Another bait and switch?

They come fast and furious actually, but some seem to be more egregious, or slicker, than others. Today’s example: TravelHost magazine.

I received an email from “Roger T—-” that my resume was a MATCH. Yay!

“Your resume matches some of the success indicators that I am seeking, and I thought you might be interested in a unique entrepreneurial opportunity in Georgia with America’s #1 travel magazine.”

Now “Georgia” was bolded, in the time honored tradition of auto-reply emails. Man, and I thought I was special. But the opportunities, they are endless, no?

Uh, no. Or at a minimum, probably not.

“We are looking for four “take charge” individuals to open and manage new local editions of TRAVELHOST Magazine in
Atlanta and Suburbs
Athens / Gainesville
Macon / Warner Robins
Augusta / North Augusta
There are also some opportunities in other selected growth areas across the nation – please call for information.”

Take charge, as in, do everything. And pay up front, assuming all risk. Nothing against middle/central Georgia, but I’m going to guess that a travel magazine in Macon/Warner Robbins is not what the market craves, or can support. Unless the territory covers Milledgeville, and they are expecting a post-Big Ben bar tourist rush. Professor Google, what have you to say about this opportunity?

Auto-fill does not likey. “Scam” comes up before I can finish typing “TravelHost.” Looks familiar. There are a couple of entries from a website called “Ripoff Report.”

Bitter, party of #1.

The poster shares his story about TravelHost, and it’s not pretty. Keywords: huge ripoff, unsuspecting, mislead, failure rate of 90%, turnover, scam, sorry. Not promising. But a TravelHost fires executive fires back. Keywords: CMO, rewarding, disenchanted, blame, blog, proud history. It’s a long, detailed post and does not reflect favorably on the complainer. Confused? The next post from “ex-employee” starts with, “To be blunt, I wouldn’t advise investing in Travelhost to my enemies.”

Bitter, party of #2.

The twist in this post is details (or opinion) on the business model. “They are simply in business to print magazines at a higher rate than a normal commercial printer.
You get very limited support with regards to sales, promotion or running a business. You are left on your own to flounder your way through. They make sure they get their money up front so they are covered when you don’t succeed. Research all the turn over of distributors.

So, if you want to publish a magazine, you are better off finding your own designer and commerical (sic) printer and doing it from the ground up.

Out of the business
Heart of the USA, Colorado
U.S.A.”

There’s a follow up post from the CMO, who is obviously busy playing whack-a-mole with disenchanted former franchisees… with another from a former employee saying stay far away. But my emailer is on this thread!

Roger T—-
Senior Regional Manager

Except on this site, he’s listed as “Director of Expansion.” Perhaps he was promoted in the past week. (The post was on March 1st.) I was probably called a lot of things in previous jobs, but I never had two official job titles. (Even when I had two different jobs at the same time.) Could it be that “Director of Expansion” does not look good to potential publishers/partners that you are blindly soliciting via CareerBuilder? Or is that me being cynical?

I’d go on, but it is honestly kind of depressing. The CMO (who is also a regional publisher) got into it with a blogger on this site. The comments are more measured than usual, they are passionate, but it’s not a flame war.

I think I’ll pass on this one too.

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One response to “Another bait and switch?

  1. Hi Marty,

    You hit the nail right on the head with this one. You also saved yourself $60k and a whole lot of headaches by not joining the Travelhost network.

    My name is Brian, and I’m the author of the blog you refer to in your last posting here. I just wanted to say thank you, for helping to expose the this fraud to more people. Travelhost has been ripping people off for decades, and it all starts with a letter like the one you got.

    To see what would have happened to you, take a look at an earlier posting on my blog that tells the rest of the story…had you entertained the idea of following up with Roger Thrailkill on this “business opportunity.”

    http://publishersadvocate.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/youre-just-one-sales-pitch-away-from-your-new-travelhost-business/

    I like your blog, Marty, keep up the good work!

    Regards,

    Brian Hickey

    The Publisher’s Advocate
    http://www.publishersadvocate.info
    http://www.publishersadvocate.wordpress.com

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