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MindMyHouse News

MindMyHouse News May 2017

by Susan Holtham

Hello to the ever-lovin’ and steadily-growing community that is the membership of MindMyHouse worldwide and welcome to our first newsletter for 2017. We have some exciting news to share with you about what we have been up to recently to further enhance your experience of using our service. To summarise: you asked for it, we have provided it (again): Searching by pet type is now a thing; we’ve made your login more secure; we have also tweaked our main keyword search to make it generate better results; we’ve added some additional FAQ content about an often asked questions about police checks; we’ve increased your email sending limit; and lastly we still have some house sitters without listings (groan), but less than last time (yay).

New ‘Search by pet’ feature

We have received many emails from you (house sitters mostly) about wanting to search our list of listings by Pet or animal. OK, so we already had something like this – you could type in a keyword into your search, but it was all a bit hit and miss. So we’ve now built what we call ‘pet types’ into the search engine.

House sitters can now add their pet or animal of choice into the search engine and find matching house sitting assignments that match their experience looking after pets. Hurrah! Also, you can see these new pet types in your ‘Sitter available’ listing.

For example: dogs, cats, horses, chicken/poultry, birds, fish, rabbits, tortoise/turtles, guinea pigs, rodents, reptiles, farm animals and also a general ‘other’ category.

Home owners will also be able to search for house sitters by pet type too – however, we will release this later slightly later (end May), in order to give our house sitters time to update their listings. Also, look for these new pet types in your ‘Sitter wanted’ listing.

But what if I don’t want to be a pet sitter? No problem, you can just leave this field blank when searching. Home owner’s will still be able to find you using the search engine, but if they choose to add a pet to search by, your listing won’t be visible. We are very much aware that the majority of home owners seem to be pet owners – sorry, but there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about that.

Email alerts have been updated as well, to support the new pet types.

Lastly, if you were wondering about the previous information you entered about pets into your listing, this will still be there, but will act as more of a text description of pets required (home owners) or pet experience (house sitters).

It’s all about security

Many of you will read this title and think about the security of your home. Sorry to disappoint, but for us it’s about the security of your data! Recent changes in the way that your web browser behaves, and in keeping with more modern practices, we have now made your login more secure by only using SSL. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry. Just look for that Green padlock icon at the top of the URL on the page when you logged in to your account area – that means your details are encrypted. Yay!

Searching by keyword and email alerts

For us at MindMyHouse, it’s all about bringing home owners and house sitters together. But it doesn’t work so well if neither can find the other! So bring in our trusty search engine: the tireless program that crunches the data behind the scenes and makes the matches. We spotted a few minor improvements that we could make, and long story short, you should see some hopefully better results coming your way, mostly in the form of email alerts (if you have one). If you don’t have an email alert setup…what are you waiting for? We strongly recommend them, especially for house sitters. Competition for house sitting assignments can sometimes be intense so it’s really important to get your application in early. Email alerts help you do this. Enough said?

What is a Police check? Where can I get one?

At the helpdesk here at MindMyHouse, we get lots of emails about various things. One of the popular questions seems to be about police checks! What is it? Where can I get one? We already had an FAQ on the subject, but we thought we should update it and add as much information as we could about this subject, for you, our loyal members. Read on…

Email limits in your Message Centre

To prevent the occasional spammer from registering on the site and trying to spam you all with offers of this, or that, we have a limit on the number of emails that you can send per day, or per week.

If you didn’t know this, then obviously you haven’t hit the limit yet! But if you have received this message, and were prevented from sending more messages than your allowance, then the good news is that we have increased the limit! Hurrah! This will affect home owners mostly, whom tend to get alot of applications for house sitting assignments and need to respond to all the house sitters who applied (hint hint, nudge nudge!).

Sitter Wanted Listings

Statistics are a gosh darn thing aren’t they? Last newsletter we reported that only 57.43% of our house sitter members had created their sitter available listings on our site (Sept 2016). We set ourselves the goal of getting that up to 60%. We are happy to say that it has now grown to 66%! This is a whole lot more than the 39% who we reported had created their own sitter available listings on our site back in the early days a whole decade ago now.

Note: If you are a sitter and are reading this and want to know why this is important, please read all about it in our last newsletter:

Posted in: MindMyHouse News
Susan Holtham

About the author: Susan Holtham

The editor at MindMyHouse is a fun gal, intrepid traveller (in a former life), holder of three passports and enthusiastic house sitter. A book editor by trade, she did a three-year stint with Lonely Planet Publications at the start of her career. During her time at LP she shepherded many titles through the production process. Baaaa-aaaa-aaaaaa! Now that two gorgeous little girls call her mummy she's a very busy woman tending to their needs and to the occasional cries for help from among our 5000+ membership. No really, she's always keen to help!