Further Thoughts On My Etihad Residences Kickstarter Project

For those just joining us, here’s the background information:

The Etihad Residences Blog Post Link
The Etihad Residences Kickstarter Link

Earlier in the week Etihad Airways unveiled their new Airbus A380 aircraft, which they’ll start flying later this year between Abu Dhabi and London. Some readers suggested I start a Kickstarter campaign to fund a flight in the new Residence product to review it.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, much more so than I expected, though of course hasn’t been without a lot of criticism either. So I figured I’d share some more thoughts, now that I’ve had a chance to read and process what others have said.

First of all: WOW and thank you!

I launched the Kickstarter campaign yesterday, and in less than a day we’re more than a third funded. That’s totally insane and crazy.

Etihad-Residences-Kickstarter

But more importantly, I just love the feedback and conversation this has generated.

I’m just as thrilled by someone leaving a comment saying “cool idea, I donated $5” as I am by someone saying “this is absolutely nuts, I’m not donating, but I get the idea behind it.”

The internet is the internet.. and I’m a big boy

I’ve been blogging for over six years, so trust me, there’s nothing on the internet that really hurts my feelings. I don’t moderate comments and have been taking it up the chutney here for eons, so to those saying “wow, there are some harsh comments,” let me just reassure you guys that my feelings really aren’t hurt.

There has been lots of positive feedback, some tough love that’s constructive, and of course a smattering of internet trolls, who I can’t help but feel bad for.

This project is totally out of character for me…

If you don’t know me, I see how this project can come across like this:

Those that know me know that I’m basically the most sheepish person in the world when it comes to asking for things. So this is totally, totally out of character for me.

At the same time, what gets me going in the morning are new, creative ideas, even if they’re totally out of my comfort zone. So when readers suggested the idea of a Kickstarter campaign, my first thought wasn’t “oh yay, maybe I can fly Etihad Residences,” but rather “that’s really creative, I’d be curious to see how it works in practice.”

So the process of learning about Kickstarter and starting a campaign and seeing the reaction has been truly invigorating.

It’s what I love about the internet.

I said it in my original post and I’ll say it again. I’ll be just as happy if the funding goal isn’t reached as I would be if it is reached. Regardless, it teaches me a lot.

PLEASE don’t contribute to me in place of charity

Kickstarter is a unique platform in that it funds creative projects. This can be something altruistic like trying to find a cure to cancer, or can be something ridiculous, like building a statue of Robocop in Detroit.

So on one hand I hate being on the same platform as projects that actually want to improve the world, but at the same time what makes Kickstarter great is how unique it is and how easy it is to use.

I figured this would go without saying, but it seems to be a point of contention, so let me say it explicitly — please, please, please DON’T donate to this project rather than charity.

The way I view this project — at best — is like paying for entertainment. I think of this similar to going to the movies on Friday night, having cable TV, buying a tabloid, etc.

Most people don’t go to the movies on a Friday night and say “hmmm, should I donate to charity or go to the movies?”

Whether or not they should is a totally different story, but I think we can all agree that in most cases they don’t.

So unlike some of the other things on Kickstarter, this isn’t a charity project. But I assume (hope?) that’s something that everyone understands.

I’m not asking people to contribute

I know I’m driving home the same point here, but I’m really not begging or even asking anyone to contribute. I’ll let what I said in my original post speak for itself:

  • This is totally f*cking ridiculous.
  • “I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff in my flying “career,” including six transpacific flights in five days and eight flights back and forth to Brazil over 10 days, but even suggesting this as a possibility is the most ridiculous thing yet.”
  • “It’s totally ridiculous and there are so many better ways you can spend your money.”
  • “If a few thousand people pitch in the cost of a movie ticket we’d certainly be there. But you shouldn’t contribute based on that, or on doing something for me, or for any legitimatish reason. Seriously.
  • “And my feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t. This is quite possibly the most ridiculous Kickstarter campaign ever, and I figured it would be entertaining if nothing else.”

I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to blog and pursue what I love for a living, and the way I look at it, there are two main “missions” I have with this blog.

The first is to provide useful information, be it in the form of mileage tips, product reviews, etc.

But the other thing that I think makes my blog somewhat unique is that I also try to entertain.

I realize not everyone likes my sense of humor, but it’s who I am and I pour all of “me” into the blog. I don’t try to write in a corporate way and I don’t have ghost writers or a million contributing writers.

The extent of this project is me trying to entertain you guys.

Regardless, something good comes of this

I’ve had a handful of people leave comments/message/Tweet me saying “this is ridiculous, and I’m donating “$__” to “XYZ” charity instead.

That’s awesome and puts a smile on my face! So even if this whole project doesn’t work out, at least some good came of it.

BoardingArea also just donated $500 to the American Airlines Susan G. Komen Fund.

BoardingArea-Donation

This trip will be about you guys

The unique thing about Etihad Residences is that it’s virtually the same price for two passengers as one. My intent with that seat isn’t to swoon a love interest (that would require having one) largely on your dime, but rather to bring along a blog reader and cover all their travel expenses.

I haven’t decided yet how to do that, and am still working on the logistics. Frankly I never thought we’d get close to the funding goal so figured it would be a moot point.

Kickstarter specifically prohibits holding a contest in conjunction with contributing, so I can’t directly tie it to people that contribute. At the same time, I could have added a “contribution” level, whereby if you contribute a certain amount you’d get the second seat.

But to me that’s not fun.

I also don’t like the idea of anyone having to pay to share in this experience. I want this to be fun to you guys and that someone truly passionate gets that second seat, and not just some random person on the internet looking for a discounted second seat in the cabin.

So in the unlikely event this gets funded, I have a couple of ideas:

  • We’ll hold some sort of a contest on the blog for the second seat, where you can submit a creative entry which will be voted on
  • We’ll do something involving charity

I’m totally open to ideas here, though I’d still be in shock if this project actually gets funded.

Bottom line

I’m having a lot of fun with this so far.

I’m equally happy whether this gets funded or doesn’t get funded.

I’m equally happy whether you contribute or don’t contribute.

I’m equally happy whether you think this is a good idea or a horrible idea (though ideally you see where I’m coming from, my intent, and that I’m not an entitled jerk).

I’m not going to tell people how to spend their money, though please do donate to charity rather than donating to this project, if that’s what you’re deciding between.

And at the same time I can promise I’ll do everything in my power to make this as interesting for you guys as possible, if it gets funded, since one of you will be joining me.

So thanks for the feedback, and keep it coming! The past 24 hours have been incredibly overwhelming and exciting.

Comments

  1. I appreciate this post, and I think you really “get” the frivolity of it all. Unlike, say, TPG, who at times I find either defensive or oblivious to how unrealistic his lifestyle is compared to the average Joe (speaking, as a Joe).

  2. Great post. I was a little worried you might bag the whole thing based on the comments, and am happy you won’t.

    I can’t wait to read the review. Espceially knowing there won’t be a picture of a guy in the cabin without his shirt on. 🙂

  3. Besides, I remember when I was your age and a young entrepreneur and I’m now 10 years older. You’ve got the magic to do other things and I think you have a bright future. This blog is just the starting point.

  4. Am I crazy, or does 20,000$ seem not bad for two people? Don’t other airlines charge upwards of 7-10 per person for longhaul F?

  5. Hilarious and sad that they think donating to Komen is a better use of money. Oy. They might as well light it on fire.

    I’m leaning towards not donating, but the haters are giving me the contrarian desire to donate just to piss them off. 😉 If you get really close, I’ll probably pitch in to push you over the top.

  6. It seems you let some $&@() browbeat you into trumpeting charitable giving. I don’t think it’s reasonable to think there are readers saying, “I think I’ll give Ben my money instead of my favorite charity.” Give us a little more credit.

  7. I find this post and your whole attitude (“Oh Gee, this is really out of character”) a bit disingenuous and off-putting. If you really felt that strongly, why did you even set it up in the first place? And to top it off by saying you are doing the whole thing for the benefit of your readers – I am sorry but I definitely dont buy any of it. Good luck in this endeavor, but as a long-time loyal fan, I just find this whole exercise very distasteful.

  8. Anyone who’s actually read the blog isn’t upset by what you intended to do. We know you aren’t compelling anyone to pay, not badgering for donations, not looking to replace charity, and don’t hide reviews behind paywalls.

    Those of us who support you are even happier to see this pivot to add a chance to experience with you and to support charity.

    Keep it up!

  9. Guys, this is plain and simple. If you like the idea you donate if you don’t like it, skip this. Nobody is forcing you to put money for this. I also think it is a little selfish but then again nobody is forcing me to contribute. I’d like to read the review so if it gets funded, good for Ben.
    Good luck!

  10. Longtime reader who has always enjoyed your writing, advice, sense of humor but never felt compelled to leave a comment until now. You’re doing this for your readers – that couldn’t be any clearer to a long-time reader.

    People leaving judgmental and self-righteous comments don’t get the premise of your blog. It’s a lifestyle blog. It’s entertainment. How can you indulge in these values (luxury, travel, lifestyle) and critique them in the same breath?

    This is not an eleemosynary enterprise, people. Great and thoughtful post, Lucky.

  11. And this post further explains your true colors. Selfish and juvenile. No matter what experience you have, nothing can break the fact that you’re a. 25 year old kid. Smh.

  12. does Leslie still work at AA? or was today her last day and now she’ll spend more time with friends and family?

  13. WOW. For 500 bucks. I can have a whole MEAL with the great Ben Lucky! I don’t have 500 dollars right now but am seriously about taking out one of those payday loans from quicken loans or something to meet you. Cool idea!

  14. @ sean — Yep, this is possibly the most expensive premium cabin product in the world. That’s because it isn’t first class but rather a three room suite. The first class product is in line with the cost of other first class products. But that’s what makes this so unique.

  15. If people are not happy with Lucky’s project, they can just report it on Kickstarter since it violates multiples rules on their site. Why whine about it and make a big fuzz (traffic and buzz from which he benefits)?

  16. @sean: I had the same thought but here it is $20k for 2 people ONE WAY. I quoted the same flight on Ethiad for 2 people on first class and still it is half of the cost of Residences.

  17. The idea itself is embarrassing enough. Trying to justify with this fluff takes it to a whole new level.

  18. OK, OK, if you insist… I’ll help you out and volunteer as the second passenger. No snuggling though.

  19. While cleaver, this is nothing short of tacky. You make enough an money off of your page views, credit card sign up bonuses, and kickbacks ghat you need to set up donations so you can review a product that 99.99999% of your readers will never fly? Why not just go and review their new regular product? And I loved the part about you saying that you don’t like to ask for things — am sure a founding airline in OW would like to comment on that one. And $5 says you will promote each day how you really don’t want
    People to donate. Once a great man has done something so stupid as this. Shame.

  20. Please stop couching an apology within a long post. Who cares what that stupid AA spokesperson said. Just blog and let the haters hate.
    And someone earlier mentioned that you just just raffle the award with the stipulation that the ride is work, not play, and it must be blogged in minute detail.

  21. Lucky, I still do not understand what the extra $5K is for if the ticket only costs $20K…oh i get it, its to “cover all expenses” for the “lucky” traveler that will ride with you in this endeavor.

    I can only wish you all the best since you are entitled to do as you wish but at least for the sake of your loyal readers, please be transparent about your funding other than saying “how totally f*cking ridiculous” it is.

  22. I don’t understand why people are having such a hard time with this. Kickstarter is not a charity, and the money going towards projects are NOT charitable contributions.

    Onemileatatime is a business, or at the very least an entertainment outlet similar to a magazine or movie. What lucky is trying to do is create content for his readers, just like a movie director creates content for their viewers. If providing funding for content creation is as immoral as most of these commenters say it is, then every single movie kickstarter project should be chastised as this one is.

    We have enjoyed his posts for absolutely nothing for the past 5 years, so I see nothing wrong with pitching something in for a decent review.

  23. I already give you 500+ every few months when I use your links to apply for 4-5 credit cards. This will stop now.

    This is a business expense, use your business revenue to fund it. If you think spending your business capital to fund this business expense is “totally f*cking ridiculous”, then dont ask your readers to pony up the cost. Totally tacky and low of you.

  24. With all the publicity this has generated, why don’t you try and cut a deal with Etihad? Like, if you reach your funding target and buy a ticket, they will then contribute 50% of that ticket price to charity. That would be a better outcome than taking along a random reader for a joyride. $12500 goes a very, very long way in some parts of the world.

  25. @ jettyboy — And I can totally see how you feel that way, and I even struggled about whether to do this or not. In the end the reason I decided to do this is because I wanted to let the readers decide. I’m sure you can agree I’m not doing a high pressure sales pitch here. I’m just leaving it open ended. And based on the response so far (and the results), I think it’s clear it’s something that would interest many.

    Some are happy to contribute money, and at the end of the day I think they can do with their money what they want. If I started this campaign and a day later there were no contributions I’d agree with you that the answer is clear and that it shouldn’t have happened.

    But the results so far suggest otherwise…

  26. Additionally,

    As someone else hit the nail on this drama.

    >
    People are free to do as they wish with their money, but IMO, this just doesn’t smell right.

    The fact is you are now running a business. You do trip reports, you try different products, you go on every A380, not simply to entertain us, but because ultimately it brings you revenue, and allows you to live your lifestyle as you do.

    Therefore, paying for this trip should be another business decision. If it will drive more traffic to the site, and greater revenue to you, then it is worth it. If you’ve made the business decision that it is not worth paying for, it just seems unsavory to ask your readers to pay for it.

    My $.02; obviously others are free to feel differently.
    >

  27. I would like to know Leslie’s outrage re “Effective 2/18/14, American Airlines will no longer provide emergency or bereavement fares”. This obviously affects infinitely more people in a time of dire personal need, with no options, vs a lighthearted blog post of voluntary participation.
    If AA spokespeople are free to post personal views of AA customers, they should likewise offer personal views of AA policies.

  28. @ Geoff — And that’s why I’m bringing a second person along. I promised I would write a review, if I give away both seats I’m violating that.

    And writing a trip report is an “art” as well. I have the experience of having written hundreds of these, and I cringe when I go back and look at the trip reports I wrote five years ago. Someone writing their first trip report can’t deliver the same type of review, in my experience.

  29. @Airjus,

    Maybe you should try to find out what credit card referrals give bloggers….maybe then you will change your mind.

    To everyone who says “we dont pay anything and get free content”, THAT IS NOT TRUE. He gets paid well for his cc links and such and this way you are already paying him for his content. Now you want to pay for his flights too?

    I will say this again, please re-name your blog to “one panhandle at a time”

  30. @ John — And I’ll be completely transparent, as I said in the last post. The ticket cost is $21,000, Kickstarter takes a 5% cut, Amazon Payments takes a 3% cut, and there are a certain percent of contributions that don’t go through. This will still cost me quite a bit out of pocket, and I’ll share a full breakdown of the costs if it all happens.

  31. @ Riposte — I love that idea, I’ll likely reach out to the Etihad PR team if this gets funded. Thanks for the idea.

  32. @ Kryton — And I’ll state very clearly that I wouldn’t get ANYWHERE close to a $20K “return” on this in terms of the material I’d get out of the flight. Which is why I’m doing this. I don’t mind not reviewing the product, but if enough people want to chip in for the experience and I take a lucky reader along, seems like a win/win. The beauty of this is that no one has to contribute and no one is being pressured — everyone has total free will here.

  33. Sad no one sees this for it’s true purpose. A ridiculous publicity stunt to drive people to the blog that will richly reward him with ad revenue beyond the 20k he’s asking for…

  34. @lucky – Fair enough and thanks for being transparent about it. I am still a fan of your blog and I am certain this will all happen whether I like it or not.

    On a lighter note, please make sure to document in detail with pictures of labels on the various beddings and such provided. This is help to know if the Residence is cheaping out on the bed sheets/comforter materials or not. Thanks and although donating to Susan G Komen was considered a worthy charity, you might as well “burn the money” as another reader suggested.

  35. I think you should donate any miles earned somehow and at least throw in 1-2K of your own money. That’s a fair price for a ticket. otherwise I am in for 5.00

  36. My suggestion if it gets to that level is that you go to Make a Wish foundation and take a family on their dream trip. I would contribute to both.

  37. I am seeing 400% mileage accrual on this route the fare. Is it higher by any means for the Residence?

  38. I was one of the initial supporters of the kickstarter campaign. I will be chipping in for two reasons:
    1) the pure entertainment value of the review
    2) I want the chance to be the lucky guest.
    I’m never again going to have the opportunity to fly like this and I want to have this chance! A brief trip to London (perhaps having enough time to enjoy dinner at Helene Darroze at the Connaught), flying Etihad First, checking out Abu Dhabi…hell yes! I want this to happen and I want the chance to enjoy it firsthand.

    Having said this I do feel squeamish at the idea of giving the Abu Dhabi government $20,000. And yes my selfish desire for potential enjoyment has trumped my political conscious. If this campaign succeeds I will save up to make a contribution to an organization that champions gay rights worldwide.

  39. @ antignos — Trust me, it’s my intention to do giveaways for just about everything I can. Putting more thought into how to do that now, but as I’m sure you can imagine didn’t expect this to all get so “busy.” 🙂

  40. I don’t understand the outrage. Lucky is by no means the first person to sell a luxury product review. Any trip to Barnes & Noble will reveal countless magazines available for purchase which are devoted to the review of luxury products. Would anyone rationally claim “That magazine shouldn’t be offered for sale because it could be devoted to charity instead”? Would anyone rationally argue to a customer “You shouldn’t purchase that magazine because you could donate that $5 to a charity instead”?

  41. @John Just to make it clear, an end cost to readers and Lucky’s revenue stream is not the same. While Lucky may make money from ad clicks and credit card referrals, there is no cost for you or I to read the blog.

    For Lucky, the Etihad Residence is completely unattainable without some form of help. He is not being bankrolled by anyone and I doubt that he is making enough to fund this by himself. Kickstarter was established to meet the needs of content creators and entrepreneurs to raise funding and develop their content for their viewers/customers.

  42. Ben: I’m totally behind you on this one…your loyal readers to to your blog for information and entertainment, and part of the fun is to hear your take on travel we’ll likely never experience! Go for it and ignore all the negatives and downers!

  43. So what’s the difference if Lucky takes out a $20K loan and then sells the report for a few dollars to recoup the investment? We normally call that business.

  44. @lucky I thought the idea was entertaining. No more no less. Good luck if it works. Not sure why people care so much.

  45. While I don’t watch Real Housewives, I suspect the drama in the responses to Lucky’s proposal kind of tells me what I’m missing. 😉

    Almost at $10K so far. Woohoo!

  46. I think this is hilarious. I think it’s ridiculous that you thought of it, but at the same time awesome that you actually did it. I do think you should use business funds for it, but like the saying goes, “a fool and his money” and if you can get other people to pay for it….why not.

    Although with your math…if you fund the $25,000 thats $1,250 for the 5% kickstarter fee and $750 for the 3% amazon…leaving you with $23,000 still $2,000 more than the ticket cost, so not sure how you will be out of pocket a lot…..either way, whatever, i look forward to reading the review that none of your readers will ever fly in…..and i wish I had thought of it myself!

  47. Since you can’t use miles for a residence ticket and you are feeling a little uneasy about using kickstarter, why don’t you donate the equivalent amount of miles you think it would take for a residence ticket (if it were allowed) to charity and go ahead with the kickstarter project? Sounds like an apples to apples trade to me.

  48. I love this idea and support you Lucky. However, I do hope that when you fly Etihad A380 Residence, the EY folks will treat you just like any other Residence passenger. That’s what makes your reviews so good. By contacting the EY PR team, it may compromise the integrity of your review. Either way, I’m looking forward to reading about your review!

  49. In addition — can you please write a blog post that it IS possible to redeem Etihad A380 Residence through miles — though it will cost 2.3 million! I keep reading comments that it’s not possible through miles but it is! Just login Etihad Guest account and you’ll see it there. It’s 2.3 million miles + 80AED.

  50. @Airjus,
    “For Lucky, the Etihad Residence is completely unattainable without some form of help.” Please provide proof. It’s only 100 Chase affiliate clicks away.

  51. I am laughing my head off at the negative comments here, especially the ones claiming this is somehow unethical (?!) or immature. I’m guessing these folks don’t get the mechanics of capitalism that well either.

  52. @Airjus,
    “For Lucky, the Etihad Residence is completely unattainable without some form of help.”

    LOL, you must be his accountant.

  53. Hey, here’s a crazy idea. This blog is your business. You make money off of it. In order to make that money, you need content to attract readership. It’s only fair when the creation of that content is not free. It’s also known as either business expense or investment – in a grown-up world.

    What’s next? Funding positioning flights in G650? It must be depressing to live from handout to handout…

  54. But… this isn’t entertainment. We’re paying for you to go on a trip which you will in turn write about and then make a profit from said article. This makes 0 sense.

  55. Thanks for this thoughtful followup post, Lucky. I for one am already looking forward to your trip report.

  56. Funny how the people that have the worst to say usually say it over and over and over . . . if they ‘really’ hated this, we’d never hear from them again, instead, they stick around and linger . . .

    I think the whole thing is a lark and have already contributed. If you are reading and commenting on all of this, you are most likely reading to figure out how to fly int’l first on the cheap in the first place, so reacting with some sort of ‘outrage’ is ridiculous.

    Regarding charities – some are good, some are great, and others are nothing more than money-making scams giving less than 10% of what they earn towards the ‘charity’ they support.

    If you think Lucky sucks, is a cheapskate panhandler, or has other nefarious intentions, feel free to stop reading now and go away forever . . . however, I get the feeling we’ll be hearing from the same haters again and again and again . . . who’s more narcissistic now?

  57. @ j midtowner — My ad revenue in that post won’t in a million years be anywhere close to $20K for a single trip report. People pay for magazines and for cable TV, even though it has ads and commercials.

  58. For those who are saying they’re donating so they can read the review…they’re be a bunch of reviews on flyertalk, of which all would be free.

  59. I wasn’t gonna contribute yesterday (Not because I am against the idea…I don’t care either way, but because I’m too lazy to find my kickstarter ID and reset my password)…

    …but after all the haters and their replies, no the least the AA rep that publicly blasted you on Twitter, I got off my ass and chipped in.

    F the haters. Enjoy the flight. Looking forward to the review.

  60. Lucky,

    This isn’t about one report. This is about increasing readership and therefore a long term increase in revenue/profit.

    I’m arguing against the fundamentals of this “project” and equating it to McDonalds making consumers buy the beef for their hamburger and then have to buy the sandwich in addition. Your counter would be to say that you don’t make us pay for the articles but intrinsically we do since we click ads and sign up for credit cards via your links.

  61. @ j midtowner — And I agree about content contributing to overall long term readership, and that’s why I take tons of trips exclusively to generate content for the blog. I crunch the numbers and it has to make sense, though. I have plenty of readers and generate plenty of content.

    I’ve crunched the numbers and realize it would be a very bad business decision to outright purchase the ticket just to be able to review it. So then we’re left with no review.

    And that’s totally fine, but that’s the point of the campaign. If people really want to read it and chip in, I’ll gladly do it, bring a reader along, and do what I can to make it entertaining.

    I’m not changing business models here because fundamentally I agree with you. This is a one time thing.

  62. Let’s put this in context: We have received good information/entertainment for many years for FREE. This is the first time Lucky does this for a special flight.

    This is Lucky’s blog, not yours. If you don’t like it here, just go. There are plenty of blogs you can go to.

    But if you complained, and then come to read the trip report [for FREE], then you are a hypocrite.

  63. Lucky,

    Fair enough. I truly hope you enjoy your trip and am jealous you get to call this a career :).

  64. I’ve gotten a lot of entertainment value out of Lucky over many years (even had the chance to meet him in SF over dinner with his favorite Singapore flight attendant). I might question motive of some other bloggers, but I don’t question his motive on this one. If the funding gets close, I’ll probably chip in $10 or $20 to send him over the top. I’ve already gotten that much entertainment value out of the twitter and blog comments debating this entire debacle!

  65. I saw this other comment i’d like to see answered

    ““I sure as hell can’t” (afford this) is an absolute bold faced lie. If you want to be accurate, it would read: I could, reluctantly, afford this, and could conceivably make it a decent business investment in the process with generated interest and tax deductions.. but why would I want to pay for this myself If I can get you all to do it for me.
    You’ve been honest about many things here, but I don’t think you’re honest about this.
    Do you want to go on record as saying there is absolutely no way you could afford this?”

  66. Just my two cents as a long time reader of the blog. I have nothing against the kick starter campaign and am frankly befuddled as to what motivates others to be so up in arms about it, esp the AA spokeslady. Given she lists herself as an “av geek” on twitter, my hunch is jealousy- you are living out the dream, while working for the man is the best she can do.

    That said, I’m not contributing to the campaign. I just don’t put any value on reviews of products I am certain I will never fly on my own volition. Half the fun of the review for me is reading about the redemption process, value you got out of pts, etc. Likewise, first class itself is frankly of little interest to me; I’m after the feeling of success when I am able to arbitrage points for a premium cabin I wouldn’t otherwise pay for.

    Keep up the good work dude.

  67. @ j midtowner No we don’t pay for anything when we click ads, advertisers do. Lucky does benefit from that, so does the rest of the websites.

    Did money come out of your pocket? NO. So don’t make us thing you are giving Lucky any money.

    CC referrals you say? Does it cost you more to use Lucky’s links? No, right? He gets money, yes, but not from you.

  68. @ Mel — So if my total cash assets are $25,000 and that’s what this trip costs, should I be saying I can “afford” that? Not sure I really follow…

  69. Something to consider for those who compare this to donating to charity:

    1) Charities are not all created equal. There are actually quite a few popular charities that I hold a moral objection to. So, even if you donate $10 to a certain charity today, some reader on this blog can potentially scold you and say, “you should have given that to xxx instead.”

    2) Donations to charities are not 100% used for the cause. This depends on how well a organization is run, but some of the big ones out there spend more than half of your donation on the “overhead”, i.e. paying its CEO and staff, throwing extravagant fundraising parties, etc. On the other hand, Lucky’s project is only going to be partially paid for by this Kickstarter campaign (he receives no compensation for his time to travel and to write the review, has to fund his meals and lodging and flight back, etc). So those of you who contributed will be guaranteed to see 100% of your funds go toward this cause that you support, and see great transparency in how they get used.

    Neither of these is meant to encourage anyone to opt for this over charity, but just offering some perspective from someone who is generally skeptical about charities.

  70. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts after reading and processing some of the comments. What struck me was that your audience must be huge to have raised so much so fast. After seeing how successful this ‘entertainment’ fundraiser has been, I wonder how successful you could be raising money for charities you support. Good luck with this one!

  71. I’m donating $5. I really am amazed that people have a problem with this idea. I mean people ask for donations ALL THE TIME for non-charitable purposes that may or may not be of interest to everyone. I gave $20 so an Olympic athlete could go to Sochi. I don’t give a rats behind about some things, but that was kind of cool. It was NOT a charitable cause, and many people could care less about some young woman doing speedskating.

    To each his own. So, people, get off the freakin’ moral high horses. Let Lucky ask for a donation. How in God’s name is that any worse than giving to the biggest charitable racket of all time: organized religion. 😉

  72. Disagreement on this issue doesn’t make those who disagree “haters”. I vehemently disagree with the concept, the fundraising, the ethics, and the overall tone of this “project”, but there’s nothing about my disagreement that “hates”.

    I do wonder, though: what do Lucky’s parents think?

  73. Oh Lucky….this idea is so ridiculous and there are much better ways to spend money!!

    It’s one thing coming up with this Kickstarter, but it’s great you’re going through with it. I was afraid you were going to back out after reading some of the comments in yesterday’s blog post.

    Oh, and if I don’t get the 2nd seat (promise I’ll leave you all the bubbly), I guess I can settle for an Abu Dhabi postcard (of Ferrari world :D)

  74. Lucky — One issue I’m not sure you’ve thought about yet, but might wish to be transparent about is the value of flying a high-revenue paid segment using other people’s money. I don’t know the best way to credit a $20,000 residences segment on Etihad, but I assume you are not going to neglect to put your frequent flier number in the reservation. How you earn miles, and what they go toward, is your business. But this is minor suggestion given that you seem to be trying to gauge the atmospherics of all this.

  75. Don’t try to be above it by saying you’re not asking people to send money. You created the KS fund, you’re asking for the money! Man up and say it!

    And, why review something that nobody who reads your blog would ever buy? Ridiculous waste of money that could be used for much better purposes.

  76. People also need to stop speculating how Lucky “could” afford this plane ticket on his own. Being able to afford something is a very complex and personal decision beyond a bank account balance. Is it a “lie” when I say I can’t afford a $35 burger for lunch? Sure I (may) have more than that in my wallet but the other aspects of my financial interests simply prohibit it.

  77. “So if my total cash assets are $25,000 and that’s what this trip costs, should I be saying I can “afford” that? Not sure I really follow…”

    Well, you simply dismissed that it was possible you could afford it. It’s not fair to say if you have that much in the bank, you could, but i’d say if it would be a very extravagant expenditure, but ultimately workable without major lifestyle changes, it would be feasible.

    I think there is a point higher than most think for a return on this business investment, which is another reason why $25,000 aim seems excessive.

    With all the talk of ‘price of movie ticket’ and entertainment framing- which is FINE and accurate, people forget where this money is ultimately going- the UAE government! I’m not saying don’t do it, but ‘donating’ money to oppressive governments should be more applicable to this discussion than it is. There is a reason why the Beverly Hills Hotel is in the news!

  78. “Is it a “lie” when I say I can’t afford a $35 burger for lunch? Sure I (may) have more than that in my wallet but the other aspects of my financial interests simply prohibit it.”

    Are you asking others to buy this burger for you?

  79. When I first read about the Ethiad suites, I was sad as I know I can never fly that.

    When you came out with the kickstarter campaign, I was a bit excited, b/c if it goes through, I can at least experience the suite vicariously through you.

    I read your blog for information/entertainment purpose and not all your hotel reviews/trip reports are applicable to me and my life. Certain trips, I just cannot make it happen given my current vacation times other priorities in life. But I still enjoy reading them b/c I am living vicariously through you. I think ‘Hmm, one day I may try this hotel/visit this place.’

    If you had fund the Ethiad trip yourself, people will be upset that you ‘made enough money’ from this blog to pay for that ticket. You ask for readers that ARE interested in reading this trip report to contribute to Kickstarter, people got upset that you ‘asked your readers to pay for it’. Its a business expense that you can write off, and start speculating how much you make from this blog.

    I can proudly say, I don’t contribute much to you and your blog. I don’t use your CC links so you don’t get any referral points. And its a conscious decision my my part, I don’t feel like giving you the referral credits (or any bloggers), plain and simple.

    I also don’t hold it against you that me visiting your blog is generating you ad revenues etc, that cannot be helped. If i want to read your blog, your content, I must come to your site.

    So, it perplexes me why those people get so angry. No one forced them to come read your blog, to use your CC links, but they get so angry if others do and you make a living out of it…

    Then I ask myself, if Lucky stopped writing b/c all these people are just so angry, would that make them happy? I don’t think it will, they will just get mad at other bloggers, so then if all bloggers, may that be travel bloggers or beauty bloggers (i am an avid beauty blog follower as well) were to disappear, will that make them happy? And my answer is still no….

    I personally believe the travel/beauty bloggers reviews are a tad bit more objective then say a magazine or ad…. That is the beauty of the internet and this relatively new medium of blogging….

    my conclusion to why those ‘haters’ or people get so upset, is that they are jealous. Jealous that you get are 24, you get to live the life you live and they don’t…..

    the jealous nature of people are just so sad.

  80. The future review of Etihad Residences(and the contents of his blog) will be worth the amount of money I contribute to the Kickstarter campaign. So, that is why I am contributing.

    People should not view this as a charity or some noble cause to contribute to. This is not a donation, this is payment for a service I will be receiving; and it is totally worth it.

    I look forward to Lucky’s trip on Etihad Residences!

  81. This is the good ‘ol US of A. We can choose what to do with our money. This hits at the core concept of freedom and what it means to be American. Thanks for your post and boys does it feel great to be in the miles/points game.

  82. IMO giving the second seat to “someone truly passionate” by having a creative entry competition that gets voted on favors/rewards those with more time to make a creative entry over those who don’t but may me equally passionate and/or interested. Some of us are too busy to create 10 internet memes as a submission, so I think the busier people are penalized in such a format. Maybe you can think of some sort of contest/giveaway format that is more equitable but also isn’t completely random. I know I won’t have the time to submit a winning “creative” entry but I’m just as interested in tagging along as everyone else here, and I have to believe I’m not the only one who feels this way.

  83. Besides the hate or deification comments:
    If you do go, you should ask your readers exactly what kind of things they would like to know about this product. As they have funded your trip, keep a list of all their questions and make a seperate post with answers. I choose not to make a pledge, as this product doesn’t do anything to me because i’m a devoted *alliance F-flyer

  84. @ Lucky – while I’d love to join you as much as anyone else, any thought to perhaps using this to facilitate your own version of BA’s “Visit Mum” campaign, i.e. by taking along someone who can’t afford to visit his/her family? The most basic example would be someone whose significant other is stationed in the Middle East but I am sure there are a ton of other valid examples.

    A trip for a sake of a trip is cool and all, but if there’s a greater purpose/meaning behind it, even better 😀

  85. @Lucky – You had every right to the Kickstart, etc. And I’m fine with people giving (even though I won’t). The only part that really bothers me is if something happens with Leslie. Last I heard people can speak thier mind (even they do work for AA).

    I think the only real “haters” are those that want Leslie’s head on a platter. Everybody else is just talking – and that’s OK.

  86. Lucky,

    I wish you nothing but the best with this venture and hope you will pull it off. (I’ll be contributing as your blog is a great investment in my time and I’ve profited from it with great deals and info.)

    I too, second @IvanY’s suggestion of a Visit Mum type campaign for the second ticket. Could be really cool to review a product that is blatantly ridiculously expensive and, at the same time, provide someone with a life-affirming trip…

  87. Hi – I’ve seen a lot of people question your integrity over this.

    If this really is about the blog / bloggers – how about, you give both seats up for competition on the proviso that both winners (1) write and review the product and (2) post it on the blog.

    That way – (1) you keep your integrity when you say this really isn’t about you enjoying the experience, (2) you gain by the increased blog traffic those two reviews will generate, (3) your readers still gain from living vicariously through those reviews.

  88. @Lucky, love that you are doing this. Just one thing however, on your $500 reward, you might want to state that airfare is provided or not provided (depending on if you meant to include that) if you do not live in one of the cities for the backer’s meeting. Other projects I’ve backed on Kickstarter that involve meeting the backers explicitly state whether or not travel arrangements are provided (usually they are not). Not sure if you want to make that clarification but wanted to bring it to your attention! Hope it gets funded, and maybe I can win that second seat!

  89. I am honestly split here – and no, don’t have time to read all the comments. I have enjoyed the blog for years and I appreciate Lucky’s “work” on the blog, but agree with some views that the whole “this is out of character” thing comes off as a little hollow. How about raising the money and then send a lucky reader, or couple of reader’s on the trip and have them write the report. That way Lucky can take credit for putting the idea into practice, but it doesn’t come off as asking for a handout to fund a lavish trip.

  90. Hey Lucky, why should the readers foot 100% of the cost of your flight. Clearly you can afford part of the trip. Why not donate the amount you can afford to pay to charity? Then you can make up for at least part of all the money your readers are wasting trying to live vicariously through your completely superficial and materialistic lifestyle.

  91. “completely superficial and materialistic lifestyle” lol that’s awesome. Get a life kiddo! You are worse than Obama

  92. @Seth – Why don’t you start a travel blog, build up a loyal reader base, and run the content the way you want?

    Oh right. Because it’s easier to bitch and moan about this one.

  93. @Tom (80.)”To each his own. So, people, get off the freakin’ moral high horses. Let Lucky ask for a donation. How in God’s name is that any worse than giving to the biggest charitable racket of all time: organized religion.”

    Could not agree more!!

    @Hayden (40.): “Sad no one sees this for it’s true purpose. A ridiculous publicity stunt to drive people to the blog that will richly reward him with ad revenue beyond the 20k he’s asking for…”

    And what exactly is wrong with that?

    Ben, it is a brilliant idea. I applaud you for having the guts to actually do this. Because you sure knew it would be controversial and thus risky. I hope the publicity will take your blog to the next level.
    People who envy your lifestyle and talk about how it is not sustainable fail to see that you are a very gifted writer. And there is always a market for that.

  94. In addition to donating double the miles (American in this case) required for first class to charity, you could pitch in with the amount of money yourself which you think makes a good business decision for this kickstarter campaign. In my view, it could be 5000$.

  95. @MEOW- Thanks for your insightful comments.

    @Erndog- Comment #37 doesn’t answer anything, in fact it sort of makes things sound worse. Not only does Lucky want us to pay for his ticket, he wants us to cover the transactions costs. Whatever he pays out of pocket pales in comparison to the value of what he is receiving.

    @Neil S.- Yeah I love to bitch and moan about how all of you would rather send someone on a luxurious trip rather than help those in need. Here is an idea, rather than live vicariously through a blogger and dream of travelling the world for your own personal gain, why don’t you go out and help someone other than yourself. Its a lot easier to criticize others than to do something productive with your own life.

  96. Serious question: What if Emirates beats Ethiad to market with its copycat product (also announced this week)? Are you then going to review the “second multi-room suite ever introduced on a commerical airplane”?

  97. I’m guessing in the long run you’ll lose more than you gained via lost cc referrals. This post still showed your selfishness- no attempt to donate to charity or pay for part of it yourself.

    Have you ever given, instead of constantly taken?

  98. Waiting for Ben to start his kickstarter fund for you guys to pay for his ticket on Etihad’s 9 BR suite.

  99. How about donating the tickets to a worthy cause? Like a soldier or his family? A cancer victim, the Make a Wish foundation, etc etc? Let the lucky (pun intended) winner take the photos and write the review!

  100. Lucky- I donated and obviously have no problem with this effort, but I hope all this brouhaha doesn’t dominate your attention for too long. I’m guessing you’re spending almost 100% of your time today dealing with these comments, which is time you’re not spending writing blog posts. I for one hope this thing gets funded, and that we can return to our “regularly scheduled programming” soon.

  101. @jp- that’s the best idea I’ve heard. If Lucky was ‘truly doing this for us’, he would give the ticket away. He is 100% doing this for himself.

    Lucky, I’m about to do another churn and will skip 4 of your links because of this.

  102. Hi Lantean

    Quite possiblly. There are 8 backers for $500 pledge. There were 9 earlier today.

  103. @tyler– agreed! We in this miles earning hobby truly have 1st world problems.

    It doesn’t have to be “instead of charity”, it could BE charity! Win Win! Why not make this a fun chance to give back–
    Why not make it a dream come true for someone in need? GIVE THE TICKETS AWAY TO CHARITY!

  104. lucky said,
    “I’ll be completely transparent…I’ll share a full breakdown of the costs”
    _____

    Could you start by being completely transparent as to how much you make off of each credit card link you put in your posts? That transparency would be much appreciated.

  105. Lucky, I will be contributing $20 to your effort to raise close to $21K. A suggestion, please do not end the campaign by the end of May. Keep it going till the money is raised. Lucky , I think your blog and thepointsguy.com are the best blogs out there. Yours is both informative and incredibly timely. This is my small way of giving a little something back to you for the countless hours of helpful information that you provide on your blog daily. Much success to you in raising the funds!,

  106. Wouldn’t you need to pay taxes on the 25.000 USD income? And, if you let a reader go with you, wouldn’t he/she need to pay taxes on this benefit? Where I live, both would be taxable…

  107. Lucky – you have a serious addiction to live with the rich and famous.

    This idea originated in your mind and the “let’s support Ben” scam is just that. Didn’t you also plant “reader comments” on your blog last month urging us to make donations of 100 – 150K miles to your account? It was something like ” this is the least we can do to support Ben” BS. Be a man. You aren’t a kid anymore fresh out of college disovering the world. I wonder how much $ you have seeded on this kickstarter to make it look like we are eagerly donating!

    I will buy a ticket and take my wife for the longest Residence flight they offer in the first week and write a kickass review to be sure its seen by all.

    C’mon, full disclosure dude. How many of these “reader comments” are YOU falsely writing in support of yourself?

  108. Aww shucks…..this Really Really Really Really isn’t necessary.

    ( = you’re my motherfucking wallets now )

  109. You said yourself this would “revolutionize commercial air travel” .. which I completely disagree with. But there will inevitably be some product matching and competition from the likes of Emirates, etc. By your own logic, this will not be the end all and be all of super-premium products. What are you going to do then? Call it quits after this? Will you actually go on record to say you will not use these crowdfunding tactics again?

  110. @Virender

    If he accomplishes his goal this time, he has no reason not to use kickstarter again. Wouldn’t be surprised if he uses it to fund all his future travels.

  111. why don’t you hold a raffel for those who donate to a charity. The winner will get to come with you

  112. You never really addressed what you’re going to do if

    1) The project gets funded. Are you going to then pocket the 25K tax deduction, ( a cool $5K by my estimates in savings) from PointPros Inc [ that’s you, yes? ]

    2) You get comped. Does the money go back to your funders? Or do you get to keep the cash tax free

    3) You don’t meet your goal. Is the money then returned?

    All legitimatize questions for someone banned from a certain airline due to questionable practices to begin with.

    Blog readers : All of you are just, suckers.

  113. A lot of people have suggested Lucky to give up both seats to blog readers in order to “prove his innocence” of sorts.

    I would LOVE to be one of the lucky winners getting to fly. But again, people donated money to see their favorite blogger write this review. They will all be crying for a refund if I (or many of you) did it instead.

  114. For me, you’re giving up your reputation – to the haters, at least – just to let most of us enjoy a great review on EY’s A380. This is the bravest thing anyone can do. Curse the haters, “you must thank all those that said no to you because that is why you did it” (Einstein).

  115. I would love to see what you can come up with for the second seat. I am one of your younger readers (13 ) and an aircraft enthusiast. I like the creative post idea and would certainly post one. Who knows? Maybe I could go to Abu Dhabi. 🙂

  116. @Mike (#124) I brought up similar questions yesterday; here are the answers:
    1. Kickstarter 1099s its recipients, according to a commenter. So the cost is netted against the income on taxes. It’s not a tax deduction to be applied to other income. If you’re concerned about a 1099 being issued, you can always “whistleblow” to the IRS. Since this is being done so much in the open, I doubt this is a concern. But, trust or whistleblow.
    2. Since the Kickstarter income is 1099ed, there would be no offsetting deduction if he were “comped” and taxes would therefore be due. But it’s ludicrous to think he’d risk his entire livelihood by scamming the funders with a “comp”.
    3. Per the T&C on the Kickstarter page, if the goal isn’t met by the deadline, all bets are off. It’s only pledged until that point.

    Yes, all your questions are legitimate. I’m not in favor of this project nor am I donating. But I believe honest answers are due, so there you go.

  117. I like the idea of the “2nd seat” being auctioned as a separate charity event. Very similar to Buffet’s lunch auction.

  118. Was going to go in for $10, but made it $50 after seeing the hate being spewed here and elsewhere about this. Some people have way too much time to worry about what other people are doing with their money.

  119. @Seth, to me this is equivalent of purchasing a copy of a magazine. Could I forgo the $5 magazine and donate the proceeds to charity? I could, but I do not because I enjoy the content. I do donate to charitable causes but i’m not going to balance such contributions against everyday entertainment. In this case, I enjoy Lucky’s perspective on travel. I’ve benefited tremendously from his insightful opinions and reviews. You need to get a life, if you don’t want to support the cause, that’s fine, but move on and stop bitching.

  120. Mixing this with charity is the dumbest thing someone at AA could have done (and Boarding Area caving in with a donation to AA’s preferred charity is up there in the dumb things to do).

    I’ve helped couples pay for their honeymoon and I’ve just helped Ben with this trip; neither is charity.

    And, yes, if EY’s marketing/PR group is worth half a candle they’ll anonymously fill up the Kickstarter campaign to ensure the trip will take place.

  121. @hillrider

    Why would EY contribute to his kickstarter? The clientele they are targeting with their residence suite couldn’t care less about a review from a blogger.

  122. > FullMoon said,

    Could you start by being completely transparent as to how much you make off of each credit card link you put in your posts? That transparency would be much appreciated.

    Uhh, why?

    For the kickstarter, people are giving him money, so you can argue that transparency on how he spends that money is not out of place (but aboslutely not required. If you don’t like it, don’t give him money)

    The credit card referral links costs you, the reader, absolutely nothing. It does not impact you in the slightest. Why does it matter how much it makes? That’s like going to Baskin Robbins on free ice cream day, got a free cone, and demand they tell you how much money they make.

  123. Good luck and live the dream. You’ve got my vote and contribution. No need to justify your project to anyone.

  124. lol @ Seth. He was flaming Lucky on Gary’s blog too. Guy needs to chill out. I support you Lucky.

  125. Last year, someone called One Mile at a Time as the Victoria’s Secret in the travel blog world. I think this Etihad thing is just Like the VS event showing that bra covered with diamond. It is very expensive, no customer will buy it, but one model get to wear it. My 2c.

  126. I *ENJOY* aviation blogs and reading about products/services that I will never experience myself. Some people *ENJOY* expensive wine and will spend $300 on one bottle. I am willing to contribute a small amount to this kick starter campaign so I will be able to read, *ENJOY*, and learn from the blog/review of this product. Is it crazy to pay $300 for a bottle of wine? Is it crazy to pay $$ or a magazine, or newspaper?

  127. It’s exactly the reason I donated – because I’ll probably never get to experience it. I doubt that the Sheik that normally resides in the Residence would have the sense of humor or detail to blog about it – you know the saying… What happens in the Residence with your harem and personal butler stays at 40,000 feet 🙂

    All the haters are just pissed that they have to slog though the day at a job they hate – instead of doing something that they love and would do for free but get paid for!

    Ben – good luck on this and keep up the good work!

  128. @Mike: “All legitimatize questions for someone banned from a certain airline due to questionable practices to begin with.”

    Sounds like slander to me. I would contribute to a kickstarter campaign to help fund a lawsuit.

  129. My bad, as it is written, it is libel. End result remains the same. It is cowardly to attack people behind the veil of anonymity.

  130. I don’t care about the morality part of this, but I want lucky to chip in his own funds too… If u want others to kick start, start by kick starting $2000 from your own wallet

    If the project is 100% funded by the people, the seats should belong entirely to the people too

  131. longtime reader, infrequent commenter. I have always enjoyed the blog, but this crosses a line. It doesn’t surprise me that this has stirred up a lot of negative comments. I agree with many of them. It also doesn’t surprise me that lucky is promoting this – the whole “I am not comfortable with this” thing rings hollow. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

    No shame to be found here!

  132. Despina — Way off topic here, but it’s not libel. Lucky is a public figure (at least w/r/t his blog) and thus libel would require actual malice. Mike’s statement doesn’t reach that standard. (It’s also vague: it could just as easily be read to state that Mike has been “banned from a certain airline”).

  133. Hey Lucky. In for $5. Sure this going to happen! Please include us Canadians in any traveling companion draws. I agree with Conway Park

  134. Look, I’m going to be honest, I do not like Lucky. If half of what I’ve heard about him is true he’s not the kind of person I want to be associated with. I also met him once and wasn’t impressed.

    That said, I see nothing wrong with what he’s doing here. Trust me, I’d love to jump on the bandwagon of hate and roll my eyes but on this one, I can’t. You don’t want to donate? Don’t. He’s not taking away money that would go to any other cause, he’s not saying “donate or I won’t do x” or “donate and I will do x”. He’s just asking. Carry on.

  135. I’m almost ready to contribute.

    But like others said, I would really want Lucky to pay for a JFK-HKG ticket in economy (ideally with UA), and review the product.

    That will balance our feelings. 🙂

  136. Hi Lucky, I am most likely one of your youngest readers (13). I am excited to see what you are going to do with that extra seat. I am hoping it will be a creative post type thing so that I can enter, and hey, maybe I will end up in a three bedroom suite flying at 40 000 feet :).

  137. This is awesome, Ben. Having been the brunt of massive social media hate campaigns myself, my hard-learned advice is:
    * remember what you value, and
    * remember what people who know you well know that you value. All the rest is hot air.

    The good thing about haters is they run very hot but very fast. Ride it out, don’t take the bait, and before you know it, they’ve moved on to the next shiny thing to get angry about, like a horde in Walking Dead.

    I’m frankly conflicted about the ethics of donating to this Kickstarter but not conflicted about the ethics of your launching it. It’s such a dumb-ass crazy plan (in the best of ways) that I can only admire your balls in actually proposing something so audacious. Good luck! Carpe diem.

  138. @Mike, clearly you don’t know how Kickstarter works. If the goal isn’t reached, the donors’ cards are never charged.

  139. Why not just bring JRL along? It’s clear that’s the path you’re headed down craving notoriety and infamy over all to become a quasi-celebrity. Why not just accelerate the process?

  140. A waste of money.

    You should instead wait to review it when it is available thru miles, or if you were invited by them to review the seat.

  141. @ Kirby A — That’s a great point! If it gets to that point, and you have ideas for a more equitable contest I’m all ears!

  142. I read your blog every day for about 4 years but i don’t support this. Also, it’s ironic that you say that you are open to all opinions but you complain when the AA person voices her opinion. I’m guessing the emperor has no clothes.

  143. @ Patricia — Appreciate that, and anticipate incurring quite a few expenses of my own on this trip regardless, including getting to Abu Dhabi and back from London, costs for the person joining met, etc.

  144. @MEOW- Your arguments would be a lot more persuasive if you stuck to actual logic rather than resorting to personal attacks. Then again those who have little to stand on often resort to attack the person they oppose not the ideas they oppose.

    @RT- Unlike many of the people here who disagree with my viewpoint I have not resorted to name calling and personal attacks. What I have done is present an argument. If any argument you disagree with is flaming then I think you need to be a little more tolerant of alternative viewpoints.

    The fact of the matter remains that what Lucky is asking for is completely different than paying for a magazine or going to a movie. Those of you making such claims are looking at things from a very different perspective. You are looking at things from your side of things rather than Lucky’s. Sure its the same as you paying for content, but what is bothering those of us who are upset with Lucky is the way he is running his so called business.

    Anyone with knowledge of business knows you have to spend money to make money. Businesses use their revenue, seek investment, or get loans to produce a product and then sell that product to recoup costs and hopefully make a profit. Lucky has repeatedly stated that spending money on the Residence is something he either does not want to spend his own money or does not have the money to spend on it. So instead of getting a loan or seeking investors like a normal business he is asking for a handout. If Lucky believed that flying this product was truly necessary for his business and would make his business better he would find a way to get the money. Instead Lucky is just asking his readers for a handout. This could be interpreted 2 ways. EIther Lucky thinks his readers are naive enough to basically give his business money for almost nothing in return or this trip is just a personal whim for Lucky and he figures he might as well cloak it in the guise of a business venture. Either way it is a completely unethical way to run a business.

    I have to give Lucky credit. Absolutely no logical business person would ever invest in this scheme and no bank would ever make a loan for this venture. The trip report Lucky will write for this trip will have almost no effect on the revenues for this blog. Therefore it makes sense that Lucky does not want to spend his own money on this blog. Unfortunately, it seems like Lucky has stumbled on to some completely illogical universe where people are willing to give him money for what amounts to a personal whim.

  145. The fact that you keep posting about this clearly shows you want to succeed at raising the funds. It’s a touch indulgent.

  146. Lucky — Gary has revealed that you CAN redeem miles for the Residence (it just costs a lot of them . . . 2 million+ one-way). You may want to update this statement on your Kickstarter page, which is at a minimum misleading:

    “With only one ‘Residence’ per flight, this may very well be the first A380 premium cabin product for which you can’t redeem miles.”

  147. @Seth —

    With all due respects, please stop speaking in absolutes. You have zero knowledge of whether “The trip report Lucky will write for this trip will have almost no effect on the revenues for this blog.” The traffic for the site has obviously spiked since this gambit and Lucky has received national attendance because of it, creating more exposure which can lead to more revenue via page views through ads or through future click-throughs on CC’s.

    As for his right to do anything, I don’t get your point here. It’s his blog and he can run it anyway he sees fit. If you don’t like it, leave. His content is free for you to use or to ignore. By all accounts (and I know a few people he knows), he is an ethical person who tries to do right by most and is also running a business. Of course, he could be on the Lufthansa payroll for all I know, given how many times he keeps flying the same premium product over and over. But I don’t really care. He is a great diversion for many of us and has saved me personally miles and $$$ with advice. He also regularly answers tweets for help — for free!

    So I guess I’m saying, what’s it to ya?

  148. Great post. Nothing has changed the fact that I think you’re a good guy, and I appreciate your further thoughts on your perspective on this whole adventure. I hope you hit your goal! 🙂

  149. I was talking about unrelated things about the UAE with someone but something came up which made me think of this situation — say your contest winner for the 2nd seat is a male. Would Etihad allow two males to share a Residence suite? Certainly, 2 platonic individuals would be able to share a residences by switching between the 3 parts, but the UAE is not necessarily the most progressive government.

  150. Just happily pledged $10 to the Kickstarter. Your blog has kept me entertained and informed for the past 4 years. I often find myself impulsively opening your blog, checking constantly for new content.

    Just as I have contributed to Kickstarter campaigns for cool tech gadgets in the past, I would gladly contribute to your campaign to do something that will bring me entertainment and useful information.

    I don’t really understand the backlash against this. Maybe people don’t understand Kickstarter? It’s NOT a website where you fund charities. Many of the campaigns are purely fun/entertaining projects with no clear direct value to society at large.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. Haters gonna hate!

  151. I am sure I am just reiterating what others have said – but the only reason I can think of for someone getting so angry about Lucky’s project is jealousy.

    He isn’t hurting anyone or taking food off another’s plate with his “lark” of a project. I would understand the vitriol a bit more if Lucky came across as “I am entitled to an Etihad Residence seat”, but nothing I have seen remotely indicates that kind of attitude.

    Is it the best use of $25K? Who is to say, what is best – is all subjective. Certainly much better than the $15K umbrella stand and $6K shower curtain bought by a certain Tyco executive (Kozlowski) who used unauthorized company funds.

    I wish Lucky the best and unlike him (who doesn’t care if the Kickstarter gets funded) would like to see him funded. It would amuse me to 1) know that the vitriol spewing people have something to be even more annoyed about and 2) read his review.

  152. Ben, I’ve loved your blog for a long time but you’ve lost all respect and credibility with this stunt.

    Not only that but your refusal to even be direct and honest makes this even worse.

    You say in this post: “I’m not asking people to contribute”

    How can you say this and not feel awful about yourself?

    For crying out loud, your original blog post’s title was: “Who Wants To Pay For My Etihad Residence Ticket? No, Really”

    You clearly have some courage trying this stunt so I don’t understand why you don’t have the courage to at least be upfront and honest about what you’re dong.

  153. Additionally, the assertion that you won’t make $20k off this stunt is a bold faced lie or you don’t understand your own business.

    You’ve been getting free PR off popular sites like Forbes, Gizmodo, AOL, and many more. You’ll be getting natural search traffic off Google for years as people Google to find information about the Etihad Residence.

    With your credit card affiliate links alone, you get between $100 to $200 per sign up.

    Let’s be very conservative and say $100.

    At $100 a pop, you only need 200 credit card signs up to hit $20k revenue. And that doesn’t even mean you need 200 people. Many people sign up for 4 credit cards at once.

    You could need as a little as 50 people to get 4 cards each to make $20k.

    If the referral commission was $200, you’d only need 25 people to get 4 cards each.

    From the massive traffic you’re getting this week and the long term traffic you’ll get from the review, you’ll easy make $20k, likely much more off this whole stunt.

    To those funding this stunt,

    By funding this stunt, you’re not buying the equivalent of a movie ticket, you’re funding a marketing/business initiative(and a luxury joyride for Ben) whether Ben realizes that or not.

    This stunt and his inevitable review of the Residence is not a product you are buying because he’s going to publish the review for free. If he was selling a private report on the flight, that would be different and then it would be the equivalent of a movie ticket.

    This whole thing is a business venture that people are funding like investors except they aren’t getting any real return or ownership stake in his business.

    I work in content marketing and see this for what it is.

    Not saying Ben is doing anything illegal. This is America and people have a right to waste their money on these things if they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that what Ben is doing is highly unethical.

  154. My two cents:

    Simply put: this is market and demand 101. Lucky has hit on something and there are buyers out there, myself included. To all the naysayers – please, your sanctimonious concerns are exhausting. I very much appreciate the freedom to spend my hard earned money as I see fit. I and others like me are fully capable of assessing this for what it is and at our own discretion. Lucky – all you and your fans need to do is not respond to the vitriol. Those that are interested in this are not interested in that. Lastly, Lucky – good stuff!

  155. @Rich A

    Would a job in marketing pay US 10-20K a month to someone with Ben’s experience?

    If the answer is no then that would be a downgrade, something he doesn’t do.

  156. I don’t personally agree with the whole kickstarter campaign to fund a luxury flight for the purpose of a review (which most of your readers won’t ever try). It seems like a pretty indulgent endeavor to me, but that’s merely one gal’s opinion. Even though I disagree with that premise, it is your blog and I think you have every right to use it as you please. If it gets funded, good for you. If not, well, there you have it too.

    I enjoyed reading your blog over time (and have used your affiliate links), and I still think you’re still a good and thoughtful guy (with your second post). That said, I still maintain that I think this endeavor is pretty frivolous, but I’ll let the market speak for itself. Good luck.

  157. Yes, thanks for the correction! I see that you do spend money on your trips.
    Hey, here’s an even better idea for you – why not Kickstart money for a book!
    You could write a memoir about your travels.
    I for one would read it; you are a good writer and I enjoy your blog.

  158. The tally seems to be meeting resistance as it nears $12K. Maybe Etihad should match the donations from their publicity budget. 😉

  159. Glad you didn’t make. I hope the money goes to a better place(non profits)for a good cause!

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