area other members can be contacted anonymously and at some point exchange information like e-mail, phone number etc. belodged.com does not pass on any information - the system doesn't have them!
Belodged.com has a kind of balance system installed. A solidarity system: many activities are rewarded with points. The sum is the personal "Balanced Value" of a member. So everybody can see how much she/he is taking out of the system and how much solidarity the user is giving back.
Unlike various open social networks, belodged.com does not try to set up a large mass of groups who are working for free for belodged.com. There is a professional team behind the platform that guarantees the ongoing development of the website and its services. For more details please take a look at the developers blog. Communication, information exchange, user/member support and transparency in the on-going development of the service offerings of the platform are manifested to be the key elements of the globiwalk successor.
On the other hand belodged.com is not considered to be open source or self organized. There is a company - owned by the founders of globiwalk and belodged.com - behind the network, that guarantees the necessary basis for such a project and allows the public to verify how carefully the responsibility for user privacy and database issues is taken...
Moreover, nobody asks for donations. For the time being there is no advertisement on the page. It seems that some advertising space is reserved on the right side of the page, but as long as this complies with the strict privacy rules generated by the belodged.com team itself this shouldn't be a problem. Quite the contrary, somebody (apart from the belodged.com community) has to pay the bill for solid performance and authentic, trustworthy service. To tell the truth, isn't it the way it is? (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/081107/technology/technology_techbits__wikipedia Wikipedia is looking for 6 Million USD)
- the portal: http://www.belodged.com
- the blog: http://myblog.belodged.com
- Twitter of the team: http://www.twitter.com/belodged
- This article is based on text from the HospitalityGuide.net, available under the Creative Commons ShareAlike Attribution license.