30 October 2008

Bad directory! Shame on you!

I'm feeling a little guilty.

I got a phone call this afternoon from a site visitor who was wondering if I had any more information on a Ski Chalet specialist website which I list on Travel-Lists, because he was interested in booking a chalet in the French Alps and they wanted full payment up front. He just wanted to know if I could recommend them. 

...yea, I expect so. It wouldn't be on Travel-Lists if I didn't think it was worthy.

As I looked up the listing, and from there, checked out the website...I had a sinking feeling. This site did meet any of my basic criteria....most of all, no transparency. 

Bad enough that there was no sign of any professional affiliation/licensing scheme/financial protection  (no ABTA, AITO, AITO Trust, ATOL, Travel Trust Assoc, etc), but there was just no transparency at all - no address, no Terms & Conditions page, no About Us page, nothing. The kind of site I hate.

I told him to avoid them, suggested a couple of alternatives, and deleted them from Travel Lists.

But how could it have slipped through in the first place? (... unless - maybe, fingers crossed - it wasn't like that when it started out.)

I would name names, but I could do without the legal hassles. They were shit, and you won't find them on my site anymore.


06 October 2008

To do list: Get a job or go skiing? hmmm...tricky!

Interesting press release from posh ski holiday operator, Fish & Pips.

Following the recent Lehman Brothers banking collapse, gourmet ski specialists Fish & Pips, received calls from a number of the bank's former employees enquiring about cancelling their winter holiday.  Rather than lose the entire booking Fish & Pips offered the employees a further 10% discount, which they all accepted.

The operator has now opened this offer to all Lehman Brother employees who were working for the bank at the time of its collapse. 

Comments Holly Fisher, co-founder of Fish & Pips: “It's unlikely those who were working for Lehman Brothers when it went bust will now be able to afford a ski holiday this winter.  So for the month of October we will be offering all former employees of the bank (when it went into liquidation) a 10% discount on the cost of our 2008/9 skiing holidays in Méribel.”

I can't decide whether this is clever/sensitive marketing or cynical/exploitative...?

02 October 2008

Journalists do copy articles wholesale

There's always a lot of chatter in media circles about "bad" or "lazy" journalists who use other people's work, and I've generally assumed that there are many journalists who hover in that grey area of 'research'  where ideas, facts and elements of other articles are worked into their own. 

I don't think there's anything wrong, for example, in finding a useful fact in somebody's article - "the Plastic Duck Company Ltd recently supplied 40,000 plastic ducks to an Arab businessman for use in his several swimming pools" - phoning the Plastic Duck company to ask "is this true?" and then writing it into your own article about swimming pools.

And I've always assumed that bad/lazy journos just fall the wrong side of that. They take the story and use it un-checked and in the worst case, copy the original paragraph more or less word for word. 

I have never believed stories that sometimes journos take whole articles and pass them off as their own. I mean, how would you expect to get away with it in a Google-ised world?


I was poleaxed by a feather with my jaw hanging open when I visited a friends' house yesterday and they showed me three articles in a supplement published last week by one of the UK's most highly respected broadsheet newspapers. My friends are both respected and well established specialist journalists writing on the marine industry. Two of the articles were based on articles they had written in the last couple of years, with large chunks lifted more-or-less word for word. The third, written (supposedly) by a well known journalist on that paper was a straight word-for-word copy!!!!!

What the F**K were these journos thinking??

I would not have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. 

Needless to say, there is some shit heading their way.