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Recessionomics: iStopOver, the Latest in Couch Surfing

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iSpotover's listing: A room for $60 a night on Ridgeley Drive
Launched about a year ago by some Canadian tech entrepreneurs, a new room-sharing company called iStopOver hooks up temporary visitors with people who want to rent out their spare room or entire house/apartment. What distinguishes the site from Craigslist or vrbo.com is its use of Facebook and LinkedIn: Before a transaction is completed, the two parties can ask to view all or part of the info on the other persons' Facebook or LinkedIn page.

There's no charge to post or browse listings, but a service fee ranging from 6-15 percent is taken off the top from renters when a booking is made. However, iStopOver's website explains, if upon arrival, a renter feels a listing has been misrepresented, they should "simply leave without handing over your Reservation Code. Your money will be returned to you IN FULL." Being relatively new, iStopOver's pool of users is only a fraction the size of Craigs--as of this writing, there are only about 20 Los Angeles residences posted--but on the plus side, that means far fewer ads from scammers and kooks to sift through. Is it actually a deal is the question. Above is a $60 a night bedroom. Via the listing: "This is a very cool place as I try to have a mix of artists to share this large 2-story duplex. Located six blocks south of LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and Wilshire Blvd's Miracle Mile. Easy walk to Farmers Market Spanish style duplex w wood floors, great view and positive vibe. Must like art, books and music. Private library. I set this 'retreat' up as a refuge for the art minded travelers to stay while looking for more permanent housing." ---Pauline O'Connor
· Artist Retreat - LA Duplex!!! [I Stop Over]
· iStopOver