YTB AND ELVIS PRESLEY'S AIRPLANE
WATCHDOG'S OPINION WHAT'S HAPPINING WITH YTB
I have had friends calling me I haven't heard from in 10 years asking my opinion on YTB's Future!
Ur Editors opinion 99.9% right for 20 years print:
1. The California AG can't shut down YTB except in California. Make coach pay $55 --- million yes!
2. The Illinois AG can shut down YTB but has only been standing on the sidelines (just checked her website)
3. YTB will end up with a pay plan most distributors won't like.
4. YTB size will twindle down but not go away.
5. All bets are off if #2 AG jumps in!
LATEST YTB NEWS FROM THEIR HOME TOWN
UR EDITORS NOTE: The actions and attacks on Your Travel Business YTB are running so heavy - Including one really dumb lawsuit I can't keep up so here is the mother lode of YTB news from thier home town Alton, Illinois. CLICK BELOW THEN SCROLL DOWN PAST THE AD's ........
OH yes, the AD's! 60% of the ads you are about to see were placed by leaders who subscribe to the MLM WatchDog. Why? Because as soon as they get the Email from the WatchDog they are buying words - Ads to grab up leaders from hit companies. Mercenary? No just smart recruiters! One lady who is a sharp mover said she bought YTB recruiting ads (3 of them) on Google Adsense and had them approved and up less than an HOUR after the Watchdog email. Results? About 3 Leaders worth 1200 Distributors! Not shabby for an hours work!
REMEMBER SCROLL PAST THE ADS ON THE TOP (THEY ARE ON BOTTOM TOO)
ILLINOIS AG JUMPING ON YTB?
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, is said to be partnering with the California attorney general in his probe though no posting on her website this date. This also matches the BBB who says they have over a 100 complaints. Check here daily! http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/index.html
$100 MILLION - CLASS ACTION SUIT FILED AGAINST YTB
A new federal court class action (by two St. Louis law firms) alleges that YTB violated Illinois law by using an illegal pyramid sales scheme and illegal chain of referral sales techniques that caused the plaintiffs to suffer actual damages, according to the Telegraph. Two distributors have filed there is room for at least 998 more!
CALIFORNIA AG SLAMS YTB - SUMMARY FULL LINK BELOW TO AG
As Predicted by Watchdog
Rod Cook Editors Note: The numbers below (bottom of page) on this just did not work which is why I put out the original warning. The $25 million the AG is hitting them with is the highest dollar value the state has ever done on a pyramid scheme.
5 Aug 2008 -- LOS ANGELES--California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced a lawsuit against YourTravelBiz.com for operating a "gigantic pyramid scheme" that recruited tens of thousands of members with deceptive claims that members could earn huge sums of money through its online travel agencies.
“YourTravelBiz.com operates a gigantic pyramid scheme that is immensely profitable to a few individuals on top and a complete rip-off for most everyone else,” Attorney General Brown said. “Today’s lawsuit seeks to shut down the company’s unlawful operation before more people are exploited by the scam.”
According to YTB records there were over 200,000 members in 2007 who typically pay more than $1,000 per year--$449.95 to set up an “online travel agency” with a monthly fee of $49.95. In 2007, only 38 percent of the company’s members made any travel commissions. For the minority of members who made any travel commission in 2007, the median income was $39.00--less than one month’s cost to keep the Website. There are at least 139,000 of the company’s travel Websites, all virtually identical, on the Internet.
Brown charges the company, its affiliates, and the company’s founders J. Lloyd Tomer, J. Scott Tomer, J. Kim Sorensen and Andrew Cauthen with operating an “endless chain scheme,” an unlawful pyramid in which a person pays money for the chance to receive money by recruiting new members to join the pyramid. Brown also charges the company with unfair business practices and false advertising practices including:
* Assesses a civil penalty of at least $15,000,000 and at least $10,000,000 in restitution for Californians who were ripped off by the company.
TRAVEL TRADE MAGAZINE REPORTS DIRECT ATTACK ON YTB
Nov 16 2007 – See link below for full article by George Dooley Travel Trade Magazine.
Rhode Island Agency Investigates YTB Business Model Summary
The state Department of Business Regulation (Rhode Island) confirmed that it is looking at the YTB business model, according its executive counsel. Counselor Berstein sent an email to John Frenaye, originator of the Anti - MLM petition, "MLM Travel Agents Cheapen Industry," The email confirmed that the Department was reviewing YTB to assure it was in compliance with Rhode Island state law. Rhode Island does require travel agents to be licensed.
WatchDog Editorial historical training - Anyone remember how MLM travel companies got hit in the big government sweeps in the 90's? Travel Max, World Class Network (WCN) and New Concepts in Travel (NCT) plus smaller ones were hit. What triggered those big sweeps and raids? The Legal actions came from complaints from conventional travel agents that targeted those MLM Travel Companies for being card mills and pyramid schemes. Since the Pyramid Scheme charges worked back then - the law will do it again!
Frenaye had asked Rhode Island attorney general's office Rhode Island’s rules and regulations on MLMs, card mills and travel agents. Frenaye has gotten over 2,600 travel agent and supplier signatures, on his petition against MLM Travel Companies. In an interview with Travel Trade (see link below), Frenaye, owner of Travels With Fred in Annapolis, MD, said state attorneys general may be a source of redress for travel agents and the industry faced with the proliferation of multilevel marketing schemes and card mills. FULL STORY
YTB SHOUTS ABOUT GROSS SALES BUT NOT WHAT COUNTS
Let's Look at Past 2006 Stock Report = PYRAMID SCHEME
Total Revenues = $24,178,481
Online Store Sales and Monthly Fees - $17,965,361 or 74.3%
Training Fees and Marketing Materials sold to field - $3,361,152 or 13.9%
Travel Commissions Received - $2,537,694 or 10.5%
Editors Note: YTB is a travel company and their lowest revenue producer is travel commissions. YTB made more from training program fees and marketing materials. This makes it look and smell like a Pyramid Scheme!
YTB increased in the number of RTAs by 20% in Q1 of 2007 - but, travel only increased 1.2%. I doubt you'll ever see travel commissions received be more than 20% of YTB's income - and I'm being generous.
Of the $2.5 million in travel commissions received, they only paid out a mere $1,608,688 or 63.4% of ALL travel commissions received - TOTAL.
But, of the $21.3 million in other received revenue - it paid out - $16,136,795 or 75.8%.
For a travel company selling websites that people are to be selling travel on, this revenue stream only produced 10.2% in Q1 of 2007 and only 9% in 2006 - and in Q2 2007 - I bet it won't be over 12% - if that. We'll see in August when the filing is released if a filing is released. It might be better if one weren't at this rate. We'll see what happens in Q2 and Q3 2007. Think they will meet the 50% the FTC wants.....?? Doubt it!!!!!
FLORIDA AG ATTACKS YTB AGENTS FOR PYRAMID SCHEME
The case file cited below relates to a civil -- not a criminal -- investigation. The existence of an investigation does not constitute proof of any violation of law.
Case Number:L06-3-1113 Subject of investigation:
Rick & Brenda Ricketts Corp., d/b/a www.rickrickettstravel.com, www.rickettstravel.com, and Your Ticket to Paradise; and Dolan W. Ricketts, an individual, and Brenda S. Ricketts, an individual
25400 U.S. Highway North, Clearwater, FL 33763
Subject's business: Business Opportunity; Travel (YOUR TRAVEL BIZ)
Allegation or issue being investigated: Possible unfair and deceptive business practices in the sale of internet travel website opportunities or in the recruitment and operation of multi-level marketing systems promoting business opportunities and recruiting sellers of travel. Possible violations of Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Chapter 501, Part II, Fla.Stat., and violations of Section 849.091, Fla. Stat., prohibiting operating, participating in, or soliciting on behalf of a chain letter or pyramid sales scheme.
AG unit handling case:
Economic Crimes Division in Tampa, Florida
MLM WATCHDOG ILLEGAL COMPLANS
FTC "SAEZ" PYRAMID SCHEME DETERMINATION 50% “RULE”
YTB INFORMATION RELEASE IATA/IATAN UPDATE PYRAMID SCHEME SPIN
November 16, 2007
YTB is pleased to announce our best financial quarter ever, (WATCHDOG: ILLEGAL AS IT WAS!) followed by a highly successful event with Carnival Cruise Lines just last week. Some of you have expressed concern about the cancellation of our IATA/IATAN accreditation. We want to assure you that this does not, in any way, affect the ability of YTB or its RTAs to sell travel and be paid commissions from the sale of travel. We are actively working with IATA/ IATAN and our legal counsel to substantiate that YTB meets or exceeds IATA's/ IATAN's regulations.
As a company that has always upheld high standards, we applaud IATA/IATAN for ensuring the integrity of their programs, and hope to have our certification reinstated as quickly as possible. We thank you for your continued support and for the passion you share for YTB. We will continue to keep you updated on any developments as we move forward in our efforts to work with IATA/IATAN. We also wanted to answer some of the questions we, and many of the Directors, have been receiving.
Questions and Answers
1) Is YTB corporate working to get re-installment of the IATA/IATAN? Yes. YTB and our legal counsel are actively working with IATA/IATAN to resolve this issue and substantiate that YTB meets or exceeds both IATA/IATAN's regulations and our own high standards.
2) Is YTB in trouble? No, not at all. We just announced our best quarter ever, including our highly successful Sail-a-Thon with Carnival Cruise Lines. We are planing for even more exciting opportunities for our RTAs and Reps, including great travel and event packages for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
3) Are we a "legit" travel agency because of our remaining affiliation with ARC? We are a legitimate travel agency for many reasons including our affiliation with ARC and CLIA, the extensive training and support that we offer our RTAs, our strong relations, and the fact that Travel Weekly named us the 11th largest leisure travel agency in the country.
4) So, what did IATAN status do? The only thing IATAN status did was offer additional avenue for resources and supplier contacts. It also offered a card that must be earned and was recognized widely among the travel supplier community. The CLIA card offers many of the same benefits.
5) What is the difference between ARC and IATA/IATAN? ARC (Airlines Reporting Corporation) is the organization that certifies us, and other travel agencies, to book travel and conduct business. We are in good standing with ARC. IATA/IATAN is a global trade organization, but their activities and accreditation do not have any effect on the day-to-day running of our business.
6) Can we still use the IATA/IATAN number at the time of booking? The number will remain the same as it also serves as our CLIA and our ARC number.
7) Can we confirm that we are one of four agencies that had their accreditations cancelled? However, we are actively working with IATA/IATAN and our legal counsel to regain our accreditation.
8) Are we going to issue new cards, since they say IATA/ARC#? Until issues with IATA/IATAN are resolved, we ask that RTAs refrain from using any materials that reference IATA/IATAN.
9) How is this going to affect the RTA's ability to earn commissions or receive travel perks? When calling the vendor, don't they need to give the IATA number? It won't affect the ability to receive travel commissions in any way. Reduced rates will still need to be approved via the reduced rates department to determine eligibility. Hotels only require CCRA (in YTB's booking engine) to receive net rates (available in the travel portal); these rates are basically when booking with hotels directly. Some vendors will require an IATA or CLIA number while others want the YTB phone number as verification.
10) How does this affect YTBU teaching about credentials? Should we just omit the IATA/IATAN portion all together
For now we should omit the IATA/IATAN portion but we will continue to evaluate this, as we work with IATA/IATAN.
11) How should we address the IATA/IATAN issue in business briefing presentations?If asked about it directly, tell them that the loss of IATA/IATAN accreditation does not, in any way, limit our ability to sell travel and receive commission. Also tell them that YTB is working with IATA/IATAN and our legal counsel to clear the matter up as quickly as possible. Does this have anything to do with Royal Caribbean terminating our contract? So, the two issues are not related in any way that we can identify.
12) Why does it seem like all this bad news is coming at once? As YTB continues to grow, we become a bigger threat to both brick and mortar travel agencies and other online travel sellers. That means that some of our competitors might attempt to impede our business progress in any way they can. Think of it as a "success tax." But know that YTB's entire team is here to support our Reps and RTAs and we will continue to fight the negative statements and misinformation about our company. WatchDog opinion note: Uh - B.s. !
Thanks for all you do for YTB.
J. Kim Sorensen
President & CEO
YTB Travel Network