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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

CouchSurfing fans recreate Web site

MONTREAL - For the last three years, thousands of travelers around the globe have used a Web site called CouchSurfing.com to find like-minded folks who would let them sleep on a couch or in a spare room so they wouldn't have to stay in a hotel when they traveled.

They also created a community — both online and in the physical world — for cultural exchange.

But the CouchSurfing.com Web site crashed in late June, and most of the data and user profiles were lost.

"CouchSurfing as we knew it doesn't exist anymore," Web site founder Casey Fenton said in an e-mail to participants.

Supporters responded by creating temporary alternative Web pages, blogs and other online forums. Some joined a CouchSurfing Collective, based in Montreal, to help recover the data. In a second e-mail sent out July 4, Fenton announced that the network would be relaunched at the old address — http://www.couchsurfing.com — later this month. In the meantime, updates were being posted on a message board at http://couchsurfing.hyperboards.com.

Fenton ended his missive with the Web site's motto: "Together we can create a better world, one couch at a time."

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