Originally Posted by Paul Motter
I am not sure when you had your web page or when Minng Company started a cruise section. Strangely anouth, the company that acquired us also acquired cruisereviews.com and sealetter.com, two of the first cruise sites online.
Paul, You are really bringing back some memories with names like Ken Stutt and all these sites, Pleasant memories for the most part. The most interesting point is the same company now owns these sites. As Carnival now owns most cruise lines. As Norwegian Cruise line is not Norwegian, etc.
I once worked for a medical supply/ambulance company in younger days. That company had no less than FOUR names. The reasoning was simple, eliminate competition. Call company #1 and obtain a rate for a product say $100. Call company #2 and inquire about same product. Phone answered often by same person with change in voice or answered by guy standing next to you, give price $250. Answer # 1 again and book sale. A concept readily applied to any sales arena. My point is that FLUFF is not unusual nor the only method of promoting sales. The old forum trick of talking to yourself is alive and well in many areas as well I am sure.
About The Mining Company which became About com, being anal in computer record keeping in some areas I am looking at a scan of my first check from General Internet Incorporated. It is dated 4/15/97 for training $100 ( want to see my utility bill from 1992 hahaha ) my personal pages on my cruises were started 1 or 2 years earlier. By coincidence I just signed my claim form for the settlement involving About com, formerly The Mining Company.
From in part
Class Action Lawsuit Against Primedia Inc About.com and Scott Kurnit - Levinson et al v Primedia et al
"July, 2010: The two sides have reached a settlement, and "Official Court Notice of Proposed Settlement of Class Action" was sent to class members by e-mail and postal mail on July 26. The proposed settlement of $5,750,000 covers "Guides who entered into a 1997 and/or 1999 contract with About but with whom the Lawsuit claims did not receive (1) proper compensation pursuant to those contracts or (2) the full wages they were required to be paid under state and/or federal laws."
Individual payments under the proposed settlement start at $750 for any "claiming Class Member" but can be considerably higher, depending on whether the claimant is entitled to unpaid revenue shares and/or was involved in the prosecution of the case. (According to the Official Court Notice, 1,141 Class Members are "owed revenue share amounts pursuant to the 1997 and/or 1999 contracts.")
Since my cruise site was in top 10 sites more often than not I will be interested to see how I make out on this. But as you can see my contract was revenue based which was fine until they started getting to involved in what I wrote. They also apparently forgot to divide some of that revenue. It was, I admit, great for the ego at the time, to be paid for doing what I enjoyed doing for free.
But being paid to review or comped by a cruise line is not necessary a bad thing. No writer/reviewer could be expected to pay their own way all the time to experience a product. It is the individual that decides whether that facet of the business will influence what hits the paper/web page. Readers are not un-intelliegent in their understanding of how such things work. They readily evaluate who is giving them real deal versus fluff. Fluff writers don't achieve loyal followings and get to enjoy a high level of success. Your name and Kuki's as two examples are excepted as credible by many. Readers know who is who.
I just read Kuki's report/review/blog /tomato/tomaaato live report on his Veendam sailing. The good and the bad were presented for my evaluation just as he saw it with a keen eye and the honest presentation of the good and bad points. No fluff there, just great reporting in my opinion and extremely useful to me formulating my own opinion for my soon to be sailing of her.
There is fluff as we have discussed but there is also horrible reporting of the industry by general media. Would that be non-fluff? The most obvious example is the noro-virus type stories presented for shock and overly exaggerated. Over reactions by media when a ship making a sharp navigation turn suddenly becomes the remake of the Poseidon Adventure. Cruise ship crime another generally unfair arena of media coverage. All of that for another discussion another day. But thankfully there are places such as cruisemates where you can get far better and specific information than you are going to get in the general media. As far as fluff, most of us know it when we see it and disregard it.
George in NY