Archive for the ‘Calling ’em out’ Category

I was reminded again today why you shouldn’t create content for third parties (for free that is). Today’s reminder came from Squidoo who sent me an email saying a lens I had created long ago had been flagged and was going to be unpublished. The truth is, that lens I created was pretty good and had some nuggets of information you won’t find anywhere else. Apparently their automated systems did not like something about it. But of course they don’t give any specifics, just general ideas under the heading of “low quality”.

So I moved that content to a blog post about Thailand medical care and deleted the Squidoo lens. I was the original idiot for putting effort into content on a third party’s site. But I am redeemed now that the content is on my domain, and Squidoo is the idiot now for chasing my content away.

Footnote: You should note the irony in the fact that this post is on a third party domain. But then, it’s only a 10 sentence post written in a few minutes.

I saw that Comcast reported good earnings, largely driven by a jump in subscribers to their internet service. Bad news for those subscribers – Comcast is another ISP that is incompetent in its overzealous spam control efforts. Just like Earthlink which I blogged about before, Comcast is blocking emails from people who are replying to messages sent by its subscribers. It happened to me recently when I replied to someone using Comcast. My reply bounced with a message that it was blocked due to spam coming from my IP address. The thing is, my IP address is not listed in any of over 107 spam tracking databases. Add to that the fact that it is pretty obvious that when one of their subscribers sends me an email they probably want to receive the reply. So Comcast is obviously stupid. The real trouble is that its subscribers don’t know that replies to their emails are being blocked. They just think that their message was ignored or lost.

So Comcast subscribers,

That’s the trouble with social network style review sites, anybody with an opinion, however uninformed, can post a review. And then loads of uninformed visitors post comments thanking them for their “insider information” or experiences from “on the ground”. Such is TravBuddy, which I happened to browse today after seeing it appear in some search results for Thailand related subjects.

One perfect example is a review of Bumrungrad Hospital over there. It is sort of whip saw review. The reviewer first posted about how wonderful the hospital is, parroting all the usual cliches that first timers use when they see the facilities and hear some stories. Then later that reviewer came back with a complete turn-about, talking about the stories he had heard of mis-diagnoses and poor medical care. He then goes on to speculate about why there have been mis-diagnosed cases and that’s when the bad information really starts to flow.

There are no medical malpractice lawsuits in Thailand” according to the reviewer.

Of course that is completely wrong as any informed person in Thailand knows. That reviewer probably has no idea because he doesn’t read the Thai news. There are medical malpractice lawsuits in the news sometimes. There isn’t much about it in the English language media which would be expected since the law is practiced in Thai and there is certainly no market for Thai legal case news to be translated to English. So it just isn’t out there where English speakers can find it.

Ok, so the reviewer posts completely bad information based on uninformed speculation. That’s where social media is supposed to be self correcting. But not in the case of TravBuddy. There are a few dumb comments along the lines of “OMG, can’t believe it, thanks so much” and “You get what you pay for”. So along I come and post a comment that no, that is incorrect, there are medical malpractice lawsuits in Thailand, they are in the news now and then. I also pointed out that with the Consumer Case Procedures Act that became law in August 2008 a patient can file a lawsuit anywhere for no cost and without a lawyer. I even gave a reference to one of the very few English language sources online that talks about CCPA in reference to medical malpractice. And do you know what happened? The dolts at TravBuddy deleted the comment and my account.

So, they don’t want any external references at TravBuddy, rather just allow bad information to stand. Well then, be warned, TravBuddy is not your best source for travel information. You’re much better off at forums like Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree where, although the debates get pretty off topic and personal sometimes, there are lots of contributed opinions and plenty of external references so that you can research and corroborate any information.

That Bumrungrad review wasn’t the only one that was disinformation, just one of the more blatant ones. There are others I saw in which obvious newbies exclaim what a great deal they got when a local like me knows they overpaid. My advice is to instead head over to Thorn Tree where expats will tell you what things really cost – and call you a sucker at the same time so be sure you have thick skin.

How many countries are now claiming they are a top medical tourism destination? It seems like the list is getting pretty long and full of some very doubtful names. Today I saw a story that claims Iran is one of the world’s leading countries medical tourism. There are a lot of generalities but no numbers in the story. So when they claim that Iran is among the top 10 in the industry there isn’t much to base that on. They did say that Iran ranks second after America in bone spinal implants. That’s a pretty fine niche there. Maybe it’s true. Numbers? Not mentioned. They claim that most of their patients come from England, Sweden and Persian Gulf countries. The patients from Persian Gulf countries is a believable claim. The others – not so much. So this little story goes in the call ’em out category because it just isn’t credible and sounds like nothing but fluff given the complete lack of numbers and statistics.

LMAO! I received a spammy-ish email today, not really spam, however, because I did put my email address on a certain mailing list, but it was a spammy sounding email pushing some online marketing product. So yeah, I skim through it and see that it’s another pitch about how to get lots of traffic taught by someone with this claim

[He] consistently makes more money in a single week than the top income earners in the U.S. earn in an entire year.

Oh yeah, so sign me up, and please tell me where to send my money (so I can help make sure he keeps making that kind of money).

The funny part was the footer of the email that starts out

By reading this, you agree to all of the following:

That’s got to be the funniest lead-in to terms of use I have ever seen. I’ve got news for you. By reading something I explicity DO NOT agree to it. In fact I completely disagree, and I will use, reuse and resell everything you send me just to spite you for including something so stupid in an email you sent me.

I’m still chuckling about it.

I keep seeing puff pieces about how safe it is for tourists in Thailand. The TAT must be shoveling out cash these days. That’s their job, to promote tourism, so ok, they’re working it.

When I see articles titled “Bangkok Not Dangerous: A First-Timer’s Trip to Thailand” I do enjoy reading how some travelers seem to think they are adventurous rebels when they visit places where there have been travel warnings and recent riots, as in Bangkok. Of course, you need to have a quote from a local who says something like

Everything is over and really back to normal

Just don’t take a peak at the news or you might have second thoughts since there are now bombings every few days in the city, usually a M79 grenade getting fired at some hapless guard standing in front of King Power or Bangkok Bank.  So far no tourists have caught any shrapnel. They don’t shop at King Power or exchange money at Bangkok Bank anyway…oh…wait.

I’m not linking to that story. It’s not exactly full of good advice. Like how’s this tidbit

Before you get into a cab, even if it’s metered; whatever the driver offers, come back with one quarter of the offer, and settle on a third.

Oh really. If you do that you are doing it wrong. These “expert” travelers should really hit up some expats who take taxis regularly before giving out bad advice like that.

Goofy Thai restaurant names

Posted: August 18, 2010 in Calling 'em out

Why is it that so many Thai restaurants in the U.S. have to give themselves some goofy name that is a play on words? I saw an announcement of a new restaurant opening at the northwest corner of the intersection of New Jersey Avenue and R Street, Northwest (in what city I don’t even know). They call it “Beau Thai”. Well, that’s a little more original than some of the others, like:

  • My Thai – trying a play on words with the name of a mixed drink
  • Thai One On – bad idea naming a restaurant/bar after the act of getting really drunk
  • Thai The Knot – more of a marriage agency name
  • Thai-licious – really poor effort but it is the name of an actual restaurant

There are lots more that I’ve seen and forgotten and just about all are trite. Beau Thai at least seems a little bit original.