Archive for the ‘The Travelhost Information You Need To Know’ Category

Is Travelhost Magazine Now GIVING Away FREE Markets? If So, Does Anyone Even Want One?

September 26, 2011

I hear through the grapevine that Travelhost Magazine has given away a market…FREE.

No $60K.  Nada.  Free.  Pro Bono…


I think I know why…but hey, I might be wrong:


That’s right, Westchester New York and The Hudson River Valley….Home of THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE!

I guess Jimbo wants me to have some competition should I decide to go out and start another magazine in February when my 2 year non-compete agreement expires.

I bet you dollars to donuts that Jimbo goes a step further…FREE PRINTING!

He’s done it before…he’ll do it again.

All to piss me off?  LOL, it’s OK by me!  Bring it on!

If I were a current Travelhost Magazine Associate Publisher, I’d be upset about this…really pissed…that’s for sure.


Come on Jimbo…I thought Travelhost Magazine was a branded magazine, and that there was VALUE there.

If there’s value, it sure isn’t good to give it away for FREE!  

Is it?

I suppose that’s the only way to survive with Travelhost Magazine...SPECIAL DEALS.

See, apparently, some people get discounted pricing, while others pay the full boat.

That doesn’t seem all that fair, does it?

Actually, some Associate Publishers survived many years with their deeply discounted pricing…before they finally can’t even make it on that.

Then…POOF. They disappear. Never to be heard of again. (except for me, and a few others…but we’re gathering more support than you can imagine!!!)

Sad it has to be this way…but Travelhost…watch out!


PS> Maybe the person who I referenced in the previous post should call Travelhost Magazine, and ask for the SPECIAL DEEP DISCOUNTED PRICING that some of the other Associate Publishers are getting or have gotten in the past in order to stay afloat?

I bet our notorious friend in Washington Wine Country (Jeff Loudon) isn’t paying the full boat (2.5 times retail) to Travelhost for his printing?  Jeff, we’d love to hear from you out there…maybe it’s a good time to pipe in and guide some of the failing markets on how to survive the Travelhost Business Model????

I personally know of others who have gotten a deal…so if you’re a current Travehost Magazine Associate Publisher, maybe it’s worth giving it a try?

PPS> Maybe since the FTC, Attorney General(s), and other agencies are breathing down his neck, Jimbo and Price are trying to beef up the Travelhost Magazine network with FREE MARKETS in order to appear a success?

I mean, with the number of Associate Publishers dwindling, it might look better to the FTC (and general public) if there were a few more “markets” in existence?

With FREE PRINTING, there’s no WAY they can LOSE, right?

Plus, it would certainly make any attempts by Associate Publishers and Travelhost to sell national or regional ad space less fraudulent, no?

Then, maybe the FTC (et. al) will overlook the 98%+ FAILURE RATE and FRAUD of selling markets and ad space if they puff out their 43 year old “branded” chest a little?  That, coupled with their wonderful website with a fantastic alexa rating, should provide enough added value to pay 2.5 times RETAIL for printing…right?

LOL, I dont think so.

One thing I was wondering though…is how many Travelhost Associate Publishers (present and past) were actually shown files of previous publishers in their assigned territory prior to signing any agreements with Travelhost Magazine?  (not that Travelhost, Jim Buerger, or John Price go out of their way to show these files to you unless you demand them…I mean, how else can the slick sales process go on, if someone wanted proof of success? i think you’d be shown the door at that point…)

I sure wasn’t shown any files, and I’m sure most others weren’t either.

That sounds like FRAUD to me, doesn’t it?

Eh…they probably all got damaged in a flood anyway.  You know the weather in Texas, lol


ANOTHER Travelhost Magazine Associate Publisher Going Broke…Will They Be The Next To Throw In The Towel?

September 21, 2011

Dear Publishing Industry Practices Followers:  We are sorry for what may have resulted in a small gap in service here at THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE.  It seems that John Price, Travelhost’s attorney, thought he could suppress this blog (and MY first amendment right to free speech) by filing a bogus DMCA Copyright Infringement claim against THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE.  I filed a rebuttal this morning with WordPress and their claims people, and we are back up and running 100% as of this afternoon.  I guess these people take bogus claims very seriously, and have done the right thing.  I will post more on this in my next post, as Mr. Price has the opportunity to make this a Federal case.  I personally think it would be a good thing, I think most of my followers would agree…as we have MANY people that would like to follow me into a Federal Court to tell their story to a judge.  Now, without further ado…


A message recently went out to the entire network of Travelhost Associate Publishers (or “Travel Hosts” as Jimmy B likes to call them), take a look…unedited, name withheld:

“Hello my Associate Publisher friends,

I’m humbly asking your help this morning. October would be my 2 month publishing anniversary and yet I am pushing my magazine off to December. I am still finding myself hovering at around billing just barely enough to cover printing. With each issue, I’m going further into the hole with the other costs of running a business. I need to get a good $5-7,000 increase in billing for a Dec/Jan/Feb issue or I will no longer be able to continue.

While most of my magazine is local businesses, the larger chains usually use ad agencies and seem to “get” rate card and print costs and don’t normally argue the pricing as much. Does anyone have a chain restaurant with a corporate contact that they might share with me? I’m thinking if I could pick up a couple of these they may go a long way to helping save my magazine.

After spending all (my spouse’s) and my retirement monies and two years of so much hard work, I’m sad to think I may have to discontinue. Any help you can give us is so greatly appreciated!!!!

Thanks so much!”


PSNeed I even comment on this posting?

98% of Travelhost Associate Publishers go broke…period.  Many don’t even realize it’s because they’re being so grossly overcharged.  This person, I believe, was one of the Travelhost advocates, who emailed me a year ago to tell me I was wrong about Travelhost.  I wonder if that person still feels that way now?


Time after time again, smart entrepreneurs blow their entire life savings and or retirement plans on a business model that doesn’t work 98% of the time.

And, they pay $60K for the privilege to do it.  I did it, this person did it, and many others have done it.  You’re not alone.

All the while, Travelhost Magazine and Jim Buerger lead these people to believe it’s their own fault, and has nothing to do with FRAUD.)

We know the truth here at THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE.

PPS…anyone know how many AP’s are actually left?

PPPS…for all those AP’s who are left, and who follow this blog, don’t forget about Cesario from Mexico.  He has print credit with Travelhost for sale at a 20% discount.  Get it while it’s HOT!

Rip-Off Report: The Travelhost Magazine Complaints Continue…

July 31, 2011

Could all of the complaints be wrong?

Or, perhaps there’s a trend here?

Only the reader can decide…


P.S.> There’s something brewing in the Dallas, TX court system…and guess who’s watching?

We’ll have full coverage of everything that transpires, right here, on THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE!

Travelhost Success Stories, In Their Own Words…Is This The “Travelhost Love” They Refer To On The Travelhost Website??

January 14, 2011

I’ve delayed the “Virtual Memorial for 2010” again, for what I believe to be a more interesting (and useful) bit of information.

Over the last year or so, needless to say, I’ve had many past Travelhost Associate Publishers contact me about their experience with Travelhost.

Except for a couple of undercover agents for James Buerger, there aren’t any positive stories.  Certainly nothing of the caliber they describe on the Travelhost website:

I would say that most of the Associate Publishers that have contacted me over the last year have had a different experience.  In fact, while I was a member of Travelhost’s “Advisory Board,” I remember doing a survey of the ENTIRE network of Travelhost Associate Publishers, and found that most were not having an experience anything like described in Travelhost’s advertisements.

Most of the stories from REAL associate publishers are buried as comments to previous posts, so I thought it would benefit everyone if I “uncovered” them here, in their own separate post. I’ve also commented on each one.

These are just a few of them:

Past Associate Publisher Comments#1

I just happened across this website today.  I read through it, took the survey, and felt I had to respond to the information provided and add my own Travelhost thoughts and experiences.

As a former TH Associate Publisher my story is probably pretty typical of many former AP’s, but just in case you wanted to know;

– My initial investment to TH was $50,000 ($25,000 for the “distribution” rights & $25,000 for the first two issues of the magazine.

– I published over 15 issues (every other month, was not told I could or should publish quarterly. Quarterly might have saved my business)

– I produced four TH maps during the course of my business.

– Total sales amounted to $268,500.  My costs ran approx. $250,000

– After 1 1/2 years publishing I had run out of money.

I called TH in desperation to see if maybe they might be able to offer suggestions or any type of help to get the business on its feet.  Up until that point I had heard from the business development folks only twice.  I talked to a gentleman who promised me a world of help and would guide me “step by step” through this process.  He said he would look over my ad count, expenses etc. and get back to me.  I never heard back.  After a week or so I called again and he said he had looked over everything and he was ready to talk about my business but was busy at that moment and asked if he could call me back.  I agreed and never heard back.  I called a couple more times each time leaving a message.  I never heard back from him.

– I decided to keep the business going and robbed my 401K because the business was making money but not enough to live on, but felt the business was close to breaking through.  I published eight more issues and burned through more than $60,000 of my retirement and all the savings of my family (more than $30,000 additional dollars).

– I called TH again a little over a year after the first set of calls and told them I was again out of money and done with the magazine. I talked to a new executive who listened and offered to lower my publishing costs, in half, and help me through this period.  He said I had the ad base and count to succeed and just needed to keep trying a little while longer (it didn’t matter, I was putting my family at to much risk). I said no that I was out of money and I asked to be released.  They agreed.

– Total lost in opportunity costs and investment, easily over $300,000.

– We (my family) had to sell our house to get out from under most of the debt I had incurred.  I ended up moving to another city to find work leaving my family behind.

– I found work similar to what I did prior to TH but have had to find another job at night to help pay off credit card bills.

– We will never financially recover from the experience.

However, I readily acknowledge that I signed the contract, I paid the money and published the magazine. I don’t think I have any basis to sue and I try not to be bitter over the experience.

THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE: contract or no contract, Travelhost had a responsibility to tell this guy that based on the results of the last 5 years, that his chances were slim to none…much closer to none. Travelhost’s failure to do so was not just morally wrong, and totally destructive, it was probably criminal fraud.  Trying not to be bitter, and moving on with your life is the best thing you can do.

Past Associate Publisher Comments#2

Happy New Year, Brian!

Just to add another tale of misfortune, I recently met a previous AP who stopped publishing three years ago. This unfortunate soul is indicative of what other publishers have endured and future publishers could endure. This former AP had to consolidate his debts associated with trying to keep his market going and still (!!!) has two more years to pay off that debt.

To any potential publishers looking at partnering with Travelhost consider yourself warned. Travelhost is no partner and they will smile as you crumble. You’d be better off launching a magazine on your own!

Good wishes for a healthy and happy New Year,

A former AP who escaped just in time…

THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE: If you knew how many people lost everything with Travelhost, you would be amazed.  So many people spend the next 5 years recovering financially, some never do…

Past Associate Publisher Comments#3

I got out before ever publishing for my territory. As part of the severance agreement, TH would refund my $30k prepaid and unspent publishing money once they resold the territory. Four years later and still waiting……

Any ideas for getting some level of financial relief?

THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE: At this point, I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’d consult a lawyer if you have the time, energy, and resources.  I can point you in the right direction…

Past Associate Publisher Comments#4



when you your blog first started I was not real happy with you or the blog.

The discomfort it caused was mainly because you were voicing what I had already figured out myself, but did not want to admit. As time went on I read each posting and knew that while you may have had your own point of view, there was nothing that I read that did not contain the truth. As an AP who had been printing with TH for 4 years,barely covering print costs, I was forced to ask myself some serious questions.

1. Did I want to be building my future with a company (brand) that was misrepresenting their past and current business successes to future APs.
2. by staying on as a TH AP was I contributing to the myth that TH was actually a good investment.
3. did I really want to have to defend TH to my hotel and advertising partners and if I did how believable would I be.
4. was continuing to pay TH the hyper-inflated printing costs they charge worth it in the long run considering the inevitability of TH facing multiple legal challenges, justified attacks to the brand, and the certainty that EVERY sophisticated advertiser would refuse to advertise with a brand that had so many skeletons in a closet that had the door wide open. (If and when the find out)
5. did the people I tried, unsuccessfully, to sell National and Regional ads to know that I was misrepresenting the distribution/readership numbers even when I didn’t know it?
6. How can I keep convincing my family that TH is a good company and worth continuing on with when I know that they have signed agreements with me and ALL AP’s promising “wholesale ” costs when I knew that those wholesale prices are roughly twice what could be found, with very little effort on the open market
I decide that I could no longer be a part of TH and am one of those AP’s that walked away. I chose to not “transition” my market because it would require me to sell the same bag of crap TH sells to unsuspecting buyers.

So here it is. Thank you for your persistence in getting the word out. Because of the spotlight you have focused on TH and it’s unseemly activities you have helped me to face the truth and get out with dignity and honor. Yes I poured a lot of money and effort to build my market and would have liked to have built it even stronger. But at the end of the day I’d rather walk away looking ahead than stayed a TH AP and wonder every day when I was going to lose more advertisers because they came to believe that the TH brand for 40 years was a money mill that has sucked the life out many otherwise successful entrepreneurs.

I have learned a lot in the past 4 years and I have no regrets having been associated with TH. But I am glad to be free from them now, while I can still face myself and the acquaintances I have made in the business when I see them in my community.

THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE: you are not alone, many people have done what you have done in the last year or so…the Travelhost Franchise has proved to be a losing battle, with 95+% of Associate Publishers eventually failing.  Not only have they lost money, but their sanity, dignity, family, homes, and many other more important things than money.

Past Associate Publisher Comments#4 


Hi Brian,

I am a former AP who would like to keep my name out because I still owe TH money.I was with TH from 9/05 – to my last magazine Nov/Dec/Jan 2009. Had to lay it down because I pretty much lost all my advertisers due to the economy. I may have been one of the lucky ones for lasting 4 years. I really enjoy reading your posts. I have a question. Are you doing all this to set yourself up for a class action? I’m a ditto to your other post as I was also told that I could make 6 figures by “sell, sell, sell”. When I was close to the end of my time with TH, I asked if I could make payments so I could at least get the magazine out. I was told yes, but the stipulations were break the payments in half. I told TH I needed a guarantee that my magazines would ship and then I would pay them. They told me they couldn’t guarantee that. I told them then how could I pay you off if I don’t have magazines to give my advertisers and get them to my hotels. They basically told me that until they had they’re money, the magazines would stay on pallets. I had already owed them from the last printing. Anyway, needless to say, my Feb/Mar/Apr 09 never went out.You seem to have all your ducks in a row. I’m surprised TH hasn’t asked you to take your blog down like Jeff Louden. Your welcome to use this post if you think it will help. So, is this leading to a class action? If so, include me. I’m broke, but what ever you need from me, let me know. I have about 20 quotes from other printers that I could supply. I was paying $14,500 for12,000 mags. Towards the end, I just bought the minimum, 7500. That cost me$11k. With some of my other quotes from outside printers, I could have got 12,000 magazines with perfect binding, 100lb cover delivered to me from $5k – 8K.Talk to you soon. Keep up the good work.

THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE: You’re right. You paid double + for printing, you were convinced to spend more of your own money on a losing propostion (that Travelhost knows about), and you were told that you could make 6 figures easily by following the Travelhost business model.  It’s classic, and it’s criminal.

Past Associate Publisher Comments# ~ PERHAPS THE BEST “SUCCESS STORY” GOING FOR 2010


Thanks for posting your blog and information. It saved me from contacting them and learning the hard way. If it quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. It does not matter how long ago the court case was to make a point. Good luck with this fight.



Any of these comments and the associated remarks can be found within this blog.  They remain un-altered.  I wish someone would write in with an actual Travelhost success story,” to offset all this BAD NEWS.



I hope this information isn’t being used to sell “regional” or “national” advertisements by the Travelhost Associate Publishers out there…by the way, how many Travelhost Associate Publishers ARE STILL OUT THERE?

The Publisher’s Advocate Celebrates One Year Of “Serving The Publisher,” As Due Diligence For The Travelhost Magazine Publishing “Opportunity!”

October 22, 2010

Today THE PUBLISHER’S ADVOCATE celebrates one year of “serving the publisher!”

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year, but equally hard to believe that after 43 years in the business, there’s only been one year of due diligence available for the Travelhost Magazine “opportunity.”

Well, here it is, and it’s here to stay.

If this information were available ten years ago, perhaps we could have saved many more entrepreneurs from this scam…

Here’s just a taste of what THE PUBLISHER’S ADVOCATE has accomplished over the past year:

  • The Publisher’s Advocate Blog has accumulated over 200 pages of dialog about the Travelhost Magazine “opportunity.”
  • The Publisher’s Advocate Blog has accumulated over 300 readers and growing…
  • The Publisher’s Advocate Blog had over 10,200 hits during the course of the last year and growing.
  • The Publisher’s Advocate Blog had over 100 comments by many unique individuals.
  • The Publisher’s Advocate Blog is read by current, past AND prospective Associate Publishers.
  • The Publisher’s Advocate Blog has helped many prospective investors come to a good business decision.
  • The Publisher’s Advocate Blog has been knocked off the first page of Google but still reaches the people it was intended to reach…at a lesser cost!

Our biggest accomplishment, and primary goal for THE PUBLISHER’S ADVOCATE:

Coupled with our website (, we have enabled entrepreneurs all across the country to make an informed business decision about Travelhost Magazine and it’s business opportunity.

Guess what conclusions investors are coming to about the Travelhost business model?

Yeah, you guessed it, it’s not good.

Not only has THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE been here to help with due diligence on Travelhost, but we’ve gone as far as to create the groundwork for a new plan for Travelhost. One developed with the help of Jeff Loudon, an AP from Washington Wine Country more than two years ago, which fell upon deaf ears at Travelhost Headquarters.

(Jeff’s been MIA for quite some time, I suppose his “hush money” is keeping him quiet???  Jeff, we’d still love to hear from you if you change your mind.)

Here’s a link to the plan that might actually work:


As the publisher and owner of this blog and the aforementioned website, I’d like to thank the many people who took the time to read and write in to THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE BLOG over the past year.

Really, I do want to thank you…

Many current, past, AND present associates of Travelhost took the time to share their experiences and knowledge of the Travelhost “opportunity” with my readers.  You know who you are.  You’ve been very important to the success of this blog.

I want these contributors to know that together, we have helped MANY people make the right decision about the Travelhost Magazine opportunity. Together, we have saved these potential investors from investing their TIME and hard-earned MONEY on a FRANCHISED business opportunity that has a FAILURE RATE OF NEARLY 100%. 

We can’t turn back time, but we can help others be aware.

THE PUBLISHER’S ADVOCATE could not have accomplished this alone!

And now, a few “shout outs” are in order to some people no longer in the Travelhost network…some to the many new former employees of Travelhost who are now undoubtedly readers:

Dave Portenor, former head (CMO) of the Travelhost Marketing department, (He has exited, tail between his legs, along with the entire marketing department (as far as my anonymous sources indicate)) must be finding comfort at his old gig in Palm Springs.  Dave, we’d love to hear from you again…

(Dave Portenor certainly was a quick-study from Jim Buerger.)

Mike Peterson, who was hired to grow the business as Director of Market Expansion, and then 9 months later fired along with most of the other marketing staff (10 days before Christmas) last year, so indicated immediately after Dave Portenor told the network via email that he “quit.” Mike was one of Travelhost’s biggest assets, and they let him go.  I know Mike is knocking them dead wherever he is, he’s a solid guy.

Jerry Antil, head of market research for the last few decades, who was also given the axe. Hopefully he’s at a better place now…I suppose Buerger will do anything he needs to do in order to keep the scam going.  Including firing personal friends of 30+ years.  Maybe his daughter Sherry is next?  Maybe when the website is done…they’re on the 10 year plan…

The head of sales for decades, Roger Thrailkill, Rick Swanson, the plethora of market reps, and many others…We would appreciate your enlightenment about your Travelhost experiences if you care to write in…from my understanding, more than 2/3 of the employees that once worked at Travelhost Headquarters have been let go. 

For those we haven’t heard from yet, lets talk.

I’d really like to like to congratulate you Travelhost Associate Publisher survivors…all +_64 of you.

(Out of “130+” a year ago as per Travelhost sales staff, and multiple Travelhost generated publications.)

I want to also congratulate the Travelhost Advisory Board members for putting up with Buerger’s diatribes in Dallas for 12 hours, 3 times a year.  Congratulations to Eli Mertens, who vehemently defended Buerger on this blog, and then disappeared just as quickly after stating that he “didn’t care what the success rate of the Travelhost Franchise was…”  Maybe he’ll be elected the next president of the board…I hear he negotiated a pretty good deal with Buerger.

More importantly, I congratulate the Travelhost Advisory Board for not doing anything to stand up to Jim Buerger, and not trying to make Travelhost a beneficial investment for all markets nationally.  (what IS the goal of the Advisory Board, anyway?)

Travelhost as a “National Magazine.?” 

America’s Number One Travel Magazine? (as stated on its cover?)

Are any of you Travelhost Associate Publishers trying to sell “national advertisements?”

Be careful, you might be as guilty as Jim Buerger if you ever succeed…better check with your attorney first…you may be liable!

In conclusion, over the past year, we have gathered great momentum here at THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE, and now have a strong following of people willing to help when the time is right.

And, for this I thank you all once again.

For those who have done nothing, or said nothing, when you know what’s going on at Travelhost Magazine is wrong…there’s an old saying that just might apply:

If you’re not part of the solution, you may be part of the problem.

Think about it.

To Everyone’s Success, No Matter Where This Life Brings You,

Brian D. Hickey



We are still looking for data for the third-annual “Virtual Memorial” for Travelhost Associate Publishers that have fallen victim to the wonderful opportunity created by Mr. James Buerger.

Please let us know if you or someone you know has had a market that failed in 2010, and we’ll include it in the memorial, which will be posted toward the holiday season.


Thanks, and Glad to have you with us!


I’d also like to hear from Kirk Smith…that would be interesting…talk about a guy that knows EVERYTHING about the Travelhost scam…perhaps you’d like to clear your conscience and tell your story now, before you’re subpoenaed?

A Perfect Time For…A Plan That Actually Works???

September 29, 2010

Word on the street is that things are looking pretty bleak down at Travelhost Headquarters in Dallas, Texas these days.

People all across the country are talking about the sustainability of the Travelhost business model.

As they should.

What’s in store for Travelhost Magazine’s network of Associate Publisher’s?

It’s been almost a year now, since due diligence has been available online for the “Travelhost Opportunity.” This information has proven to be vitally important to entrepreneurs all across the country!

Here at THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE, we get emails regularly, with notes of thanks, as people across the country are researching Travelhost. Apparently, most investors aren’t happy with what they’re finding out…and rightfully so.

Take a look at the comments on the right side bar of this blog———————————————->>>>>>>>>>>>>

Or click below for the latest comment:

Thank you on September 25th

I guess I’d be happy too, if I stumbled upon shocking information on a company I was doing my due diligence for…especially when the important information has been completely left out of the description Travelhost gives you!

See, if this information was available to ME when I was researching Travelhost, it would have saved ME about 250 THOUSAND dollars. I’ve quantified that in earlier posts, but may revisit it in the near future. Perhaps for our 1 year anniversary.

That’s a lot of money, no matter where you come from…

My point? It doesn’t have to be this way.

Isn’t now the perfect time to change the model, and stop ripping your associates off?

Implement a “Plan that Works.”

It’s been available on my website all year long…maybe now is a good time to take a second look?

It doesn’t seem like what ‘s being done now is really working…does it?

It seems odd that Travelhost has seemingly spent THOUSANDS of dollars trying to hide the things they’re doing to rip off their associates, but won’t spend ONE NICKEL in fixing the problem.

It’s too bad, because investors can see right through the plan now…and it’s not going to get any better until the model changes.

Perhaps the chairman, Mr. James Buerger, doesn’t even care about the success of his dwindling number of associate publishers throughout the country?

This is evident to me, as his inaction has spoken volumes…and I think the Associate Publishers know it.

And, now future investors know it too.

Hopefully “the great wizard” will change his mind, and come out from behind that curtain…Mr. Buerger, are you listening?

Travelhost publicly claims Brian Hickey is an “extortionist?” Just more propaganda, or fraud? Maybe defamation?

June 24, 2010

Travelhost either has incredibly incompetent legal counsel, or more likely, is doing what it does best…lying.

Since I’ve communicated directly with John Price, Travelhost’s attorney, I can tell you first hand that he’s not incompetent…so that leaves only one option.

Travelhost has recently proudly claimed by email to the entire network of Associate Publishers, that it has hired a “SEO specialist” to prevent the existence of my blog from being disclosed to potential investors that need it for due diligence. Furthermore, Travelhost threatens to prosecute me for extortion, in a two-page letter to its associates.

It’s interesting how the “Confidential Advisory Board Memo” on Brian Hickey, discussing many false claims about (me) was emailed to everyone in the network.

(By the way, I call that “publishing” for you legal types.)

I’m going to make this post simple and clear…unlike the two-page propaganda issued to everyone last week:

Travelhost claims this blog is full of false information, yet has NOT ONCE told me or my readers WHAT IS FALSE. If they had told me what is false, then I would have erased the false information by now…its been 9 MONTHS!

I have no other choice but to think that what is contained in this blog is TRUE.  And, since we have received not a SHRED of proof from Travelhost that it’s not true…what else can I do?

On the flip side of the coin, my claim against Travelhost is three-fold:

1. Travelhost did not live up to their contractual obligation to charge me WHOLESALE pricing. These overcharges put me at a competitive disadvantage in my marketplace, and eventually put me OUT OF BUSINESS.

2. Travelhost operated as my FRANCHISOR ,yet did not follow FTC guidelines. Had they followed the LAW, I would have never decided to embark on this 60K BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY” in the first place, due to the nearly 100% FAILURE RATE of their FRANCHISEES. (This is why I’m warning prospective investors, because Travelhost WONT.)

3. Travelhost perpetrates FRAUD on a regular basis by misrepresenting themselves to prospective investors AND their ASSOCIATE PUBLISHERS. Furthermore, they continue to misrepresent ME to this day by publishing lies!

There you have it folks. Unlike Travelhost, I substantiate my claims in my communications.

As for my request for remuneration, you’re damn right I asked for it!

I, like Jeff Loudon (from Yakima, Wa.) before me, repeatedly demanded compensation for ourselves and a drastic change in the way that Travelhost does business for the ENTIRE NETWORK OF AP’S, so as to “stop the scam” on all present, past and future targets of Travelhost’s boiler room….the Associate Publishers.  That’s right, we tried to help EVERYONE in the network.

Needless to say, that didn’t work. God forbid Travelhost do the right thing by EVERYONE.

So, what’s the next logical step?  Try and convince Travelhost to make good on their damages to me.

I have no idea of what Loudon got from Travelhost as compensation that led him to stop his blog, but I asked for a very modest amount. (At no time did I connect my blogging activity to my request for remuneration…another LIE by Travelhost.)

(Loudon did say that he wanted “mid-six figures” and I bet he got it.)

I asked Travelhost for $150k.

How do I substantiate this claim?

I take $30,000 per year x 5 years of over-charges (double-retail for printing—instead of contractually promised “wholesale pricing”) plus $150,000 for the lost value of my business on resale.

(I believe a business making $30,000 more per year (because it isn’t being ripped off) would be worth an extra $150,000 on resale, in addition to the existing 25 year operation.)

Then, I graciously divided my $300,000 total damages IN HALF for my plausible demand to also be reasonable and get quick compensation for my losses, so I can continue to support my family.

I also requested that Travelhost waive (its most-likely unenforceable) 2 year prohibition of me starting a new, profitable travel guide.

Does this sound like extortion?

TRAVELHOST put me (and many, many others) OUT OF BUSINESS!

Travelhost ripped me off, and I have a right to tell people about it.

Plain and simple.

Now we have John Price, Travelhost’s lawyer, (obviously ghost writing for Buerger) publicly accusing me of extortion!

Quoting patent bullshit about the relevance of the Federal Extortion Law, he made a public claim that I’m an extortionist in violation of federal law, specifically 18 U.S.C. 875(d).

(yes, he “published” the claim along with false accusations about me and my motives, both in the letter to the network AND publically on through his puppet David Portener.)

The facts have never gotten in Buerger’s way for the last 43 years of scamming, why start now?

The legality of my conduct has been repeatedly settled by no less than the US Federal Court of Appeals in New York, which happens to be where I live, with its interpretation of the law directly governing me and my conduct.

It involved a case where an alleged daughter asked her father, Bill Cosby, for $40 million for child support or she would publicize that she was his illegitimate daughter. At first, the court said in the lengthy opinion, that she committed extortion—-only because her claim was so high in amount that it was clearly only an attempt to buy silence and her claims did not have a “nexus” to activity being disclosed.

Here’s the law according to the Federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals:

“We reasoned, however, that not all threats to reputation accompanied by demands of money are inherently wrongful, see id. at 67, and we inferred that Congress meant 875(d) to criminalize only such threats as are wrongful, see id. at 67-70. We concluded that the court’s instruction “erroneously allowed the jury to find defendants guilty of violating that section on the premise that any and every threat to reputation in order to obtain money is inherently wrongful,” id. at 71-72, and that the court should instead have informed the jury of the wrongfulness element by instructing that 875(d) prohibits obtaining money or a thing of value from another by use of threats to reputation only if the defendant has no plausible claim of right to the money demanded or if there is no nexus between the threat and the defendant’s claim, see 180 F.3d at 71.”

US v Jackson 196 F3d 383 (1999), paragraph 33 and see the original opinion 180 F3d 55 United States v. Jackson

My activities of blogging (warning prospective investors) until properly compensated by Travelhost for its fraud, over-charges and cover-up (and yours if you ever choose to enforce your rights), meet BOTH the exceptions to the 875(d) extortion statute so long as your compensation demand is “plausible.”

That is why I’ve been rightfully blogging for 9 months. Travelhost’s business opportunity is a scam, in my opinion, and that of many others…including past and present employees AND associates!

I’ll blog until Travelhost makes good on the damages they’ve caused me.

Come on Buerger, just stop the scam! And if you believe Travelhost isn’t a scam, why don’t you PROVE it to us?  Tell us your success rate.  Tell us that every FRANCHISE pays the same printing prices!  Better yet, tell prospective AP’s this information, so I don’t have to!

Mr. Buerger, why dont you just retire on the millions you’ve swindled over the last four decades?

Hire your waste collector to run the company…it will be a vast improvement.

(Come to think of it YOUR waste collector must be highly talented!)

Someone once said on this blog that karma has no statute of limitations…I wholeheartedly believe that statement applies to you, Mr. Buerger.  You have a chance to do the right thing.

Take it.

Stop hiding this information from prospective investors.  They’re going to find out eventually, and Travelhost will be no better off when they do.


A Travelhost Travesty…

May 26, 2010

It appears that Travelhost has made a very clear statement about their business.

James Buerger has decided on the course of action for Travelhost’s future. And, sadly, it appears to be the same course of action he’s taken for the last forty years.

Hiding the truth.

See, instead of fixing his broken network, with his associate publishers suffering under the tyranny of his bad business model…James Buerger has decided to bury his head (and yours) in the sand…and continue his 43 year scam by “cloaking the Travelhost dagger.”

Instead of telling THE PUBLISHER’S ADVOCATE, or the rest of my readers, what in this blog that is “false,” he has decided to plaster page one of Google (searching “Travelhost”) with a bunch of useless stuff…in an attempt to hide the due diligence blog available to the general public.

Basically, Buerger’s plan is to attempt to again cloud the ability of prospective investors to see the real operation, so that they make an UNINFORMED decision about investing THOUSANDS of dollars on a Travelhost FRANCHISE

Excellent plan, Mr. Buerger…way to go!

This reminds me of an old story, told to me by Jim Buerger himself…those of you who know him, know he likes to tell stories. You may remember hearing this one yourself…

I may not have it word for word, but I think you’ll get the idea:

“On a table sits two bowls, one filled with vanilla ice cream, and one filled with shit. That’s right, shit.

If you take a spoonful of vanilla ice cream, and place it in the bowl of shit…no big deal. You are no better or worse off than you were before.


However, if you take just one tiny speck of shit, and place it in the bowl of vanilla ice cream….YOU RUIN THE WHOLE BOWL.”

Would you agree?

It makes sense, right?

Actually, it’s a good analogy when referring to keeping a PMA (positive mental attitude…JB’s a big fan of Napolean Hill too, go figure.)

The problem here is that Jim Buerger doesn’t practice what he preaches!

Instead of fixing the bad things in the Travelhost business model that are currently putting him and his associates out of business, he has decided to allow these SPECKS OF SHIT IN HIS BOWL OF VANILLA ICE CREAM HE CALLS TRAVELHOST.

He won’t remove them, he just wants to bury them in the bowl.

Nasty, right?

Who wants to find a speck of shit in the bowl, after eating some ice cream off the top?

I sure don’t.

But guess what, that’s the type of situation he’s created with Travelhost!

Most people don’t find the shit in their TRAVELHOST ice cream, until they dig (and eat) some of it first.

That’s why THE PUBLISHER’S ADVOCATE exists. To help investors find the shit, BEFORE they go and eat it!

BUERGER has created a big bowl of vanilla ice cream on page one of the Google search results for “travelhost,” and allowed the shit to remain!

Not only is that sneaky and malicious, but it’s got to prove one thing:

Travelhost and Mr. James Buerger have something to hide.

Why not fix the problems, Jim?

Why attempt to hide THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE, if what we have to say here has no merit?

Why not actually fix the problem, so the shit disappears?

It’s a sad state of affairs in Dallas, my friends.

Omitting information in a FRANCHISE situation is one thing…going OUT OF YOUR WAY to hide the information.

Well, that’s just one more bit of evidence that you’re a crook.


PS…By the way, thank you everyone for your private responses to my post on “The Two Year Club.” I will get back to each an every one of you soon. It won’t be hard to do this right, when the competition is doing it all wrong!

The Survey Results That Travelhost Magazine Doesn’t Want YOU To Know…

February 23, 2010

One week ago, I placed 10 simple survey questions on this blog, and the results are in.

You can still scroll down below this post to fill out the survey if you wish, as the results will continue to be calculated. However, after a week of exposure, I believe the results are quite clear.

I would like to personally thank all of the people who took the time to complete the survey, as your time is very valuable.

Taking the time to fill out the survey, and the answers that have been provided, have led me to certain conclusions and opinions that I will discuss below. In a nutshell, the results are exactly as I had thought all along, so this survey adds validity to my blog posts over the last few months.

Please keep in mind that the results acquired in this survey reflect the opinions of the people who took the survey. Not all people answered all questions, but we had nearly 300 people who visited the site in the last week, many who answered our survey. These people were not contacted, remain un-identified, and will continue to remain that way. This was an opportunity to participate anonymously, and was a success, in my opinion…especially for the first time out!

To start, 57% of the people who took the survey are current Travelhost Associate Publishers, 29% are past AP’s, and 14% were people who were considering the Travelhost “Opportunity.”

68% of these people believe that Travelhost is NOT an “ethical company,” with 18% undecided, and a whopping 14% feeling that they are an ethical company. I didn’t ask for anyone to justify this feeling, it was just a question of perception.

When asked whether people were told about Travelhost’s success rate during initial discussions with HQ, 89% of people said they were told nothing. 11% say they were told what the success rate was, even though I didn’t ask what they were told. I’m assuming these people may have been told how many people have tried the business in their particular market, not necessarily told that over-all 90% of people fail in this business?

When asked specifically if anyone was told they could make 3 or 400k per year as an AP, 33% of people said YES. Another 38% said they did not remember the specific numbers, but were led to believe they could EASILY make A LOT of money as an AP. The other 29% of people who answered this survey said they were not told this information.

When asked if Travelhost informed them that they would be paying more than double what other publishers pay for printing and production as an AP, 95% of people said NO. Only 5% felt that Travelhost informed them that the publishing prices were as high as they are. Not one person said they didn’t know, which was our third option, which leads me to believe that they were paying attention to the overhead costs portion of the deal!

When asked whether paying Travelhost an extra 30k per year was “worth it,” 70% of respondents said NO. 20% were undecided, and 10% said they thought Travelhost was worth spending 30k per year on. Perhaps those people who own highly successful markets, billing out 500k per year plus feel this way, as they pay far less of a “royalty” to Travelhost as a percentage of their gross sales?

85% of people believe that this extra 30K per year on average paid to Travelhost is in fact a “royalty,’ and 15% of people do not believe it is. If it’s not a royalty, I’m not sure what it is…perhaps just overcharges?

84% of the respondents felt that by becoming a Travelhost Associate Publisher, they would be successful because of the Travelhost business plan. 11% said they felt they would not be successful because of a Travelhost business plan, and 5% didn’t know. So, it’s clear that people knew that a Travelhost business plan exists, as most people in the survey felt that was their “formula for success.” Obviously, Travelhost must not have told them that on average, 90% of people fail with the business plan or they would not have felt that way?

100% of people who took the survey said that Travelhost offered them a marketing plan! This is the one and only survey question that achieved 100% agreement. The only problem I see, is that on the second page of the Travelhost Distributorship Agreement, point #3 states:

Autonomy – Distributor shall at all times retain autonomy in its general business operations and sales practices. No marketing plan, program or system is or shall be prescribed, suggested or recommended by Publisher, and Distributor agrees to be solely responsible for the selection and establishment of its own marketing plan, program or system for selling advertising for inclusion within the Publication, and for distribution of the Publication within the Designated Area. Publisher has not offered to provide and is not required by the terms of this agreement to provide any significant training, advice or assistance to the Distributor. Publisher has not represented and does not represent that Distributor will earn or is likely to earn a profit.

This is straight from the AP agreement that Travelhost wrote. This also happens to be their biggest reason why they don’t think they’re a FRANCHISE. They say they have no “prescribed marketing plan,” yet 100% of the people who responded to this survey said they got marketing help!

Here’s another interesting survey question…when asked if anyone had contacted Travelhost headquarters about a discount on publishing, 22% of people said that they were actually given a discount by Travelhost.

However, 44% were told that Travelhost doesn’t discount at all! And, the other 22% (part of the 66%, or 2/3 of the respondents) were told to just “go out and sell more ads!” (as if that wasn’t the whole goal in the first place, why would someone NEED a discount if they were selling enough ads to begin with?)

Either way, why does Travelhost treat each associate publisher differently?

Why do they lie to 2/3 of the respondents, and give the other 1/3 a price break?

Finally, when asked if people were worried that the Travelhost executive staff has been cut nearly completely, 89% of people said that it worried them.

I agree with them.

The interesting thing is that 11% of people actually said they didn’t care what was going on over at Travelhost HQ…even though their money is going to FUND what’s going on at HQ!

I guess Travelhost has created what is perceived as a “quasi-government” situation, as most people just “pay the taxes” but don’t pay attention to where the money goes? Or perhaps they only care about succeeding in their own market, and ignore the fact that the NETWORK is Travelhost’s biggest asset?

In conclusion, a few things are obvious to me:

1. Travelhost is a franchise that offers a business plan, a trademark for royalties, and a prescribed marketing plan.
2. Travelhost does not follow franchise rules. By not disclosing pertinent info to prospective franchisees, they cause many people to make investments they would not have made if they knew the high failure rate.
3. Travelhost has mislead investors, and has treated each associate publisher differently. Some people get discounts, the rest get overcharged until they go broke. Then Travelhost goes out and sells the franchise to another unsuspecting investor. And the cycle continues.

It’s as plain and simple as that. The rest, I leave up to your interpretation…but this is only the tip of the ice-burg. More surveys will follow, but for now, I leave you with one new survey question to ponder:

A Brief Survey For Current And Past Travelhost Associate Publishers…

February 16, 2010

Hello everyone, thank you for your continued support!

We’ve had such a great number of followers at The Publishers Advocate Blog, and we were hoping to gain some insight as to how some of you feel about certain things I’ve been blogging about.  Your opinions and input is valuable, and I’m hoping you’ll consider participating.

I know most of you are hesitant about engaging in the conversation on this blog, from fear of retaliation from Travelhost. Here’s an opportunity to respond anonymously to a set of questions, that would help me in understanding our readers better.

The Publisher’s Advocate is here for everyone, and will continue to be here until the situation is solved. By answering the questions below, I will know if I’m on track with my priorities or not. Please take just a few moments to click on the answers that represent the way you feel.

There are ten basic questions to get us started. If we have good results, I’ll propose another set of more specific questions in a few days. Please know that I will not know who you are if you answer the questions, I’ll only know the results, which I will post with the next posting.

As always, thank you for your time…

If you’re a prospective Associate Publisher, please just answer the questions that make sense to you.

By ethical, I mean do you perceive Travelhost to be operating by most business standards.  AKA they tell you what you believe to be the truth, they treat all people the same, they treat all people fairly, and they follow the laws of the state in which you operate your business, as well as federal laws.

Meaning, did they inform you that more than 90% of people who have become an AP have failed?

Meaning, did Travelhost make it sound like most AP’s are easily making six-figures per year?

Meaning, did Travelhost inform you that their publishing prices were higher than any independent places you could produce and print? With or without the absence of value.

Meaning, do you feel that paying double (about 30k for most AP’s) is worth the marketing and support that Travelhost does on a yearly basis. Keep in mind, Travelhost collects more than a million dollars per year on average in money “earmarked” for marketing!

Meaning, do you feel that the extra money paid to Travelhost is in lieu of paying royalties, like most franchises charge?

Meaning, did you buy into Travelhost because you believed they had a successful business model? And you’re intent was to follow this model, and be successful “like all the other Travelhost AP’s?”

Meaning, did Travelhost tell you they offer a class called TIPS (typical industry practices) or offer to supply you with a market-prescribed plan for success in your specific market? (Roadmap to success?)

Meaning, did you ever have a problem paying the publishing prices, and call Travelhost HQ to ask for any type of help? Whether it be a discount on pricing, payment terms, or some type of concession.

Thank you very much for participating in the survey.  I appreciate the time each and everyone spends reading the blog, and supporting what The Publisher’s Advocate is trying to accomplish-positive change at Travelhost Magazine.

Change so that people aren’t taken advantage of, and people are told what they’re getting into when they invest in a Travelhost franchise!


One last question, if you will…