I had a conversation with a YTB Director this weekend and he was insistent that YTB was travel focused. He chided me about the post about Shop YTB and them proceeded to tell me about all the juices and slimming clothes that were sold out as a result of Shop YTB. Not too much mention about travel.
As he was explaining the Shop YTB mall to me it dawned on me that indeed YTB seems to have just shuffled the deck chairs once again. His comment which was my "aha moment" was "with the money you can save in your own personal shopping, it more than pays for your monthly YTB fee."
There you go! A few years back, YTB was using travel as the hook to get people to sign up into the recruiting/pyramid/endless chain scheme. They portrayed jetting across the globe at pennies on the dollar and travel suppliers fawning over them. Well, we all know how well that worked out as is evidenced by the lawsuit in California, IATAN, RCCL, NCL, Illinois lawsuit, million dollar fines, etc.
So what does YTB do? They get involved with one of the multitude of online "shopping malls". Initially it was Aisle 19 and now they are partnered with someone else but privately branded. This is no different than Market America, Aisle 19, and many others.
So what is the hook? How does YTB convince people to pay them $49 a month for something that they can get for free almost anywhere else? They promote the personal savings and the "incredible commissions" when people buy from your mall. And I am sure that very little non-selfsold merchandise is purchased through the portals.
But to get these wonderful discounts/cash back and commissions because your friends and family will want to buy from you (that worked really well in travel didn't it?), you MUST have a YTB travel site at $49 a month. The pitch is that it will pay for itself with cash back. The hook is that you will have a travel business.
Once again, YTB has found a way to make a whore out of the travel industry!