Add me to the TOBB *banned* list!

By MTmommy,

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Thanks to everyone who shared their experiences - it is relieving to read this thread. I had never found this board before, since I was happily using the other one, and keeping my opinions about the tone to myself, until last week when I dilligently posted my winning bid and strategy, and returned later to find it deleted. I emailed the admin to ask why, explaining also that it made me feel like I had done something "bad", and I was only trying to participate and be helpful. I received a reply saying that it was because I hadn't followed her policies and procedures and priceline's "intended use", when I posted details about "tag team bidding" with my husband!

I then responded saying in fact I had read both and there was nothing about it in there, and I (not knowing that this issue had come up for them before at that point), took some time to explain that there was nothing illegal about it and in fact wasn't the site PROMOTING sharing information to get the best price possible on priceline? I closed with something not polite, but not nasty (something like, thanks for taking the time to reply so curtly) and next thing I know I can't access the site.

ANYHOW... it made me feel like a dog with a tail between my legs - I ALWAYS follow all the rules that I know about, I consider it a personal fault actually...

SO I am relieved to find this board with a more relaxed tone, and with other "normal" people who shared the same experience. Thanks again!

Off to post my winning bid here... not sure if I should refrain from explaining all the "tag-team" bits though that hulk and I used when pinning priceline to the mat...

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Whatever you do, don't feel like a dog with it's leg between it's tail. Yes, I have no doubt you're one that "follows the rules". Unfortunately, the one rule that TOBB doesn't much follow is the one we all know as the GOLDEN RULE.

Welcome to the friendlier side of travel bidding, where everyone gets along, shares valuable thoughts and information, and most importantly, are treated as adults by the Moderator.

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I just stumbled across this thread and was surprised and glad to found all these banned memebers found a new home here. I was banned right after my first post so you know that **** is reading every single post here (can we ban her!). I will be posting all my winning bids here from now on but I will still keep an eye on the other board as a lurker. We will see how long the other site can survive with her stupidity mind running the site, cheers!!

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Someone has to say it, and it might as well be me.

Yep, I got banned with no explanation. I asked for one, and haven't received it, but I really don't much care. Ya'll seem like good people over here!

At any rate, I created another account, and while I can no longer access her site from my home PC, I easily do so through my work VPN (which is on a laptop exactly next to the "banned" PC and obviously IP address). Oh, and by the way... the VPN is NOT a static IP address, so I can't be banned by that. Whee!

So -- here I am, STILL taking all the tips from their board while giving nothing in return. And you know what? I'm OK with that. In fact, I feel pretty darn good about it in this case.

Thanks all for letting me vent, and can I get anyone a cup of coffee while I'm up?

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I'll take a Mocha with an extra shot if you don't mind. :)

Welcome to the board dbcahill. Everyone here has been very helpful and nice since I've been a member. It's a great community with a lot of info. Check out the map section if you haven't seen it yet. Amazing stuff being done there.

I was banned from TOBB too. Again no big loss except to those that don't get to see my bid info.

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Could it be the references to the Government rate?? Or to the senior rate? Maybe she thinks you should only compare to best publicly available rate? I'm at a loss!!!

PS - I'm a gov't e/ee myself, so I always consider how well I can do on PL for a nonrefundable room v. the gov't refundable rate!

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Well, before the thread was deleted, she posted a reply asking if PL flagged my bid as a duplicate bid. I replied that I bid Zone A, then started a new bid for Zone B, then started a new bid with Zone A+B (all on one account), and PL let each bid go through. Shortly after that, I was banned.

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  • 3 months later...

My first post on my new favorite travel board! I came here on a google search specifically on the topic of being banned from TOBB. I'm the least likely person to be banned you can imagine but somehow it happened! My posts are still up (though since I'm on this board with the same name maybe they'll now disappear) and I do nothing in them but report of my successful bids and say that I bid through the A-B site. I would have been delighted to apologize for whatever I did wrong, but I couldn't email S because her only email contact is on the board, and of course I'm banned. I tried emailing someone else who writes sticky posts and has a visible email address but never heard a thing that way either. My in-box is still there, but nothing there and no reply to my posts. And yes, of course I can still read the board, and intend to continue to do so, so feel bad that I can't also help build their incredible knowledge base. But so it goes and I'm happy to be here.

My guess is that based on my total ignorance of all things computer I was bidding at A-B, but not through a link on her site. Though there isn't a link on the site, right? :) And I haven't asked for bidding advice in more than a year, and no longer have the email that included the link in it. Oh well. I need to just let it go. I do feel MUCH better knowing that there are obviously plenty of others in my same situation :)

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it's a messed up world that her site is bigger and more people report winning bids there......but she must be banning everybody because it seems it's always new people posting and very few old members are left............she acts like she's doing you a favor and you should get down on your hands and knees and praise her and give the site $$$................and her site isn't all that relevant anymore because even though there might be more history there it doesn't matter because hotel patterns change constantly and back then the prices won were so low which just don't come up anymore!

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But so it goes and I'm happy to be here.

Yooperann,, we are happy to have you here. I believe you will really find it a comfortable place that is growing all the time. Their lost is Better Bidding's gain. Please post all your winning bids as each one helps build an ever better board. (by the way Thereuare is the BEST ever,,, keeps this place up and running,, such a great person too). So, once again, Welcome!



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Thanks Cheryl. Actually the same thing happened (though not to me personally) in the Chicago chowhound community and the new board that came out of it-- LTH Forum-- is a million times better, so I know it happens.

And I get the vague impression that Thereuare may be a Wolverine :) Go Blue!

(LSA '69)

And I will put in my most recent Priceline winning bid since it's still before the date in question.

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  • 2 months later...

Hello all,

I joined TOBB today and was banned today as well. And I don't know what I did. Sheryl on the other hand was rude to us. I just asked a simple question on re-bidding and WOW did I get an earful. Anyway being in the Internet biz did a little snooping around and found some interesting things about that woman. And even better I found betterbidding.com.

I thought that was the reason for starting a community so the users can share information. They sure did not like may questions and I must have hit a nerve because I got a response from Sheryl and from her partner Rolando.

Sorry for the length of the post, but we really felt terrible after it happened. We (My Wife and I and our little guy) were trying to book a trip to Orlando and got slapped in the face. After searching her on the net for a while I realized it really was not anything that we did. It was her. I feel bad for the people that are using that site with blinders on.

Anyway I am glad to be here and I hope we can help.



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I just got my hand slapped for posting a failed bid and not posting the lowest avail rates for my stay. I don't have time to research that crap - plus its on every other frigging post anyway - any idiot can just see what the bids are going for. Its fun to get her in a tizzy. LOL. I thought i would post my failed bid in case anyone was going to bid this weekend and they could see what failed - do I have time to go research rates? NOPE! lol.

And after posting over here...I have now been banned. Anyone who has THIS MUCH time on their hands to watch this board and your own, really needs one!

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I am a newbie to bidding and just recently found this and the "other" site. I found this site much more helpful and friendly. I don't know what I am doing half the time and the constant reproach on the other site made me nervous. I am glad to read these posts to see that I wasn't imagining it. I just want to thank everyone who takes the time to help out us newbies.

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Finally banned there (for grousing on FT about their new policy discouraging hotel reviews). Frankly I have no idea how I lasted there so long. Certainly TOBB does not appreciate or thank people who post bids/reviews there, or consider posters as adding value to that site.

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In my opinion, the primary function of TOBB is revenue generated through advertisers on the site as well as participants bidding through it's affiliate links. Given that fact, I don't think it's so much the community people perceive it to be. That may or may not answer your question of why any/all contributions of information aren't wanted/accepted/appreciated.

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Add me too.

I am a newbie at this travel stuff so I have been doing my research to find the best deals. I started to bid with priceline but got worried (remember I am a newbie at this stuff) and ended up getting a hotwire deal based on information here.

I had asked for help on the "other bidding site" and followed up that my travel partner ending up going with hotwire. I got a snippy response and was banned....

Yikes it wasn't until I was banned and did some research that I found out how prevelant banning is on the other site.

The ironic part is, the reason I have been doing all this research is of course to save myself money on travel but I had a second reason. I am writing a series of articles to place on my high traffic soccer tournament site and medium traffic community guide. I actually had a glowing review on how you could save money using this and the other site roughed out. Well guess whose review is getting tanked. I am experienced web design company owner, so I clearly understand how you make a living by recommending products and having people use the recommended links. The first lesson on business is that you should be really careful on what bridges you burn. I plan on publishing my article later this year as a "added service" to my site. I won't make money on recommending how to save money on travel but I will give my readers a reason to come back. None of my 15,000-20,000 traveling soccer parents will be pointed to that other site, but I will send them here.

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First: I am not a "fan" of TOBB. I have had my posts removed for what they call "tag-team bidding" (which is what happens if a couple try to bid together), I have had the exact same experiences as many of you. I think I have been banned but I've changed email addresses and computers so many times I wouldn't really know for sure.

I just really actively dislike the use of the B word and think it inappropriate and below the tone of this forum.

For those who don't know, TOBB did get into legal trouble with Priceline because they have a TON of press coverage at one point a few years back. Priceline almost shut them down and this is part of the reason for most of the restrictiveness. They don't want to get sued by a big company because they helped Joe M. of Missoula get a cheap hotel in Boise, ID. So they have to shut stuff down because they did have the spotlight turned on them by PL. Do I know this for certain? No, but I do remember when the press coverage happened so I know that part of it is true, and the rest of it certainly seems plausible to me. So, grain of salt and all that.

The other point I will make is this: I am sure the board got started because the admins wanted to help people. Not all of us are born with customer service skills and some people get thrown into areas they don't have the skills for. Right, no one asked them to run the board but I am sure at the beginning it was a lot of fun, before they had thousands of users screaming when the board was down or why didn't you answer my post? And if you think they make a ton of money and so therefore everyone has the right to demand things from them or be abusive when they don't get what they want when they want it - internet advertising stopped being profitable in about 1998. It's likely a few bucks but no one is quitting their job because of that income.

Having said all of this, from my perspective, the admins - at least some of them - are burned out and don't know how to deal with it well and it would probably be GREAT if they had someone they trusted to offload the work to. But, again, this being work for FREE, it's harder than you think. I know this because I once ran a very popular web site that started as a fun little thing and over a year or two exploded into a site that got over 10,000 visitors a month. I wasn't equipped for this, but I didn't want to shut my hard work down, and I liked helping people, and I thought I had something to contribute, and it's nice when work you do gets recognized and is successful, isn't it? But I too burned out and people would offer to help who had NO skills, background, or talent and who we didn't trust to help (oh, and when we started out, there were five of us on the project, which dwindled to two very quickly once people saw how much time and work was involved).

Does Sheryl need help? Yes, but she probably can't find qualified people willing to work with cranky customers for free.

Does Sheryl need some customer service skills? Right, but no one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to go to that board.

Has TOBB lost valuable contributors (and intimidated others - come on, *frightened*? What can she really do to you besides post really nasty???) as a result? Absolutely, and that's their burden to deal with.

Is Better Bidding a 'friendlier' forum? Sure is. I appreciate that I can ask for help and not get deleted or my head chopped off if I use the wrong font color. but I wonder what would happen here if USA Today did an article about them and suddenly tens of thousands of users flooded the forum asking for advice.

But does it make you a better person than Sheryl when you come here and call her a bitch? Um, no. And it disgraces this forum, IMHO. Say whatever you want in private - I have - she's really upset me too with some of her responses to me when she's deleted my posts - but the namecalling in public is just wrong, IMHO.

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Does Sheryl need help?
Yes, but the other kind too, not just help running the board.

I feel that if anything, the comments here about this sad woman are restrained. People, even those who inadvertently break rules, are deserving of basic dignity and civility. Maybe people should resist the urge to "hit back" when slammed in the face with the vituperative misanthropy displayed by Ms. Mexic, but in a world where social respect of others still has a place, one can understand the urge to "hit back".

I have said before that anyone running a board such as TOBB does need to enforce certain rules, and that some of those rules probably do neeed to be fairly strict. But one can do so without the mean-spirited cudgel of instant punishment so gleefully meted out Ms. Mexic.

In regard to TOBB's relationship with (or should that be "tolerance of its existence by") Priceline, I and many other business and leisure travelers understand that this can be a tenuous thing indeed. And ultimately she does need to be the final arbiter of what crosses the line that keeps PL's legal department off her back.

But there are ways to do this that keep the bounds of civility (at least as it exists online) intact. For example, if I were running a similar board and someone posted something that crosses the line, I would not hesitate to delete the post, but I would also give the poster (who after all is providing me with vauled data fo my board) with an explanation - something like this:

Dear poster,

Thank you for your contribution to the xxx online community. Due to the nature of our relationship with Priceline, I have regrettably had to remove your post from view. If you would like to offer an edited version, or to discuss this removal, please feel free to do so. Due to time constraints, there may be a delay in responding. Thank you for your understanding of the rules we follow, which guarantee the continued existence of this valuable resource.

Board Administrator

Instead, someone making a mistake is greeted not with an explanation, but a ban.

My opinion is that Ms. Mexic feels that her rules (FAQs) spell it all out, and that anyone who errs has done so because of not reading and following these rules. And therein lies part of the problem - the rules/FAQs are poorly written and terribly formatted - the last thing you'd want if you really did want people to read, understand, and follow them.

But until more people do what websoccermom is doing in warning her group of travellers about what goes on at TOBB, Ms. Mexic will continue to lure in unsuspecting new users into her miasma of deceit and ill will. Although I and may others on Betterbidding hope that BB's steady and continued growth will achieve the ultimate goal of becominf the premier Internet community for travel bidding data and assistance, threads like this one (and similar threads on other travel boards) will reveal TOBB and Ms. Mexic for what they are. And if the language occasionally seems harsh, well, that will make Ms. Mexic and the victims of her negative interactive style "even".

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