Kirk Cassels' Weekly Wrap of User Comments: January 25-29

I follow politics, but rarely get too involved in taking sides or arguing for one issue or another. So when President Obama made an extensive call during his State of the Union speech to eliminate the bickering in Washington that he believes is hindering progress on issues he feels the country must improve I began to wonder if the plethora of entertainment I find in crazy exchanges between punidts, politicians, and their commenters and fans would soon diminish. Then I realized that even if such an improbable taske were achieved that I can still look forward to the occasional wackness submitted by readers here at It only took a month for someone to bring God into a conversation fused by comments about a controversial company in the travel industry... and it's not YTB this time.

In The Name of Traverus

As we approach 365 days since the story was first published, it seems more and more readers keep coming back comment to George Dooley's initial report on Traverus. As noted above, one reader, Seneca Johnson, feels pretty holy on the subject, saying:

TraVerus is changing lives one person at a time. TraVerus is not a get rich quick scheme! TraVerus is a company created to help the new network marketer with no experience have a fair chance in the industry. I thank the lord for being TraVerus in my life. Now I tell God less about my problems and tell problems more about my God. TraVerus4LIFE!

After weeks of re-publishing much vehement vitriole about Traverus, I admit it is refreshing to see such joy in a comment about the company for once. This story has been a solid one for quite some time and, if you looked carefully, you can see that it may be subject to a court case involving one Peter Stilphen.

Speaking of Stilphen

"Who is Peter Stilphen?" you may ask. It just so happens that George Dooley checked in with the man about his latest venture, STARS. The name of the piece is "Will STARS Gain Traction Among Agents?" If you look at the comments, it appears the answer may be "No.

Joe said:
I think anyone under 80 doesn't want to hear his mouth. If anyone looks at the membership, which is free, I think there's a total of 17 in CA. This shows you the value of the membership!

R.D. wrote:
What stymies me is why he continues to get press. This publication, ASTA, etc. should exercise a bit more discretion in their choice of "news."

Kyle Bruening commented:
Me too! This guy marketed me I sent in the application twice. Then reached out to him and he never responded. I then faxed him and wanted confirmation to remove me from his list.  He never responded. He provided poor follow up and communication. Forget STARS.

Tim Huggins posted:
Is anyone else tired of hearing this guy go on and on. Nothing worse than a miserable old man. Peter retire already. Any Travel professional under 45 doesn't want to hear your mouth.

Seems like STARS is far from traction and actually quite slippery among agents. Anyone have anything positive to say about the host agency?

Helping Haiti

We received several comments about whether Royal Caribbean was right in choosing to continue its cruises to Haiti after the devastating earthquake. Click through the hyperlink to see them yourself, but I wanted to spotlight one in particular as it appears one reader was a recent passenger and has shared their experience. Roberta wrote:

Sailed on the Independence that docked on Friday. We did bring some relief supplies and all proceeds were donated as promised. Due to poor weather conditions, most passengers did not take advantage of the the island's festivities. The general feeling was while we on the island, we were bring in some humanitarian supplies and we were happy to be there.

It's great to read that the passengers had the right thing in mind while vacationing. This ties in a lot to a recent piece by Joe Pike on how voluntourism is essential to Haiti right now.

Apply Yourself

I just got an iPhone last month and am addicted to its ability to entertain me and make work easier. Clicking through e-mails and articles while on the bus saves me so much time. Which is why I enjoyed reading Michael Browne's piece on using mobile technology to improve business. One reader, Norm Rose, added a nice suggestion, stating:

Home based agents should work with their consortium or host agency to develop a downloadable app

The efficiency of mobile devices combined with the conveneince in home office operations should make for quite the streamlining of business, eh?

Until those magical mobile applications for agents come out, and even after they do, don't forget to connect digitally with your peers in real time at AgentNation, the only social community online for all types of travel professionals.

Until next week...