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YTB…It’s ON, It’s OFF, It’s ?

It just doesn’t go away. If you want to study MLM travel, you must consider YTB, if only historically.

(just so you know, if you’re limited for time, I’d pass all of this and just listen to the guy in the cap, on the video…he’s never off, always on, and he can help you now!)

Names: As is typical of MLM Travel networks, the YTB organization has used a variety of names. Originally known as Your Travel Biz or YTB, it has been called YTB International and most recently YTB Global Travel.

Base: Wood River, Illinois, with subsidiaries in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S.

Historical Development: per wikipedia

2001: company launched in Alton, Illinois by J. Lloyd “Coach” Tomer, his son Scott Tomer, and Kim Sorensen launched YTB in 2001 in Alton, Illinois.

2004: REZconnect Tech partnered for rapid growth into 23 employees and total travel sales of $20 million.

2007: Royal Caribbean broke off relationship, citing uncustomary use of perks intended for travel agents shared with public.

2008: Attorney General Jerry Brown of California settled out of court regarding inappropriate business practices, resulting in a substantial doubt of the company’s future. Loss of membership accelerated the concern.

2009: A mid year loss of 50%plus in both revenue and number of paying members; sold off its technology and booking back offices.

2011: Sixth Scott LLC purchased YTB Travel Network and relaunched as Alliance Travel in 2012.

2012: Kim Sorenson died; Scott Tomer resigned

2013: March 1, YTB International filed for Chapter 11 in St. Louis federal court. Chicago based business man Sam Hathi, Jamraval, Inc. bought the company. YTB has operated as YTB Global Travel since being acquired. Sam Hathi stated, “We believe the YTB franchise can be turned around and that it can regain the leadership position that it once held in the travel services industry.”

On Again:

In their 2006-7 heyday, one quarter their SEC filing recorded 178,000 RTAs (Referring Travel Agents) who received comissions totaling $16,136,795 and travel commissions of $1,608,688. (on average $91 MLM commissions and $9 on travel commissions). Income from fees paid by the RTAS were $17,965,361 and travel commission splits were $2,537,694.(notice the MLM side was significantly larger in both counts). In a later quarter it was $33,959,388 from RTAs and $5,328,627 in travel commissions. Sales of marketing materials to their own reps yielded another $3,009,505.

Off Again:

According to documents filed in bankruptcy court, YTB had only a liability indebtedness of $6.2 million (assets of $1.3 million; liabilities of $7.1 million) and as far as the court was told, they only had 40 employees.

On Again:

By April, 2013 they were reporting agent numbers hovering about 2500

YTB Reorganization Structure:

Two companies operating under the YTB Global Travel tent:

  • YTB Travel Network: a monthly fee is paid by independent travel representatives who are provided an individual website from which they can secure personal travel at deep discounts and can sell travel packages to others
  • YTB Marketing: Independent Marketing Representatives are paid a commission or referral fee with tiered compensation as additional reps are recruited.

Signs That YTB Maybe Still Around:

You still see up-to-date activity among the die hard YTBr’s.

You can easily find viable and vibrant activity among the legions on Facebook and other social media platforms. Still working, still succeeding, still delivering a service and an opportunity for business.

Facebook YTB Business pages

Here’s a YTB facebook business page ginning at more than 6,500+ likes and posts that are no older than 24 hours. That’s some real activity with some real work going on.

State Law Enforcement Organization

Far from being shunned by judicial powers and law enforcement ranks, take a look at this association between YTB and the largest association of Iowa State police officers.

You see them encouraging their own member officers and communities to “TURN YOUR VACATIONS INTO DONATIONS!!!!”

They encourage everyone to book their travel plans through their YTB Travel website.

They make it clear the travel commission goes into their treasury. They tell everyone that you can find the same information regarding airfares, hotels, cruises, and rental vehicles, but doing it through them allows a donation to a common cause. Not a bad spin on an old concept.

The website url says it all: ISPA Travel:  www.ytbtravel.com/ispa

Cause For Continued YTB Concerns:

So, do we say YTB Global is On AGAIN?

I mean, we have seen some ups and downs. We have the benefit of more than 14 years of their personal saga lived out in public. We’ve seen an historic rise, a trend setter, an innovator that rose from obscurity in an Illinois office to the heights of international acclaim.

We have seen success in the jaws of adversity because a company tried to help others as they helped themselves.

  • We can say the difficulties came because local reps misrepresented; but, that was only suggested and never proven. If it were true, then why were YTB tools used and compensation plans followed.
  • We can say the demise came because the corporate office was greedy, but even the court records demonstrate accountability to the contrary.
  • We can say it was ineptitude or mismanagement
  • We can say it was ignorance of the law, or such complex law that the subjective interpretations could have gone to either side. Yet, it consistently went against YTB.

We have seen attempts to reinvent and recycle and resurge.

We have seen wise business men stumble, fall, and rise again.

Or, do we say YTB Global is OFF AGAIN?

Yet, if you try to access the company website as posted with Wikipedia, you find a disturbing overlay message that reads following:

“YTBPlease make note of an important update. As of March 2, 2015 YTB.com ceased enrolling new Referring Travel Agents (RTAs) and recruiting new Marketing Reps. YTB Travel Network continues to support existing RTAs and will allow former RTAs to reactivate if they so choose. Existing and former RTAs may click on “Member Login” to access their account. We may be reached by email at ytbtravelnetwork@ytbtravel.com or by phone…”

There’s A Better Way

When you witness the On Again, Off Again, On Again saga of a complete MLM travel industry giant, you’ve certainly got to ask yourself, “Can I really do any better with a currently viable MLM?”

When the entire structure falls, you’ve got to ask, “Is there something inherently dysfunctional about these things?”

That’s why I’ve never jumped into one of these MLM travel networks. I’ve found a better way.

You don’t have to recruit others. You get paid for your own work, strong or weak. And, what you work for is all yours. You take it with you, no matter what happens to the Big Boys.

Listen to my friend Brad. He says it better than anyone I know.