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MrLicious

Rumor Has It?

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Rumor has it that Skyride lost their Otter to Eloy.
Can anyone confirm?



Or that the Waverly DZ don't always have a plane available? :P



According to their Facebook page, they have not had a plane in a while. by scrolling down their fb page, you can see several weeks that they have not had it. Maybe it's because Eloy has it?B|

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Rumor has it that Skyride lost their Otter to Eloy.
Can anyone confirm?



I havent seen any new otters at the DZ... unless Larry painted it already! lol



Probably putting it through an intensive inspection, if they do have it! :P
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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Is Skyride getting in to the loan business?



When your loan is approved, you get a certificate to redeem at any bank. When you get to the bank, they won't honor the certificate, of course, and you still have to pay the loan back.
Andy
I'll believe it when I see it on YouTube!

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Is that Doug Smith the same Doug Smith that owns Chicagoland, and ProSkydiving.com? This guy expects anyone to believe that he's dropping Skyride because it's bad for the industry?

How about because he owns ProSkydiving.com, a website that does essentially the same 'job' as Skyride, think that has anything to do with his desicion?

To be fair, I don't know of any instances of ProSkydiving.com lying to customers, ripping people off, or witholding any monies from DZ participating in their program.

To continue being fair, and realictic, Proskydiving does come inbetween DZs and their local customer base, and install themselves into the transaction, taking skydiving dollars out of localities where they do not provide skydiving services (sound familiar?).

Proskydiving will defend itself by saying they plan to expland out to national advertising (sound familiar?) and that they provide an easy way to book tandems for the DZ (sound familiar?).

They'll go on to suggest that they're website is honest, not misleading, and offers links directly to the DZ where the customer will be jumping, which is all true. They won't mention it, but the truth of the matter is that they also make it VERY easy to book through Proskydiving, and not so easy to work around them and deal direct with the DZ in question.

They have 'all' the answers for what everyone hates about Skyride, as well they should. It would take a monumental retard to try and start a new service that doesn't address these concerns when Skyride is public enemy number one. In fact, it's a nod to their marketing savvy when they recognized the niche for a 'better than Skyride' solution. Without Skyride as the shittiest of all starting points, what they offer wouldn't look quite as rosey.

In the end, skydiving across the board would be better off if DZOs only had to compete with other local DZOs for business, and everyone esle kept their hands out of the pot.

I'm not going to say that Doug is a crook because Ben and Cary came along and clearly defined what a 'crook' is in the indusrty. Doug is smart enough not to repeat those mistakes, staying just above the watermark left by those two. He is, however, a pirate (and not in the funny way). He (figuratively) sails all over the place, collecting a share of the riches and taking them back his home port, and his only defense is that he's not as bad as the last group of pirates.

I hope somebody forwards this to the Skyride crew and Doug doesn't get his $20K. Look up the thread about Proskydiving, and see where he breaks down the costs. He'll be making literally hundreds of thousands of dollars this year off of running a website booking tandems, all money that should remain in the locality of the DZ providing the actual jumps. Fuck him and his $20k, he deserves to lose it.

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Is that Doug Smith the same Doug Smith that owns Chicagoland, and ProSkydiving.com? This guy expects anyone to believe that he's dropping Skyride because it's bad for the industry?

How about because he owns ProSkydiving.com, a website that does essentially the same 'job' as Skyride, think that has anything to do with his desicion?

To be fair, I don't know of any instances of ProSkydiving.com lying to customers, ripping people off, or witholding any monies from DZ participating in their program.

To continue being fair, and realictic, Proskydiving does come inbetween DZs and their local customer base, and install themselves into the transaction, taking skydiving dollars out of localities where they do not provide skydiving services (sound familiar?).

Proskydiving will defend itself by saying they plan to expland out to national advertising (sound familiar?) and that they provide an easy way to book tandems for the DZ (sound familiar?).

They'll go on to suggest that they're website is honest, not misleading, and offers links directly to the DZ where the customer will be jumping, which is all true. They won't mention it, but the truth of the matter is that they also make it VERY easy to book through Proskydiving, and not so easy to work around them and deal direct with the DZ in question.

They have 'all' the answers for what everyone hates about Skyride, as well they should. It would take a monumental retard to try and start a new service that doesn't address these concerns when Skyride is public enemy number one. In fact, it's a nod to their marketing savvy when they recognized the niche for a 'better than Skyride' solution. Without Skyride as the shittiest of all starting points, what they offer wouldn't look quite as rosey.

In the end, skydiving across the board would be better off if DZOs only had to compete with other local DZOs for business, and everyone esle kept their hands out of the pot.

I'm not going to say that Doug is a crook because Ben and Cary came along and clearly defined what a 'crook' is in the indusrty. Doug is smart enough not to repeat those mistakes, staying just above the watermark left by those two. He is, however, a pirate (and not in the funny way). He (figuratively) sails all over the place, collecting a share of the riches and taking them back his home port, and his only defense is that he's not as bad as the last group of pirates.

I hope somebody forwards this to the Skyride crew and Doug doesn't get his $20K. Look up the thread about Proskydiving, and see where he breaks down the costs. He'll be making literally hundreds of thousands of dollars this year off of running a website booking tandems, all money that should remain in the locality of the DZ providing the actual jumps. Fuck him and his $20k, he deserves to lose it.



If ProSkydiving.com is doing business honestly, getting agreements from dropzones to represent them before the fact, and fulfilling their agreed upon business obligations, you have to let them try to do business their way. You have no right to make the decisions for the dropzones that ProSkydiving.com is bad for them. That's for the business owners to decide.

Not every dropzone has the capabilities to create a marketing system like the one ProSkydiving.com might provide. If ProSkydiving.com offers a service for a fee, it is up to the business owners to decide if that represents a good value for their business.

SR is bad for the industry because of their dishonest practices - not because a clearinghouse service is inherently evil.

You may personally feel that we have no need for such a clearinghouse service, but it really must be left to the affected business owners to decide if it is good for their business or not.

I don't particularly like that internet businesses are killing the brick and mortar businesses in my town, and I can try hard to support my local business community. But business models change, and I don't get to tell someone else that he cannot attempt to make his honest business model work. That's the way of capitalism. If it makes money, and is honest, I don't get to shut it down.

And, finally, after you have been railing against SR for so long, you suggest that SR should stiff Chicagoland?

Chicagoland provided a service. You might not like that they did, but as it stands right now, they didn't break the law, SR did.

Chicagoland deserves to be paid.

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you have to let them try to do business their way. You have no right to make the decisions for the dropzones that ProSkydiving.com is bad for them. That's for the business owners to decide.



Legally, that is correct. Unfortunately, the laws have lagged far behind the technology, but we both know that this type of business comes down to 'get on board, or lose out on a ton of business'. These sites simply utilize SEO tactics, and they do so to an extent that the average DZO cannot match. Legal? Yes. Fair? Not entirely, and while I no business is not always fair, this is a small industry, and you're just taking money out of other DZOs pockets.

If you were a competing DZO in a local market, taking money out of the other DZOs pocket is the name of the game. The catch is that you actually have to own and operate a DZ, and service the customer. To sit home in Chicago and shoe-horn your way into business you have nothing to do with is chicken-shit.

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Not every dropzone has the capabilities to create a marketing system like the one ProSkydiving.com might provide



'Might' being the operative word. How about put the marketing system in place first, then charge for participation in the program? Simply running a website isn't marketing. Every DZ has a website, and if everyone minded their own business, a customer who googles 'Skydiving in Smithtown' would on recieve results from people offering skydiving in Smithtown.

Running a website just inserts you inbetween an existing local customer searching for DZ, and the actual DZ they will be patronizing, and that's not marketing because it doesn't bring in new business.

You want marketing, run a national TV campaign and generate some new traffic. Find a way to get people who aren't already thinking about jumping ( not the same people you snare when they search for a local DZ) and get them to a DZ. In that case you've something and deserve something, otherwise, you're just jamming your dick in a place it doesn't belong.

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Chicagoland deserves to be paid



Indeed they do, but I'm a prick, so I wrote what I did.

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you have to let them try to do business their way. You have no right to make the decisions for the dropzones that ProSkydiving.com is bad for them. That's for the business owners to decide.



Legally, that is correct. Unfortunately, the laws have lagged far behind the technology, but we both know that this type of business comes down to 'get on board, or lose out on a ton of business'. These sites simply utilize SEO tactics, and they do so to an extent that the average DZO cannot match. Legal? Yes. Fair? Not entirely, and while I no business is not always fair, this is a small industry, and you're just taking money out of other DZOs pockets.

If you were a competing DZO in a local market, taking money out of the other DZOs pocket is the name of the game. The catch is that you actually have to own and operate a DZ, and service the customer. To sit home in Chicago and shoe-horn your way into business you have nothing to do with is chicken-shit.



You just described every internet business that is taking revenues from local brick and mortar stores.

This is the age of the internet, and if your website doesn't have what it takes to get in the beginning of the list of search responses, you are just screwed. Sure, that's tough, but it is the way things go nowadays.

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Not every dropzone has the capabilities to create a marketing system like the one ProSkydiving.com might provide



'Might' being the operative word. How about put the marketing system in place first, then charge for participation in the program? Simply running a website isn't marketing. Every DZ has a website, and if everyone minded their own business, a customer who googles 'Skydiving in Smithtown' would on recieve results from people offering skydiving in Smithtown.

Running a website just inserts you inbetween an existing local customer searching for DZ, and the actual DZ they will be patronizing, and that's not marketing because it doesn't bring in new business.



When I used "might", it was not so much about ProSkydiving.com as about the right for each subscribing business to determine if the service offered is a good value for them. Whatever ProSkydiving.com provides (and I surely don't know what they do or don't provide), it is up to the business owner to decide if that service might be worth the money.

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You want marketing, run a national TV campaign and generate some new traffic. Find a way to get people who aren't already thinking about jumping ( not the same people you snare when they search for a local DZ) and get them to a DZ. In that case you've something and deserve something, otherwise, you're just jamming your dick in a place it doesn't belong.



It is not for you or me to decide if a national TV campaign is the only way to provide a marketing/advertising service. It is up to the subscribing business owner to decide if what is offered is worth it.

"Generate new traffic?" Do you think that there are people out there who do not know that skydiving exists and is available to them? Every incident that is sensationalized by the media reaches more people than any advertising program ever will. They are aware. It isn't about "new traffic". It is about market share.

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Chicagoland deserves to be paid



Indeed they do, but I'm a prick, so I wrote what I did.



At least we agree on this. (The underlined part. I don't say whether you are or are not a prick.)

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"Generate new traffic?" Do you think that there are people out there who do not know that skydiving exists and is available to them?



In that case, why bother advertising anything? Do you mean to tell me that you don't know that Pizza Hut exists and makes pizza available to you?

Of course not, but the point is that you can generate new traffic by marketing it to new group, who previously might not have thought it was 'for them'. As an example, we read in Parachutist every month, 'How Skydiving Changed My Life', which is an account from a jumper about the positive impact that being a skydiver has had on their lives. Often times, it invovles coming out of a depression, or recovering from some other misfortune. What if you ran a campaign on Lifetime along those same lines? Empower housewives to conquer their fears, and do something they never thought possible? Then we'd have an onslaught of middle aged women doing tandems.

True related story, years before the internet and skydivng met, I knew TI who lived in a part of town that had a significant gay population. Sitting in a local bar one night, he strikes up a conversation with a guy (who happened to be gay) and the topic of skydiving comes up. Turns out the guy loves the idea, and does a tandem the next weekend. The word spreads, and this TI goes on to bring out 20 or 30 gay guys for tandems that year. None of them ever thought about it, nobody ever marketed it to them, but there were plenty of them interested, and once they realized it was open to them, they jumped.

As far as your other points, I know about the reality of business, and the internet, and the problems associated with it, but I see this as different from the 'open market'.

Again, this is a small industry, that many people get into more out of passion than for money. It's true they need to make some money to stay in it, but with the up front costs, and risks invovled, you could get a better return on your investment in other industries.

To turn around and cannibalize the industry for your own personal gain is just wrong. You might be getting ahead in business, but it's on the backs of your brothers.

You want a piece of the Smithtown action? Do the work, and open a DZ in Smithtown. Once you do that, you're entitled to your piece of the Smithtown pie. You're even entitled to steamroll the existing Smithtown DZs and run them out of business with low prices, high advertising budgets and better business sense, but all of that comes after you make the investment in Smithtown and build the DZ.

I know that brick and mortar is suffering at the hand of the internet, but that's retail, where there are goods to be housed, and those same exact goods can be had elsewhere. Skydiving is a service business, and in the end, the service still needs to be provided at a brick and mortar location, so you're not helping anyone but yourself when you get inbetween the customer and the guy who owns the bricks and mortar.

It's legal, and present in other industries, but that doesn't make it right, and don't expect the repsect of your peers when you shit all over them in order to get paid.

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I look at these places as if they were salesmen at a big car dealership...:|

Why does someone have to get paid for pointing at a car that I can see from the street?

Just get me to the guy that actually makes the transaction, the idiot standing between us adds nothing to the process.



I don't like these services, but I'm not in the dropzone business so my opinion is next to worthless...had a dinner discussion last year with some jumper friends one of which was a DZO that takes SR ~ a couple of the out of towners voiced critical opinions regarding the DZ accepting the certificates...the DZO gave reasonable facts and figures as to increased volume of sales, not my place to tell anyone they should make less money especially in a margin critical venture such as running a small dropzone.

This DZ is on the web, it also advertises regionally with print and radio spots and has done so for years...the SR option pulls a percentage of available customers to them that they might not have seen otherwise, for a price they can live with.

I don't like it, the SR service as run today is an unscrupulous leach on the process...but it allows 'that DZ' to offer a safe well maintained place to jump in a competitive business environment where pennies of profit do matter.

That being said, I don't think it's accurate to consider SR or the like, marketing ventures. I see the act of marketing as convincing someone to participate in something, that they were not considering previously.

I 'marketed' a FJC for a commission when I was in college, I went to various places and events with the goal of generating new business, I showed videos, handed out brochures, gave talks and demonstrations...then directed them where to go, IMO that's marketing.










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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I know that brick and mortar is suffering at the hand of the internet, but that's retail, where there are goods to be housed, and those same exact goods can be had elsewhere. Skydiving is a service business, and in the end, the service still needs to be provided at a brick and mortar location, so you're not helping anyone but yourself when you get in between the customer and the guy who owns the bricks and mortar.

It's legal, and present in other industries, but that doesn't make it right, and don't expect the repsect of your peers when you shit all over them in order to get paid.



Skydiving may be a service business for some.

But for many or most, it is an entertainment business.

While dropzones provide a service, it isn't like your auto mechanic or furnace repairman. It is much more like the hotel industry for many if not most of the tandem students.

Why do I say this? For a number of reasons. For most tandems, it is the one and only foray into the world of skydiving. Maybe there are a few people who will do a second and even more, but for most, it is a one-shot deal. With that in mind, the service does not necessarily get its customers from the local customer base. Tandems often come from far away. For many it is combined with some other singular entertainment, like a trip to a vacation destination. Tying it to the local market is simply unrealistic.

You mention product retail and how the exact same products can be had at a lower price. Actually, tandem skydiving is a lot like that. Any brick and mortar business that relies primarily on geographic location as an entitlement to do business is potentially doomed, and skydiving is no exception.

You know Dave, we aren't actually very far apart in our philosophical views on this. I too would prefer that businesses that don't add a tangible value would get out of our economy. It is an invitation to have large numbers of people lose their livelihoods when small changes in the paradigm occur, and that a long term bad thing. For example, our medical industries have vast numbers of people working at the interface to the insurance industry. A change in the way medicine is financed stands to put these people out of work. That's not a good thing.

The big difference in our points of view is that I've been convinced that this stuff is here to stay, and so I encourage the actual providers to make the best of a bad situation.

But, at a philosophical level, I agree. A reservation system for the skydiving industry just makes for more people slicing up the pie. And that puts a strain on the real suppliers of the service or entertainment.

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Then we'd have an onslaught of middle aged women doing tandems.



Seeing as I am now myself getting somewhat just beyond that middle-age mark or so, I just got myself a spontaneous chub over that statement when I read it! ;)

Bring 'em on! :P
coitus non circum - Moab Stone

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There's lots of companies we don't need.

When they succeed, and put other companies out of business, then we wonder how we got along without them.

If ProSkydiving.com offers a service that dropzones want to purchase, who are we to say they aren't needed?

If ProSkydiving.com offers a service that dropzones don't want to purchase, it will go away without any angst.

The problem with SR was that they were not playing fair, and therefore were thwarting the natural forces/processes of our economic system.

If ProSkydiving.com plays fair, the natural forces/processes of the market will determine if they survive or fail.

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If ProSkydiving.com offers a service that dropzones don't want to purchase, it will go away without any angst.

The problem with SR was that they were not playing fair, and therefore were thwarting the natural forces/processes of our economic system.



How do you see Proskydiving any differently than Skyride in that case? The basis of their business is that they have optimized the SEO such that they can intercept a fair portion of the web traffic looking for a DZ in a given locality. They then offer their 'service' to a local DZ who knows that Proskydiving is 'holding all the cards', and if they don't deal with them, their competition will. In that sense, the DZO has lost the 'free will' to participate based solely on the value of the deal, but is pressured by the loss of all the local traffic that Proskydiving can snare.

It would be one thing if Proskydiving was actaully marketing in some way, and bringing new customers to the table. In that sense, Proskydiving would 'own' those customers, and the DZO could refuse to accept them because they would still have all of the customers who would have jumped without the benefit of the additional marketing effort.

I'm not sure why you can't see that any way you slice it, these guys are getting in between local customers and their DZs, and taking a cut of the action. If Proskydiving didn't intercept them, these people would have been connected directly with their local DZ, where they would have made a jump and the DZ collected 100% of the profits. DZOs aren't on board because they want to be, they're on board because it's the lesser of two evils.

The first evil - lose a cut of your profits to Proskydiving because they catch your customers on the web before you do, or the second evil - lose all of your profits to Proskydiving and a competing local DZ because Proskydiving caught your customers and sent them elsewhere.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it's borderline mafia behavior. You pay the 'protection' money, or risk being 'unprotected'. Meanwhile, the people you are paying are the same people who will hurt you if you don't pay. The 'protected' person would be better off if the 'protectors' didn't exist. Ditto for DZOs and Proskydiving (except for one DZO, that being Doug Smith who owns Proskydiving).

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SR claimed to have and even BE dropzones that they are not.

As far as SEO goes, that's fair and its life. No different from one dz taking out ads newspapers, tv, yellow pages, while another chooses not to. Any dz can hire someone to make their website get better hits in the search engines, can't they? Any business that relies on a website to get business has to live with this, and has options available to improve their performance.

There used to be mom & pop burger joints. There are far fewer now. Franchising caused that. And it is pretty much the same thing. The franchisor found a way to establish a name, and the name had value, and the franchisees wanted to be part of that.

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I'm not sure why you can't see that any way you slice it, these guys are getting in between local customers and their DZs, and taking a cut of the action.



I already said that I don't much like the idea of more people eating from the same pie.

Me? I don't understand why you don't see that internet killing local brick and mortar is the same thing, too.

We both don't like it.

But I am not going to rant that the guy who makes a legitimate attempt to make a business deserves to lose the money that crooks owe him.

In summary - I don't like internet shit getting in the way any more than you do. I just recognize that its here to stay, and the best we can hope for is for people to be honest about it and not use deceptive tactics like SR has/does.

If ProSkydiving.com does it legally, without the deceptive practices of SR, then there's really no point in my railing against it. That would be about as useful as getting mad at the wind.

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Interesting how this thread has gone from Ben and Cary over to Doug.... well.... totally makes sense... ;)

Per link below, JCPenney just got caught with its hand in the web search cookie jar.... wonder if our brethren are also doing this....

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/business/13search.html?_r=2&smid=fb-nytimes&WT.mc_id=BU-SM-E-FB-SM-LIN-SOI-021311-NYT-NA&WT.mc_ev=click

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JCPenney just got caught with its hand in the web search cookie jar.... wonder if our brethren are also doing this....



Thanks for posting this. That story is a prime example of a perfectly legal, but unethical, use of SEO. The actions of JCP are legal, but frowed upon by Google, a company that collected some $2.5 million dollars from JCP for legitimate advertising.

So the law has no stance on the subject, but Google feels strongly enough about it that it's willing to sanction one of their own 2.5 million dollar clients.

Just because what Skyride and Proskydiving does is 'legal' (in the sense of SEO and intercepting customers) does mean that it's right. They're cannibalizing skydiving in order to line their own pockets.

Let's fast forward a decade, and see what we're left with if this continues. A very small number of people will be making a very large sum of money off of skydiving, anf they won't be the ones owning or operating DZs. Meanwhile, DZOs will be severly limited in the money they can make because too much of their business will be filtered through one of these 'services', who of course soak up a cut of the profits before passing the business to the actual service provider.

Let's face it folks, skydiving is a cottage industry, and it always will be. Take a look at any of the equipment providers and you'll see this to be true. The only companies with any size to speak of are those also involved in the defense industry (let's leave UPT and Strong out of this because tandem makes the skydivign world go round).

What would Bonehead's annual sales be if they didn't have the military contracts? How about Tony Suits or Bev, how long have they been in business, and how long have their sales been stagnent?

There just isn't that much money in sport skydiving. I know it seems like it costs a fortune, but that's thanks to the FAA and the fact that it's a small industry. The FAA has made airplanes expensive to own and operate, and that's the majority of the cost in making a jump. They have also made the equipment more expensive to manufacture due to TSO testing and adhering to that TSO during construction. (In all fairness, the FAA has made skydiving safer with these things).

Beyond that, the gear is pricey because the industry is small. I'm sure if you could sell 50,000 rigs per year, they could find a way to make them cheaper.

In point is that profits in sport skydiving are a small pie, and you can't cut that pie up too many times before everyone is just getting crumbs. These 'services', like Proskydiving and Skyride don't bring anything new to the table or create additional revenue for the DZ to justify their cost. It's a straight loss for the DZO, and one the DZO would be better off without.

If nobody stuck their nose into their local business, the DZOs would be better off in the end. Leave them to deal with their local customers and local competition one-on-one, and allow they to live or die of their own devices.

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