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ChasingBlueSky

What can we do about Skyride?

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Well in at least two cases, skyride stole the 800 number to a legitimate drop zone, so the student thought they knew who they were talking to. But yes, they do tell students that they can go to the drop zone in XYC city and use the certificate, regardless of whether or not that dz accepts it. At least thats what they have done in the past.
Search any of my posts or beezyshaw's posts in this thread for more examples.

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Did skyride give the jumpers the address of the dz, or did the jumper get the address themselves after being duped?



Skyride won't give out any address until you give them your cc #.

Judy
Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

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Here is something everyone can do to help (un)support skyride:

Go to google and search for skydive (state name) or skydive (city name) and identify a skyride site - click on the link.

I've been doing some experimenting, I had three clicks paying me $1.75 through an ad service that takes 30% off the top. I have reason to suspect that those three clicks were generated by three friends of mine who I asked to go to the site and click on skyride related ads.

If the value of certain thrill related key words has inflated to nearly $0.50 per click, and 1000 people followed a paid skyride add - that's $500 out of the companies pocket.

At a certain point they'll hit their monthly budget - and paid ads won't get out to potential victims.

It's totally legal, because the clicks are not being made by the machine and you do in fact download the resulting webpage which then has an opportunity to cause an impression.

The way most ad sites work, only one click works per ip in a given period of time - so don't wast your time; but if 10 people change their defalt webpage to a google search on the skyride phone numbers plus the keyword skydive, and click a resulting ad once per day... that's around $15 per month you've taken from their efforts. - and possibly $300+ of business you've taken from them at the end of the month when the ad budget runs out and they don't get the extra business.
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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In Reply To
Is Skydive.com, shown in the advertisement on page 34 of the April 2007 issue of Skydiving Magazine, going to be Skyride's main competitor? Just wondering. Competition is good, especially when the new boy on the block is legit. Smile

Skydive.com doesn't sell jump tickets, they just help people find dropzones.



Indeed. Joe Jennings started Skydive.com to do some co-op marketing for legitimate dropzones. For a flat monthly fee, he's promoting the hell out of Skydive.com, which provides a map to help someone find the nearest DZ.

I've just signed our DZ up with Joe, and encourage everyone else to do the same. If we all help fund this advertising effort, we'll all benefit, and customers will be treated in a straightforward, honest way.

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Anyone have updates? I heard a rumor that Boston/Hartford dropped them, but haven't confirmed.

Dave



I can confirm for you Dave. Danielson is no longer dealing with Skyride or any other booking companies.
"The restraining order says you're only allowed to touch me in freefall"
=P

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Hypothetically speaking, if I was the new owner of www.AtlantaSkydivingCenter.com, what would be a good website to forward it to that would educate consumers about Skyride business practices?
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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Hypothetically speaking, if I was the new owner of www.AtlantaSkydivingCenter.com, what would be a good website to forward it to that would educate consumers about Skyride business practices?



Hypothetically speaking, since ther actually is an Atlanta Skydiving Center (a DZ with that name located in the Atlanta area), wouldn't misdirecting people who were searching for it be just as unethical as the business practices you intend to educate the unknowing masses about? Not defending them, just saying.

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Hypothetically speaking, if I was the new owner of www.AtlantaSkydivingCenter.com, what would be a good website to forward it to that would educate consumers about Skyride business practices?



Hypothetically speaking, since ther actually is an Atlanta Skydiving Center (a DZ with that name located in the Atlanta area), wouldn't misdirecting people who were searching for it be just as unethical as the business practices you intend to educate the unknowing masses about? Not defending them, just saying.



Isn't Atlanta Skydiving Center the Dropzone owned by the same people as Skyride?

The unethical part of Skyride's business is claiming to be a dropzone that does not exist. I don't have any problem with the fact that they own a website like www.SkydivingChicago.com, but I have a serious problem with the fact that the website contents lead the consumer to believe that it is the website of Skydive Chicago.

Using keywords of other dropzones, places, events, etc, is completely ethical - an example I once gave is that outside of one of the casinos in my area is a billboard for the next closest casino. Completely reasonable. However - claiming to be somebody you're not, or selling services you're not able to offer - is both unethical and rude. By redirecting the site to an existing website that informs consumers about the risks of purchasing from skyride is, in my opinion, in no way breaking any ethical bounds - as I'm not claiming to be from Atlanta Skydiving Center. Someone who visits the resulting site will very quickly identify that I am not Atlanta Skydiving Center.
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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Just an FYI...An investigative story on Skyride was just broadcast a few minutes ago on Fox5 news in Atlanta. Disgruntled balloon customer as well as the Balloon Federation stating they did not let Skyride renew its membership.

Link to story:
http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=3481635&version=2&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1

Mike
ChutingStar.com

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Skyride investigations are ballooning.

Everything is blowing up in their faces.

Randy should have interviewed more old windbags over there.

Ever get the feeling that some people are just full of hot air?





Ok...I'll quit now...
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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It just takes a while, but eventually those bastards will get beat down and decide to go do something else... :|



I'm not so sure. When I did scouting for the entertainment industry, we were constantly battling against the "cattle-call" model and talent companies that have "seminars" or modeling/acting calls where they ask you for a fee up front when they select you. We would do our best to educate the local communities about the one or two main companies involved in this type of scam (i.e. you pay them their "fee" and they keep telling you they are looking for roles/jobs for you, but you never seem to be the right person for any of the "jobs"). When these companies would find the legal spotlight to be too terribly intense, they would sell off all of their assets and rise from their own ashes with a new name but the same tired old scam.

It takes constant vigilance and effort to educate people regarding scams like this so that eventually it becomes fiscally unproductive for them to continue their conscienceless and greedy operations. Even after they're shut down, you have to continue the vigilance and effort to ensure they don't crop up again with a different name and scam even more people.
Kevin - Sonic Beef #5 - OrFun #28
"I never take myself too seriously, 'cuz everybody know fat birds don't fly." - FLC
Online communities: proof that people never mature much past high school.

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Just found out yesterday that the Skyride DZ in Pell City, AL is moving to Prattville, AL, just north of Montgomery. Their last day of operation in Pell City is July 23.

Word is the Pell City airport plans to build a tower on the LZ, effectively pushing the DZ out.

I don't suppose the folks at Opelika Skydiving Association is gonna like having them in his backyard too much... :|
"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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http://www.atlanta.bbb.org/commonreport.html?compid=13003271

This is now in the BBB report:

Government Actions

On May 10, 2007 the State of Georgia through Joseph P. Doyle, Administrator of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act of 1975, ("Administrator") by and through Thurbert E. Baker, Attorney General for the State of Georgia filed a complaint for injunctive relief, civil penalties, and restitution with the Superior Court of Fulton County, State of Georgia against Cary V. Quattrocchi, Benny W. Butler, USSO, LLC and Atlanta SC, Inc. (Defendants) alleging violations of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act of 1975.

The complaint filed by the Administrator alleges in part that:

Cary V. Quattrocchi and Benny W. Butler own and operate USSO, LLC and Atlanta SC, Inc.

Cary V. Quattrocchi, Benny W. Butler, USSO, LLC and Atlanta SC, Inc. maintain and operate more than 900 web sites including but not limited to: www.1-800-SkyRide.com and www.ThrillPlanet.com through which they advertise "booking" services. Booking agents and reservationists for www.1-800-SkyRide.com and www.ThrillPlanet.com represent to the public that they book appointments and sell gift certificates for extreme outdoor adventures including sky diving, hot air ballooning, race car driving, river rafting, and assorted other sporting adventures.

The Georgia Office of Consumer Affairs received 62 consumer complaints regarding the Defendants. The majority of the complaints allege failure to provide services after receiving full payment from consumers, failure to provide gift certificates after receiving payment in full, or consumers being unable to redeem the purchased gift certificates. Specifically, the Defendants received payment and made reservations for sky diving, ballooning and other sporting services without knowing whether the appointed times or sky diving centers that consumers requested -and believed they were being booked for- were open or available. Additionally, consumers were promised certain appointment times, locations or dates without fulfillment, while other consumers would arrive at the diving facility only to discover that the facility had not received booking requests or payment for those services on behalf of the consumer, or that the location where the appointment was booked was not convenient or nearby as represented.

Prior to purchasing gift certificates, consumers inquired into the locations where the certificates could be redeemed. Representatives falsely assured the consumers that the gift certificates were redeemable at numerous locations convenient to the consumer. Additionally, the web sites misrepresented affiliation with certain companies and the number of locations where customers could redeem their gift certificates. As a result, consumers were unable to timely redeem their gift certificates because they where unable to find convenient or nearby locations as represented.

When consumers requested refunds for the unused services, undelivered gift certificates, or non-redeemable gift certificates, the Defendants fabricated various reasons for denying the consumers refund requests, including that the consumer had not paid "refund fees," inclement weather policies, unexpected facility closings, the unavailability of dive instructors, the lack of responsibility for the practices or operations of independently-owned diving centers, and lack of responsibility for failed mail delivery.

Defendants falsely represented to consumers that their facilities were certified, affiliated, or approved by the United States Parachute Association ("USPA") and that some of their instructors or employees were also certified by the USPA.

After reviewing the consumer complaints and conducting a thorough investigation, the Administrator served upon the Defendants a "Notice of Contemplated Legal Action" as required. The Administrator's efforts to resolve the allegations against Defendants by having them enter into an assurance of voluntary compliance have not been successful.

The State of Georgia (through the Administrator) is seeking injunctive relief, monetary relief by way of penalties, and restitution to persons adversely affected by the Defendants' actions.

The complaint has been filed with the court and is a matter of public record however, the case has not yet come to trial.
ChutingStar.com

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Dear DropZone community members,

My name is Robert Prevost, I am the Founder & CEO of www.RacingSchools.com. My company was founded in 1996 and is an authorized sales agent for over 70 of the best auto racing and high performance driving schools in the world.

We are a reputable business that maintains solid relationships with all the major auto racing school owners in the US, Canada and Europe. In mid 2005 we came across a website that none of us had ever heard of: www.Thrillplanet.com . I was immediately suspicious as the photos used on the site were mostly "lifted" from my own website along with copyrighted text.

I immediately contacted the company to find out who had authorized them to use photos taken from our website and which racing school operators had agreed to allow them to sell their school programs. Naturally I received the same run around as every customer that has ever had the misfortune of dealing with this criminal enterprise.

It quickly became obvious to me that this company was defrauding consumers as I could find only one lone racing school operator who knew about these guys and that's because his dad accepted their hot air balloon certificates. This school operator soon refused to also accept Thrillplanet's worthless vouchers because they had lied to him too many times in just a couple of months.

I had my attorney send Thrillplanet a cease and decist letter and posted warnings on my website's home page. That quickly resulted in their attorneys contacting me and threatening me with a lawsuit. I challenged them to find any false statements posted on my site regarding their clients and I never heard from them since. Paper tigers at best.

As of today, nearly two years after our initial inquiry, Thrillplanet continues to operate unscrupulously and defraud consumers daily. I have been in touch with the kind folks at PASkyDive as well as the representatives at SkyDive Arizona and their attorneys to offer any assistance we can offer in getting rid of these parayas on our two industries.

I welcome any Drop Zone operator to contact me with any comments or feedback you may have regarding these deadbeats. I hope my efforts to stop these people will also have a positive effect on your efforts to do the same. The ultimate solution is to make sure none of your Drop Zone operators accept their worthless certifcates. None of the auto racing school operators do.

All the best,

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I am looking to do my first skydive and was almost taken in by these people. BE VERY CAREFUL, they are selling all types of these certificates on eBay thru the store name Thrill Planet Adventures. Here's the link http://stores.ebay.com/Thrill-Planet-Adventures.
There are three types of people in this world; those that can count and those that can't.

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I am looking to do my first skydive and was almost taken in by these people. BE VERY CAREFUL, they are selling all types of these certificates on eBay thru the store name Thrill Planet Adventures. Here's the link http://stores.ebay.com/Thrill-Planet-Adventures.



Thank you for posting that. Everyone.... please warn all of your friends that if they see this page, to stay away from it and not buy anything.
"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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I wonder if they've actually sold any of these certificates listed on ebay. The seller thrillplanetstore has a 0 feedback rating. Any savoy ebay buyer should run from a store with a 0 feedback!

Ebay tends to not have a whole lot of patience for deceptive sales, I wonder if a complaint would close this "store."

Martin


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I am looking to do my first skydive and was almost taken in by these people. BE VERY CAREFUL, they are selling all types of these certificates on eBay thru the store name Thrill Planet Adventures. Here's the link http://stores.ebay.com/Thrill-Planet-Adventures.


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

AC DZ

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... The ultimate solution is to make sure none of your Drop Zone operators accept their worthless certifcates. None of the auto racing school operators do.

All the best,



You hit the nail on the head! If no DZ accepted Skyride certificates, the boiler room operation would eventually die on the vine. Good for the racing school operators to be professional enough to see beyond the end of their collective noses! By this measure, your business and associates are as a group more professional than the skydiving industry, or at least a fair number of our operators.

My guess is that a DZ is a comparatively low capital business to start up, or at least relative to a racing school, therefore less susceptible to "fly by night operators." That said, I do know of one small DZ DZO who's been in this business for well over 20 year, enjoys a good reputation for safety. And I understand that a very buys turbine DZ in Indiana is in bed with these guys as well.

We obviously have few answers here, just look at the length of this forum. Good for the racing school business!!!! Sounds like a bunch of people with their heads screwed on straight!

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

AC DZ

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Kudos, Robert...to you and all of the auto racing and high performance driving schools in the world who recognize what is going on with Thrill Planet adn Skyride.

My hat is off to you guys.

If I ever get the nerve to do your thing, I will certainly go through you to do it.
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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I wonder if they've actually sold any of these certificates listed on ebay.



Yes, they have sold some of these. Apparantly they are using a dutch auction to put up around 50 certificates at a time per listing and leaving them up for 6 MONTHS each.

This would explain why they are using the store format and not the regular auction format. In regular format the longest time the auction could run is 10 days.


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Ebay tends to not have a whole lot of patience for deceptive sales, I wonder if a complaint would close this "store."



If these were "regular" auctions, I could get the listings pulled fairly quickly. Since these are listed as part of a store, though, it will take closing down the entire store. A single complaint won't work. I'll put together some info on them and see what I can do.
There are three types of people in this world; those that can count and those that can't.

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