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ChasingBlueSky

What can we do about Skyride?

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I'm not sure what people expect Mike to do...



I'm thinking that since Mike entered into the conversation, and is in a position to address the issue with Skyride mgmt, they're looking for him to bring back an 'official' response from Skyride mgmt. We should expect nothing more from Mike other than he has forwarded this discussion on to Skyride mgmt.

Remember that Christmas is coming up and Santa is watching you. So avoid the name calling and attacks on this sensitive topic. Before you hit 'post reply', walk away from the computer and think about what you've written and edit as necessary.
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~~~Michael

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Chuting Star Rigging came then came under the microscope because it is "associated" by doing business on the same DZ.

The list of "associated" people who seem to have been thoughtlessly lumped into a "bad guy" category now includes Chuck Blue.



Chuting Star Rigging may have come under the spot light because of association, but he stayed under the spot light because he is the staff manager at ASC.

How has Chuck been lumped into the bad guy category? I've read the post and I don't see it. Maybe I missed something.


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In Reply To
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If you associate yourself and defend people who do not have the sport of skydiving in their best interests, do not get upset when you have to put up with the HEAT.

Chris Welker

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"Birds of a feather flock together"

or as my dear departed Mother told me when I was very young: "You are judged according to the people you associate with".



I read the post earlier and just re-read them. I did not interpret those post as an attack on Chuck. Instead I read that as a reply to Chuck that Mike has brought this upon himself. If anything I interpret those post as attacks on Mike.


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He may not agree, but if he states that opinion, he could lose his rigging business, etc.



I believe his rigging business is a seperate entity. I don't think he could lose his rigging business, only his onsite location. What he could stand to lose is his staff manager position at ASC, which I hardly believe is a job worth keeping. I imagine that position must pay him pretty well.

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He may be doing the best he can to change things (I don't know), without risking his income



I don't see how he can change anything. The owner is unethical and encourages those kind of business practices. For Mike to change anything he would essentially have to tell his boss and buddy how to run his business.


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Lets get this back on topic.

Realistic things that everyone that has complaints about Skyride can do:


Talk to your DZO and let them know your thoughts and and feelings on Skyride. Point them to this thread if they are not aware of how 1800Skyride operates.

Contact your regional directors and national directors and let them know your feelings on Skyride. This one is important since elections are in 2 weeks and the BOD will be having a meeting at PIA where they can take action if the membership is telling them to.

Tell any of your friends and family that are looking at skydiving NOT to use Skyride.

Contact your local attorney generals office if you see deceptive advertising that pretends to be in your state.

Create your own website that comes up first in the search queries for your local area. If Skyride is at 7 or 8 there is less traffic going to them. These need to be based on search terms like "Skydive Miami" or "Skydiving near Chicago" not "Skyride".

Some of those are really easy and only take about 30 - 40 seconds.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

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Lets get this back on topic.



Yes...thank you

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Create your own website that comes up first in the search queries for your local area. If Skyride is at 7 or 8 there is less traffic going to them. These need to be based on search terms like "Skydive Miami" or "Skydiving near Chicago" not "Skyride".



If you need hosting, please let me know as I can discount your hosting.
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~~~Michael

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Simply because if they don't someone will and as much as we hate Skyride, they do bring in new jumpers to our sport.



This is where you are VERY wrong. They do NOT bring new jumpers to our sport. They divert people looking to skydive FROM legitimate DZs in the state to a fake one. Then they send the buyer to someone that takes their certificate.

To bring new jumpers to the sport, they must ADVERTISE! A web site is NOT advertizing, it is a place the consumer FINDS by searching for it. These people have already made a decision to buy a tandem....

These guys are equivalent to someone sitting in the DZ parking lot selling marked up tandem certificates!

Thieves.... not only of my photos, but of legitimate DZ's business.
www.brentfinley.com
brent@brentfinley.com

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I read the post earlier and just re-read them. I did not interpret those post as an attack on Chuck. Instead I read that as a reply to Chuck that Mike has brought this upon himself. If anything I interpret those post as attacks on Mike.



If that is the case, people choosing to reply need to do so to the correct post, and be clear about who they are talking to. This is too hot a thread for ambiguity.
Arrive Safely

John

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To bring new jumpers to the sport, they must ADVERTISE! A web site is NOT advertizing, it is a place the consumer FINDS by searching for it. These people have already made a decision to buy a tandem....

These guys are equivalent to someone sitting in the DZ parking lot selling marked up tandem certificates!

Thieves.... not only of my photos, but of legitimate DZ's business.



I don't agree with their fraudulent practices, but Skyride does Advertise. I see their ad in my local newspaper everyday. If Skyride would refrain from stealing other people's property and their other various fraudulent practices, their basic marketing premise is a good one.

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i was looking to get my dad a gift cert for a balloon ride for xmas...this is what i came across on more than one site.
Warning! It has come to our attention recently, that due to the "big ticket item" nature of balloon rides there are several nationwide companies targeting consumers by selling "discount" balloon ride gift certificates. They pass themselves off as local ride companies but really don't fly balloons in the state, don't have a local address and some don't even own a balloon. Good luck finding a pilot to honor your ride ticket. Beware! If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. PLEASE Make sure you are purchasing from a reputable hot air balloon company that has a Connecticut address and phone number.




You mean as on this site:
Adventure Balloon - near the bottom of the page [CT]
or this one ?
Champagne Flights - near the bottom of the page [Ohio]
or this one ?
Fantastic Fall Balloon Flights! - middle of page [Iowa]
.

Hooray, my first post here, and on my birthday nonetheless.

These three particular sites are all owned by different individual balloon ride companies. I'm personal friends with the two pilots from Connecticut & Iowa, and have traded links with the Ohio pilot and emailed back & forth with him on an ongoing basis. They're all class acts and run respectable flight operations.

I'm not sure I can make out the motive of the two posts on here from the context. Perhaps it's just a little alarming that these three sites all used the same text for their warnings? If that's the case, you've got nothing to fear.

The international balloon email list (aka "reflector"... balloon@lboro.ac.uk) had a big discussion about the ride broker issues not too long ago and a lot of list members rallied by putting up similar or identical warnings on their websites. That explains why the wording is the same on each of those sites. Some people just aren't creative enough to write out their own unique wording.

The same thing is happening in ballooning as in skydiving, and we're just now beginning to step up to the plate to combat SKYRIDE and other similar unscrupulous companies.

Personally, I'm really furious because my copyrighted artwork and photos have been used on countless "newyorkballooning.com" and similar sites.

Original Artwork copyright 2002 by myself:
http://www.njhotair.com/index/arrows.jpg
Actual location on my site:
http://www.njhotair.com/index/balloons/
Their lovely version (it can be seen on MANY such sites for different states):
http://www.newyorkballooning.com/pilotcert.html

Original image on my site (original frame grab from MiniDV video I personally shot in 2000):
http://www.njhotair.com/index/lookup1.jpg
Second photo from left is mine (notice their bastard version has been enlarged, with JPG artifacts): http://www.soaringsports.com/balloon_gallery.htm

So... Count me in.

I've PM'ed PhreeZone and am more than happy to add these copyright violations to his list.

In the meantime, I've set up http://www.1800skyride.org as my humble contribution to the great war. If there's anything I can do with it, I'm open to suggestions. At this point it deals only with balloon rides, since that's my living, (plus I put the site together and had it fully functional online in the course of an hour after initial domain registration). However, it's only logical to combine ballooning & skydiving efforts there at some point.

I must admit I borrowed much of the text, as well as the caution tape, from http://www.skydiveoc.com/scamCaution.html... With all good intents.

I'll hope to check back on this thread soon... But if anybody needs to get in touch for whatever reason, PM or email me.

Soft Landings,
Jon Radowski
http://www.njhotair.com
rat6666@gmail.com

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I don’t see how it’s possible to charge $40 (25%) more than the DZ supposedly next door without being at least a little dishonest.

After getting the credit card number “the total will be $198.45 with the instruction and gear rental”, “wait a minute, I thought the cost was $165.00, this is the first you told me about any “instruction, or gear charge””, “this is the industry standard, every drop zone charges for instruction and gear, they generally will not tell you until you’re at the DZ paying just before you jump.”
You get the idea, and how about the $40 discount working out to the 198.45 as well?
Or, how about telling someone on a Sunday at 11:00am in December (dark at 5:30) that their group of 5 will be going to a DZ 45 minutes away and that they will be able to jump today, then after taking their money giving them the phone number to a DZ 250 miles away for “specific directions”. This after the Skyride operator calls the DZ and is specifically instructed that in order to get a group of 5 tandems up that she will HAVE to get them to the DZ no later than 1:00pm! She did her job, Skyride got the money!
I guess you’re probably correct, most skydiving business generally engage in these same types of practices. I guess that’s also how DZs that accept Skyride certificates justify doing business with them.


IN REPLY TO
I don't agree with their fraudulent practices, but Skyride does Advertise. I see their ad in my local newspaper everyday. If Skyride would refrain from stealing other people's property and their other various fraudulent practices, their basic marketing premise is a good one.


Experience is what you get when you thought you were going to get something else.

AC DZ

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Just a reminder - www.1800skyrider.com is another good website following this theme.

This past weekend in Palatka I had a tandem ask "how much for gear rental", and another that was wondering why we are not on the 1800Skydive list of participating dz's (she had gotten the name wrong).

I've NEVER had a tandem student ask about gear rental!

I wonder just how much business they have taken from us. Is there a published list of dz's that do accept these certificates? Just curious to see if any of our Florida drop zones have fallen into the trap.

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Agreed. Skyride is not honest.

Their basic marketing premise isn't wrong though. Create a nationwide marketing presence to support small businesses that couldn't possibly market themselves in such a way.

Based on the info that has been presented in this thread, it is obvious that Skyride goes beyond just standard marketing.

Perhaps though someone could create a marketing business that sells skydiving gift certificates for those who want to give a skydive as a gift. Advertise in a few major newspapers around the country and create an internet site that will show up in searches like DZ.com. On the internet site sell gift certificates that are accepted at participating DZ's. The customer prints their own gift certificate after providing payment info. The DZ verifies the certificate via the internet site as well. Add a search criteria to the DZ.com locator that allows visitors to find DZ's that accept the certificates before they buy. Then when the DZ accepts the certificate, he gives the customer the face value of the certificate and is reimbursed at a discounted rate by the certificate issuer. The discount rate becomes the issuers revenue, from which they pay advertising expenses, credit card fees, etc. The issuer could even tack on a small ($5-10) service charge when selling the certificate to defray costs as well.

How about it Sangiro? Want to start a side business?

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I don’t see how it’s possible to charge $40 (25%) more than the DZ supposedly next door without being at least a little dishonest.

After getting the credit card number “the total will be $198.45 with the instruction and gear rental”, “wait a minute, I thought the cost was $165.00, this is the first you told me about any “instruction, or gear charge””, “this is the industry standard, every drop zone charges for instruction and gear, they generally will not tell you until you’re at the DZ paying just before you jump.”
You get the idea, and how about the $40 discount working out to the 198.45 as well?
Or, how about telling someone on a Sunday at 11:00am in December (dark at 5:30) that their group of 5 will be going to a DZ 45 minutes away and that they will be able to jump today, then after taking their money giving them the phone number to a DZ 250 miles away for “specific directions”. This after the Skyride operator calls the DZ and is specifically instructed that in order to get a group of 5 tandems up that she will HAVE to get them to the DZ no later than 1:00pm! She did her job, Skyride got the money!
I guess you’re probably correct, most skydiving business generally engage in these same types of practices. I guess that’s also how DZs that accept Skyride certificates justify doing business with them.


IN REPLY TO
I don't agree with their fraudulent practices, but Skyride does Advertise. I see their ad in my local newspaper everyday. If Skyride would refrain from stealing other people's property and their other various fraudulent practices, their basic marketing premise is a good one.



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I'm still compiling a list as people email whether their DZ takes the certs or not. It's still pretty short.



Do you think some places are too ashamed to admit they accept them?

___________________________________________
meow

I get a Mike hug! I get a Mike hug!

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Perhaps though someone could create a marketing business that sells skydiving gift certificates for those who want to give a skydive as a gift.



There are a whole bunch of middleman sites (besides SkyRide).
Here are a few:

http://www.advflights.com/

http://www.800soaring.com/ they also have some domain aliases.
800soaring was one of the first sites. Cary Q actually joined their network. They gave each operator a list of all the other operators (and still do). Cary took that list as seed for SkyRide. I got this info from Roberta at 800 soaring about 2 years ago.
800 soaring did cause a ruckus in CO with the soaring operators. 800 soaring was selling certificates that none of the CO operators would accept. The soaring operators asked the Denver DA for a 'cease and desist' order against 800 soaring. They got that c 2002.
Since then http://www.milehighskyride.com/ started up.

http://www.thrillseekersunlimited.com/Vskydive.htm

http://www.skydivingteam.com/
New one. By either a disgruntled SkyRide employee or a puppet SkyRide employee???
I called their number and the operator told me they did not schedule skydives.
I thought that was weird, but whenever you call a toll-free number, the company can see your phone number. So maybe I was 'flagged'.
Or it could be that they do not have any DZs onboard yet??
They advertise with Google ads.

http://www.extremesportscafe.com/skydiving_tandem.html
http://www.redletterdays.co.uk/experiences/experience_details.asp?ExpRef=XPCTT
http://www.adventuresportsholidays.com/product_details.php?ProductID=401

http://greatamericandays.com
This one is interesting reading.

http://tandemskydive.com
Go look at the 'Gift Box' deal on this site

http://tandemskydivingusa.com
http://www.tandemskydives.com/
http://www.milehighskyride.com/

REAL DZs are getting into the act too.
These websites
http://skydivenortherncalifornia.com/
http://www.skydivesacramentovalley.com/
http://www.skydivesanfranciscobay.com/
are fronts for Skydance. The top page presents what appears to be a different dz, but the sub pages are all skydance.net
http://www.skydance.net/

Google Sacramento skydiving and you'll see ads for these domains.

Crosskeys also has a number of sites that upon first inspection appear to be different businesses.
http://www.newyorkskydivingschool.com/
http://www.freefalladventures.com/
skydiveprinceton.com
http://skydivecrosskeys.com/

From SkydiveCrosskeys:
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Tandem Skydive
Includes everything you need to make a first time, or recreational tandem skydive. Save $14.00 off our normal price.
Must be at least 18 years old and weigh fewer than 250 pounds!
Price does not include $30.00 Gear Rental Fee.

Online purchases are refundable for a period of 30 days from the date of purchase for a fee of $30.00.



For comparison, SkyRide offers a 60 day refund policy for $31.50.

Several DZs are participating in content link spamming. Linked text is spammed (aka words that you would not normally use to describe the link). This supposedly increases search engine rank, but the search engines are becoming wise to the practice and are ranking the relevancy of linked text to page content. Content link spamming definitely breaks the usability of the page.
Examples are at:
http://skydiveelsinore.com
http://skydiveperris.com
http://arizonaskydiving.com
http://skydivehollister.com

Scroll to the bottom nav at these pages.
You will see links that have link descriptors that have nothing to do with the page that is linked. View the page it links to in the status bar.

For instance,

On http://arizonaskydiving.com the text 'Skydive Arizona' is linked to the price page.
On http://skydiveperris.com the text 'Southern California skydiving' is linked to the price page.
On http://skydiveelsinore.com the text 'Orange County Area Skydive' is linked to the student tandem page.
On http://skydivehollister.com the text 'Monterey Skydiving' goes to the price page.

BTW, the reason I have found these sites is because I look for skydiving sites for Parachute Pages
Multiple domains aliased to the same site are hard enough to keep track of. These new multiple front web sites add a new twist to maintenance.

What a tangled web we weave…….

A lot of the marketing problems would disappear if real dzs effectively used meta tags, navigation and text on their pages. I've helped two dzos in the past couple of weeks make their web site more search engine friendly.

.
.
Make It Happen
Parachute History
DiveMaker

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Crosskeys also has a number of sites that upon first inspection appear to be different businesses.... Price does not include $30.00 Gear Rental Fee.




Crosskeys started this to combat skyride's tactics. However, Crosskeys isn't advertising skydiving in California...Just in their geographical market. They also deliver on everything they promise...

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