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Wednesday 13 June, 2007 

Good morning

A resounding thank you to the 298 people who have now chosen to participate in this year's annual fund raising drive.  Your help is very much appreciated and very much needed.  Special thanks in particular to Joseph and Fred for their outstandingly generous help.

This note is addressed more to the 22,400 readers who have yet to respond (other than the rush of people who chose to unsubscribe upon reading my request for help).  And, talking about that, I truly do enthusiastically embrace what is almost a socialistic payment model along the PBS lines - no-one should ever contribute any more than is easy and convenient, and if your situation doesn't allow you to contribute, then please continue to read the newsletter with no embarrassment.

However, in the last reader demographic survey, 51% of readers reported over $100k in annual household income, and 29% had over $150k a year.  So the chances are that more than the current 1% of contributing readers could respond positively if they chose to.  If this includes you, I hope the balance of this note might encourage you to become an active supporter.

As I mentioned at the start of this year's fundraising drive, The Travel Insider finds itself at a difficult crossroads.  I'm struggling through a protracted and expensive divorce, with triple costs to me - household income halved, formerly shared costs now to be paid entirely by myself, and a year of attorney's fees (so far) is eating up every spare penny I have.  I am now totally reliant on The Travel Insider for all my income, and concurrently the main revenue generator from the website (the phone unlocking service) has collapsed and now brings in a mere 25% of what it did a year ago.

I need to make some tough choices, both about my future and the future of this website.  Hopefully you agree with me that this website and newsletter is a force for good in a world that desperately needs this type of advocacy and information.  With 22,750 readers of the weekly newsletter, and over 500,000 people visiting the website each month, and with extra exposure through occasional quotes in newspapers, appearances on network television, etc, The Travel Insider is an increasingly important force for consumer advocacy and traveler rights.  This works best if it can remain open, free, and public for all to read, but needs your support to happen.

Whether it is exposing airline perfidies or product shortfalls in 'tell it like it is' reviews, or whether it is offering you helpful new products and services to better empower your own activities and traveling lifestyle, or giving you money saving tips such as the one a couple of weeks ago about refunds on your international credit card charges, or maybe some weeks you just get a good laugh from something, there's always something to amuse, entertain, inform or empower you.

Please help all these good things to continue.  It is really simple - all you need do is spend 30 seconds making a quick online credit card contribution (although old fashioned checks in the mail work just fine, too!).

Please help keep everything we do free for everyone.  Please join the 298 readers who have already kindly contributed in the last ten days and help us make our modest target of 680 reader contributions.  Isn't this worth the price of a single cup of coffee each week, or perhaps as much as you'd pay for a single issue of a newspaper?  Indeed, we now have voluntary subscription options that allow you to subscribe at a regular monthly or quarterly rate if you'd find that easier than making a single lump sum contribution today.

Simply click to this page to make a convenient credit card payment (either one time or subscription), or, if you prefer, you're welcome to mail a check to :

David Rowell
17321 NE 31st Ct
Redmond WA 98052

The normal newsletter and feature column will follow on Friday, same as just about every other Friday for almost six years now, and - with your help - hopefully the same as for the six years that follow.  Until then, here's a photo sent in by an intrepid reader who probably risked imprisonment for taking a picture in a secure zone at an airport.

Thanks for reading and thanks more for helping out.

              David M Rowell aka The Travel Insider

If you ever wish to unsubscribe, simply reply to any email and set the subject line to say 'unsubscribe'.