A Virtual Memorial For Travelhost Associate Publishers Who Closed Their Markets In 2010…

March 25, 2011

Contrary to what the folks at Travelhost might think of me, I don’t like having to post this information every year.

It really is sad, and it doesn’t have to be.

Before I get into the list of markets that “died” in 2010, I’d like to mention a few things:

1. This memorial list is a “living and breathing” document. This list may not be complete, and may contain inaccurate information. As always, all it takes is one email or phone call to THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE to make a change to this list!

2. I know that calling this list a “living and breathing document” sounds strange, since it’s a “memorial for markets that died,” but this is a list of very SMART and CAPAPBLE entrepreneurs, and these people are not “dead” in any sense of the word. Their markets are dead, most likely because of the Travelhost business model (boasting it’s 95+% FAILURE RATE). Every one of these people who were taken advantage of by Travelhost must now continue to live their lives, and not only find another business or job, but pick up the pieces from their now BROKEN financial life. Not an easy task, my friends…

3. I’ ve been contacted by many Ex and Current AP’s over the last few months. The choice to do something about this scam is, and always has been, the ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER’S. You don’t have to accept this treatment from your “franchisor.” Many have left Travelhost, freeing themselves from the chains that nearly destroyed their businesses.

Rumor has it that even some of Jim Buerger’s favorite Associate Publishers are seeking ways to avoid the print cost ripoff.

It seems that even some pretty successful Associate Publishers have “thumbed their noses” at the Travelhost rip off… and some current “wildly successful” (in their own estimate) Associate Publishers are seeking an alternative to the Travelhost rip-off…it’s about time.


The last thing I would ever suggest is that victims of Travelhost revolt.

Now, without further ado, in no particular order, the Travelhost markets that failed in 2010…may they rest in piece:

Lake & McHenry Counties, IL

Lower Alabama

South East Texas

Columbus, OH

Brazos Valley, Tx

Cape Cod, Ma

Central Arkansas/Hot Springs

Central Illinois (Peoria)

Charleston, SC

Louisville, Ky

Indianapolis, In

Inland Empire, Ca

Lower Alabama


Montana Glacier Country

Nature Coast, Fla

Oklahoma City, Ok

Orange County, Ca

Tampa, Fl ?

Tulsa, Ok

Up next: A list of the markets that ARE still alive…not too many, especially for “America’s Number 1 Travel Magazine.”



If I missed a market, let me know and I’ll add it.

If I mistakenly added a “live” market to the “dead” list, let me know too…I’ll remove it ASAP.

And, finally, if you’re one of those people who defend Travelhost and their business model that destroys families and financial lives…well, maybe you should ask yourself why Travelhost goes so far out of their way to hide this information from the general public.


Where Is The “Travelhost Love,” And Will The Lies Ever End?

March 21, 2011

Last week, I received a “comment” on THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE website (www.publishersadvocate.info), and I have to admit that I’m a bit confused:


“You are an idiot. Did you do your due diligence when you bought the market? If not you confirm my point. If you did and still bought the market, stop whining and get over it. I have spoken to my attorney and due to your actions you have caused irreparable harm to my business with your vengeful attacks against the publisher. I hope you can prove your damage because it is going to cost you $$1.5 million for the damage you have cost me.”

I’m confused, because this individual has claimed that THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE has damaged him in some way.  Since THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE is not here to damage anyone, but here to HELP people, I had to look into the matter further.

It turns out that this individual, who identified himself as Chris Savoca, is an Associate Publisher in the Travelhost Magazine network (the guy all the way to the right in this picture).  Lets take a look:


Just in case the link doesn’t work, here it is in PDF format:





TRAVELHOST Love-savoca 2

On this Travelhost Magazine web page, it is said that Mr. Savoca’s magazine was so well received that he is increasing his distribution and getting calls from people wanting to buy advertising!

This is where I’m confused…why does Chris Savoca boast such success on the Travelhost website, and then email me privately to accuse me of damaging is business to the tune of ONE AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS?

What’s going on here?

I believe this is yet another example of an unfortunate investor that not only got duped by The Travelhost franchise system, but continues the “dupe” through blind self-denial!

Is Mr. Chris Savoca no longer “feeling the love.”

So here’s a question for Mr. Chris Savoca, associate publisher of Travelhost of Southern Louisiana:

Which one is it, Chris?

Are you doing well with your Travelhost Magazine franchise? (as you state publicly on the Travelhost website)


Are you going BROKE like the rest of us Associate Publishers did? (as you complain about privately in your email to me)

Please explain your position, Chris, if you will?




Chris, read your distributorship agreement with Travelhost Magazine, and show it to your lawyer. It gives you  rights to “wholesale” printing/publishing prices, not double retail.”

In case you missed that posting (November of 2009) during your due diligence, heres a link to it. It’s right here in the blog:


Like you Chris, I did due diligence when I bought into Travelhost (there wasn’t a whole lot available, until now). Part of that due diligence was reading the price term of the contract, and rightfully assuming that Travelhost Magazine would comply with it.

Not to mention that Travelhost told me they weren’t a FRANCHISE, yet the FTC had already told them that they were back in 1989. Travelhost’s lack of following FTC guidelines as a FRANCHISE violates my consumer rights, and yours. Information about that can also be found in this blog here:


So Mr. Savoca, before you sue the pants off of an already BROKE Travelhost victim, why don’t you actually read my blog first?

You’ll get your answers, including some better ways to spend your lawyer dollars…like maybe going after the guy that stole your 60K in the first place?

(HINT: he’s the guy with all of our money, in the big black Cadillac.)


Does The “Travelhost Magazine” Business Opportunity Scam Deserve National Media Coverage?

March 16, 2011

A national news story describing the Travelhost Magazine “Business Opportunity” scam is ripe, now that Travelhost is attempting to crush “rebels that couldn’t take it any more” from another 40+ year brutal dictator Mr. James Buerger.

(At least Khadafy is an ‘honest thug’)

While the court room is an appropriate and welcome venue, this scam needs to get exposed by the light of truth in the national press.

I know the Wall Street Journal was interested in doing a story, and I would welcome a contact number for the reporter that said she ‘needed something more current’ to do an article.

A lawsuit by the dictator (Mr. James Buerger) against former Travelhost Associate Publishers is ‘current,’ if you ask me.

By the way suits have been filed against those AP’s who escaped the wrath, take a look:


I’d also welcome leads to other national publications and online news sources, especially Dallas, Texas reporters.

Let’s expose this 4 decade old scam, and steer people away from the trap!

Once we do that, James Buerger and Travelhost Magazine will shrivel up like a vicious slug that has been appropriately salted.

Contact me privately by clicking the Uncle Sam icon to the right of the screen.


Click here:



With the help of the hundreds of readers that read this blog, I bet we can get national exposure to this wonderful business opportunity that boasts a: 95%+ failure rate, crippling printing fees (franchise fees?), and now even more excruciating pain of being sued when trying to leave a franchise system that drives most franchisees into bankruptcy.

Please, lets stop this from happening to more unsuspecting entrepreneurs.

Is Travelhost Magazine Forcing It’s Associate Publishers To Commit Fraud?

March 11, 2011

Is it possible that Travelhost forces its Associate Publishers to commit fraud AND violate FTC franchise laws with every issue published?

That just may be the case…

Knowing full well that Travelhost is usually a bad investment (95+% failure rate and a “business opportunity scam”) for themselves and others, each Associate Publisher is CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED devote a FULL-PAGE advertisement on their inside-back-cover touting Travelhost as a great investment.

Aren’t these Associate Publishers being FORCED to violate the law by aiding in FRAUD?


How does a Travelhost Magazine Associate Publisher mitigate his/her losses when involved in the Travelhost Franchise System?

If they continue to publish their local edition of Travelhost knowing it’s a bad investment, they risk committing fraud.


If they leave the Travelhost Magazine Franchise System to publish their own magazine, they risk being sued for violating a non-compete clause in their agreement.


How is an entrepreneur who was lured into a 60 THOUSAND DOLLAR business opportunity with an unreasonably high 95%+ FAILURE RATE mitigate his or her losses?

Are they supposed to just keep committing FRAUD, or get SUED?

Doesn’t seem like they have much of a choice, does it?

Oh, that’s right, Travelhost does offer ONE MORE CHOICE (other than just giving up your investment and walking away):

Travelhost will offer to “aid” you in SELLING (transferring) your business.

That’s right, they’ll help you commit FRAUD again, by having you try to MISLEAD some other unsuspecting entrepreneur in your area to take over your “rights” as a Travelhost Associate Publisher.

Of course, YOU will be the FRONT MAN/WOMAN in their FRAUD…since you are trying to “get-out” from a bad investment by scamming the next guy/gal.

Sounds like a terrible CATCH-22, doesn’t it?

What does an entrepreneur do in this case? Any ideas???

It almost sounds like these Associate Publishers have gotten themselves involved with the MAFIA, and there’s no-way-out!


Why Are Travelhost Associate Publishers Leaving The Network?

March 8, 2011

In a memo to the Travelhost network of Assoicate Publishers on 3-7-2011, Travelhost claims that several Associates have abandoned their $60, 000.00 franchises to start their own magazine.

I wonder why?

According to this memo, Travelhost claims:

“…TRAVELHOST has also provided a unique opportunity for talented entrepreneurs to represent this trusted brand by providing them the freedom and flexibility to independently own and operate a distributorship which enables them, among other things, to sell local, regional and national advertising across a variety of media platforms.”

“…Those joining the TRAVELHOST family have benefited from the TRAVELHOST brand and business structure, they have been able to well position themselves as experts and leaders in travel and tourism in their local communities, and they have been empowered to pursue their own individual goals for success.”

Why would these smart entrepreneurs leave a network where they have benefitted so greatly?

Travelhost goes on to say:

“It is our understanding that some attorney provided an opinion that the non-compete provision contained in the TRAVELHOST agreement was “unenforceable” as a “restraint of trade.” Our counsel has advised that the opinion provided was erroneously based upon a line of cases relating to at-will employment agreements; that the case law relied upon has no applicability to the TRAVELHOST agreement; and that Texas statutory and case law clearly and unequivocally supports the enforceability of the TRAVELHOST contractual provision. In other words, our counsel is extremely confident that the TRAVELHOST non-compete will withstand any judicial attack, as it consistently has on every prior occasion the past 40+ years.”

From the last sentence, it appears that Travelhost has been contested on their “non-compete agreement” CONSISTENTLY over the last 40 years?

I wonder why?

Travelhost then concludes the memo stating:

“Rest assured, TRAVELHOST is committed to provide the same level of safeguarding that it has for more than four decades and we are counting on each of you to remain steadfast in achieving your own individual goals for success, which in turn will result in a unified and stronger TRAVELHOST.”

Thank God they’ve been safeguarding the Associate Publishers for four decades, or the Travelhost network would be quite small.

Oh, that’s right, it is quite small.

Even after 40 years of all that good stuff they tout in their memos and on their plethora of websites.

There seems to be only 50 or so markets left…

I wonder why?



In the communication to the network, Travelhost also says:

“As you may or may not be aware, several former APs have joined together to start a competitive publication in direct violation of their respective contractual obligations. TRAVELHOST legal counsel has sent cease and desist letters to all those involved, and we are in the process of prosecuting litigation against each of these former APs, along with all those acting in concert and conspiracy with them. TRAVELHOST is pursuing all available legal remedies against all those involved, including injunctive relief, monetary damages, attorneys’ fees and costs.”


Why spend countless hours, energy, and monetary resources suing hardworking entreprenuers that are trying to make a living for their families?

Considering Travelhost’s 95+% FAILURE RATE:

Why doesn’t Travelhost spend time, energy and money creating a BETTER “business opportunity?”

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?

2010 in review: The Publisher’s Advocate Blog…The Travelhost Magazine Opportunity Exposed.

January 3, 2011

Hello Everyone, and Happy New Year!

The “stats helper monkeys” at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers.

This blog was viewed about 8,500 times in 2010.

That’s about 20 full 747s!

In 2010, there were 25 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 47 posts.

There were 7 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb.

The busiest day of the year was March 17th with 137 views. Not bad for ONE day!

The most popular post that day was Travelhost Magazine Franchises That Died In 2009…A Virtual Memorial Part II.

Stay tuned for the 2010 virtual memorial…

Where did theses visitors come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were site.publishersadvocate.info, mail.yahoo.com, en.wordpress.com, obama-scandal-exposed.co.cc, and tvrizor.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for travelhost scam, travelhost, travelhost magazine scam, travelhost lawsuit, and david portener.

The rest most likely came from a google search, by subscribing directly to our blog (we have hundreds of readers), or by direct word of mouth referral.


These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010:


Travelhost Magazine Franchises That Died In 2009…A Virtual Memorial Part II March 2010


More Google Search Results On Travelhost Magazine…”Scam?” January 2010


Travelhost publicly claims Brian Hickey is an “extortionist?” Just more propaganda, or fraud? Maybe defamation? June 2010


The Travelhost Franchise Issue…Another Look. February 2010


A Travelhost Travesty… May 2010

These are just some of the numbers for 2010.  I would like to personally thank EVERY one of our readers and supporters for your participation, words of encouragement, and courage to stand up against Travelhost Magazine and Jim Buerger.

The whole world now has access to information that is VITAL to the due diligence process for the “Travelhost Magazine Opportunity.”

This is information Travelhost does NOT want you to know, and can not seem to prove to be FALSE…but has gone out of their way to HIDE from you.

Please be patient while we assemble the totals for the 2010 Virtual Memorial for Travelhost Associate Publishers that closed down in 2010.




The Publisher’s Advocate 2010 Virtual Memorial Of Travelhost Associate Publishers…

December 13, 2010

Hello Everyone,

The third-annual “virtual memorial” of Travelhost markets that have gone out of business will be published soon.

If you are a past Travelhost Associate Publisher, and you closed your doors this year (2010) we would like to hear from you.


If you know of a market that shut down that is not your own, please pass the information on, and I’ll make sure they get mentioned as well.


The memorial will be dedicated to those who worked hard to make it in the publishing business with the Travelhost business model.  As we all have figured out by now, it’s likely NOT YOUR FAULT that you didn’t make it.

95%+ don’t.

The Publisher’s Advocate hopes that by making this information available to the general public, potential investors in the Travelhost “franchise system” will be able to make a more informed decision about the Travelhost “business opportunity.”

This is the information that Travelhost will not tell you, and go out of their way to hide from you.

As soon as a more complete list is assembled, we hope to have the information available to you after the first of the year.

Thank you for your continued support,

The Publisher’s Advocate


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 (PublishersAdvocate.info), 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 Few Questions For The Past and Current Travelhost Associate Publishers That Follow This Blog…

October 5, 2010

These questions were initiated by a comment left yesterday on the previous post…which made me think of a few good questions for someone to ask when doing their due diligence on the “Travelhost opportunity.”

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I’m not posting them in survey format, in hopes that a few of you will click the link to the right (the Uncle Sam Gravatar) and send me an email with your answers or comments. Or click the link below:

Email THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE: BrianDavidHickey@aol.com

1. How many Travelhost Associate publishers were successful in selling their (pre-paid) national ad space for somewhere around rate card value?

Most people end up practically giving it away, or using it to promote their own market. And, now with as few as 50 (maybe less?) markets left, how much do you feel that ad space is really worth?

2. How many Travelhost Associate Publishers were successful in “transitioning” their market, as proposed by Travelhost Headquarters, this year?

When most associates finally realize they can’t get their head above water with the current Travelhost business model, they call headquarters to beg for a price break…or anything that takes the pressure of the 1000 ton printing bill they get every quarter. After being told how weak/unmotivated they are, and how its all the AP’s fault, Travelhost will agree to help you “sell” your market to some (new) poor unsuspecting sole. Really, it’s more like a gracious way to let you go up in smoke, while attempting to cover their ass by “helping you.”

Has anyone out there been successful in selling their (dying) market?

3. How many Travelhost Associate Publishers lost their market in 2010?

The third-annual VIRTUAL MEMORIAL will be put together in the next couple of months, so we need an accurate count.

Also, if you have heard of any new deals that Travelhost is offering failing markets, please let us know about that. And, as always, please remember…be careful of the agreement Travelhost will want you to sign! It takes away your rights to go after Travelhost on judgement day…which is getting near.

Also, if you know of any new markets that just bought in, please send them forward as well.

To be fair, we’ll include those people.


Where are the associate publishers that defended Travelhost over the last year?

Does anyone know what happened to David Portener?

David Portener said he’d continue to be an integral part of Travelhost marketing and leadership. What happened Dave, is your conscience getting to you? Were you told to lay-low by your attorney? What about your commitment to the associate publishers of Travelhost, to grow the company to the best it can be?

How about Eli Mertens?

He graciously defended Jim Buerger’s business model on this blog, and then disappeared like the wind? Surely there are successes for 2010 in the Travelhost network that you’d like to point out, no?

And finally, what happened to Linda Giannosa from Denver, Colorado?

She defended Buerger as her market was dying, convinced that it was all her own fault…then she was offered some kind of special deal. That was back in 2009, which is the date on the magazine issue still published on the Travelhost website.

Did Linda’s market bite the dust, and does she still think it’s her fault?

If so, perhaps the wizard behind the curtain (Buerger) really does know what he’s doing…BRAINWASHING PEOPLE.

Looking forward to getting some responses. At almost 10, 000 hits and over 300+ readers, I’m sure we’ll get some answers!