17 Responses

  1. jay
    jay at |

    What’s your impression of Randy’s quote … “These packages are a ‘must buy’ for any savvy traveler.”

    For me, this level of puffery was so ridiculous that i couldn’t take the offer seriously

  2. greek2me
    greek2me at |

    The use of the term “investment” in Wall&Main in Randy’s and Milepoint’s gushing praise of this deal was quite misleading as well. There is no investment- it’s a pure donation to a profit making company. The whole thing was well beneath what I’d come to expect from them.

  3. Andrew
    Andrew at |

    @greek2me, exactly. Seth, the problem I’ve had with this whole thing is the use of the word investment. Gary used it in his blog, you use it here…for example, you say “And, like most other crowd-funded companies they’re giving their supporters something in return for the investment. In this case, miles.”

    There is no investment here. This is not an investment opportunity. You’re not obtaining any equity in the firm; you’re not buying shares of anything. There’s no potential for your initial capital to increase in value. It’s a straight, dollars for points transaction.

  4. Gerard
    Gerard at |

    The spindoctors at work advertising a simple mile purchase….

  5. Andrew
    Andrew at |

    I should add, I don’t think W&M is a scam, as some have argued. I agree, Seth, that they’ve somewhat poorly presented their business model through this pitch, by being so focused on the reward, and not on the redeeming factors to their business that would compel someone to give them money. That doesn’t make them illegitimate, however.

    My big objection is just the way this has been spun as an “investment.”

  6. DJ
    DJ at |

    Andrew said it all – no growth potential no investment. The angle is that it’s an investment only for the company itself, there is no investor other than those in the company. It should be just a pricier miles purchase. The headset is not even worth mentioning.

  7. Andrew
    Andrew at |

    Sorry, posted my comment above without seeing your reply, Seth. I understand that not all investments are strict equity transactions (although I think by far the most common interpretation of the word, particularly when a wall street type company wants you to give them money, is putting your money into an asset with some expectation of capital appreciation). But I still think you’re using a loose definition of the word “investment.”

    Sure, I suppose you can consider most anything to be an “investment” if you really want to. That $100 I gave to my alma matter last year? I guess you could call it an “investment” in the future of the school, or in some future student’s life. Or how about the $20 I gave (through crowd sourcing, no less!) towards putting up a billboard to get the basketball coach at my alma matter fired? I’m “invested” in seeing our basketball team improve, so could you call that $20 an “investment”? Okay, sure.

    But neither of those things are truly investments, at least in my mind. I mean, go to Crowdtilt.com–their motto is “Group Fund Anything.” That’s exactly what’s going on here–you’re not investing in W&M, you’re funding them. I didn’t invest in the billboard, I helped fund it.

    So again, I’m not saying W&M is not deserving of funds from someone who believes in what they’re doing. I’m sure there are folks out there who think what W&M plan to do with their money is fantastic, and they’ll be happy to fund W&M. But I don’t think it’s investing, and I think it gives the appearance of being disingenuous when an opportunity like this is pitched as an “investment.”

  8. No Fly Zone
    No Fly Zone at |

    Just plane (intentional) dollars and cents: Bad Deal. And with award seats all but drying up, especially on United’s extended carrier group, a risky idea. For a million miles ($30,000) there ought to be some substantial discount and I’m not seeing it here. Have I over looked some important benefit? IMO, hold on to your wallet and run like hell.

  9. Craig
    Craig at |

    Hi Seth,

    With regard to legitimacy, one interesting thing I observed is that there address is not located any place on their website, unless I missed it, and I looked pretty hard. They only list their email address and an 855 area code phone number which is an area code not associated with any geographic location.

    I wonder how a company, that is asking the public to give them thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, can be considered legitimate when they don’t even disclose their address.

    What do you make of this?

  10. Oliver
    Oliver at |

    Really? Randy was perplexed during the call about their focus on miles? That same Randy who provided the choice quotes and showed up for a video infomercial on their website? Puzzling. Is there a recording of that call somewhere?

  11. Oliver
    Oliver at |

    Is that dude in the photo a real Wall and Main executive, or did they use a stock photo for that site and end up with one of Ken Lay of Enron fame?


  12. Oliver
    Oliver at |

    Thanks for the clarifications and additions.

    Who were they targeting with that call? Who were the participants?

    I agree that if that call was meant to be their “launch event” of sorts, their focus should have been on their business model. Unless, well, the miles sale were their business model.

  13. ffi
    ffi at |

    They will survive, if for no other reason that this.
    They have realized that the best model for them to stay alive (if they get funded by miles) is to sell their services to the startups.

    In the Alaska Gold Rush, most miners died bankrupt; the store keepers and general traders and saloons did quite well.
    Same in the Internet boom, the Intels and Suns did ok
    In the mortgage meltdown, the mortgage brokers did fine. The loss was taken by the common man.