You’ll never guess what’s happening behind the scenes at this site

By | February 5th, 2016

Don’t look now, but that scrappy consumer advocacy site you’ve been reading for years is getting organized.

Really organized.

It was bound to happen. Even though this site bears my name, I’ve always put the customer and the cause first. This is your site, not mine. We advocate for you, not me. And that’s an important distinction.

We live in a world of media personalities who make it all about themselves. They have radio and TV shows and branded luggage. And that’s absolutely fine, but it’s not who I am and it’s not what this site is.

This site is about you.

So what, exactly, does that mean?

About a year ago, I separated my personal site from this blog. My site,, is updated regularly and has a small weekly newsletter (look for the pop-up if you want to subscribe). It’s for friends and family, mostly. I don’t publish blog comments because the people who read it have my email address and they know I’ll answer them personally.

At about the same time, we started building a more robust organization staffed entirely by volunteers. Here are the departments:

Advocacy: We’ve deployed a small team of consumer advocates who do exactly what you’d expect advocates to do. They review cases that come in from our “Help” form, contact companies on behalf of consumers, and then write about the cases on this site. If you’re interested in joining this group, you can email our lead advocate, Jessica Monsell.

Editing: All of our stories go through a rigorous collaborative editing process. They must. In the past, we’ve slapped stories online on the spur of the moment, as all start-up sites do. That’s bad for you, because the articles are sometimes incomplete. It’s also bad for our writers, because it makes us look like amateurs. (I can assure you, we’re not.) People are often surprised to find such a thorough editing process on this site, but it’s something for which we don’t apologize. At the moment, Grant Ritchie is our interim lead editor. If you’re interested in joining the group, please let him know.

Related story:   Who's really to blame for these absurd luggage rules?

Forums: We operate a help forum for people with general consumer questions. Many of the cases we receive from our “Help” forum are eventually referred here. There’s a core staff of forum advocates who answer queries 24/7. They don’t actually contact companies on behalf of a consumer, but they can offer information and advice, which is often all a customer needs. Grant Ritchie is our lead advocate in the forums.

Newsletter: We publish a daily newsletter. You can sign up for it right here. I’m editing it, for now. But we’re looking for editors. Interested? Please contact me.

Production: All of our stories are produced well in advance. We have a small production team that pulls the stories into WordPress and adds photos and headlines. We are building this team at the moment. Nina Perry is in charge of production. If you can do WordPress, please get in touch with her directly.

  • MF

    Altosk, I share ‘The Darwin Awards’ website regularly with my kids as a way of having them NOT off themselves by riding their bikes off the roof of the house or other stupidity that others have tried. That way, they can find new and creative ways to try to off themselves…