The Back When Home Exchange Began

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Some readers may not be aware that home exchange isn’t a new concept, thought up by some American entrepreneur. Far from it! The home exchange was actually born in Europe, back in the early 1950s of academic parents. Scandinavian school teachers with long school summer vacations, a desire to travel, but limited funds, hatched the plan to exchange homes and visit and experience each other’s countries and cultivate international friendships.

Yes—home exchange began in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark!

The first two pioneering “clubs” to be formed around the concept of home exchange were Intevac International Home Exchange Holiday Service and Home International in 1953. Intevac was actually founded by some of the Swedish teachers who first conceived of the idea and continues to be headquartered in Kristiansand Sweden. The majority of their memberships come primarily from referrals. Home is headquartered in Belgium.

Those two clubs completely dominated home exchanging for thirty years, then in the eighties, a handful of other clubs were formed: Exchange Homes (the owner of this blog), Home Base Holidays, Invented City, Haney’s Boligbite and Land fair (the last two now vanished).

Since the eighties and present times, many people have jumped on the home exchange band-wagon, seeing it as a great way to create their own business. Unfortunately, a great many of them have fallen by the wayside, leaving their members high and dry having said that a few, of course, have flourished.

A very unfortunate offshoot of the home exchange success has been the occasional appearance of “rogue” companies that hire disreputable programmers who create code that steals or “pirates” large lists of members from established clubs and ads them to the database of the rogue clubs, immediately providing them with the false appearance of a large following.

The worst offender was based in China and called them all home exchange early in last year, they stole many thousands of listings and because of their location could not be brought to task by legal means. Fortunately, most of the members they had stolen gradually removed their listings from their database and the company floundered. Their URL is now nothing more than a blank page.

Another ploy used by many aspiring new clubs involves joining several established home exchange organizations and attempting to email their members offering them free listings with their club.

I’m proud to be able to state that Exchange Homes had the foresight right from the get-go to incorporate safeguards into our programming that prevented all pirating of our listings, both through the backdoor via code and by the less sophisticated means of email. Since we’ve been on the Internet we’ve never heard of one of our members having their listing stolen. Not a bad track record!

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