They want this site to disappear in 2018. Here’s what you should tell them.

They’re out to get us.

I know, because I see the “cease and desist” letters their law firms send us, demanding that we remove their executive contacts from our site. I read the hateful comments on their industry fan blogs. I also deal with their Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that temporarily knock us offline.

Their goal? To denigrate, discredit and dismantle the advocacy you depend on every day.

They don’t like our brand of common-sense advocacy or our emphasis on self-help. Their reasons range from a misguided belief that in a free market, stupid consumers deserve what they get, to purely selfish greed. A site like this is bad for their business.

I understand. But I refuse to give up.

On this, the second week of our winter fundraiser, I want to introduce you to a company that is equally tenacious. I met our friends at Bluffworks when I was researching a story about travel attire for the Washington Post. And when I say “tenacious” I mean the folks at Bluffworks never leave well enough alone. I’ve been following them since 2014, and they are constantly and obsessively improving their designs to make them better for travelers.

But by “tenacious” I also mean that their customer service philosophy is the same as ours, and it’s more than talk. They believe in offering a quality product at a fair price. Bluffworks has faithfully supported our last two fundraisers with product, and this one is no exception. The company is offering gift certificates for clothing as a giveaway to new underwriters this week.

Here’s how to qualify now.

You know what my response is to those who want to shut us down? Not just “no” — “hell no.”

To the companies that want me to remove the executive information from their site: Ever heard of the First Amendment? And even if my right to publish that information wasn’t protected, do you really want to hide from your own customers? What kind of message does that send to consumers? Do you want them to think you don’t care?

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To the industry fan blogs that try to take down this site, comment by comment, by twisting our advocates’ words and painting us as opponents of a free market, I would say: You couldn’t be more wrong.

Our vision of a free market is closely aligned to that of America’s founders, which sees thoughtful government regulation as a necessity. And our common-sense advocacy journalism speaks for itself, unless it’s cleverly taken out of context for nefarious purposes.

If that’s how you feel about consumer protection, now is the time to support this site. Here’s how become an underwriter.

And to the companies that pay Ukrainian and North Korean hackers to DDoS us, I would say: “You cowards!” Why don’t you step out of the shadows and instead of trying to take this site offline, spend that money helping your customers? Maybe invest in a few call center employees or pay for a lawyer to write a new, more customer-friendly warranty.

Enough with the games.

If you want to send this message to the people who are trying to shutter this site forever, you can do so by becoming a supporter of this site now. Your contribution sent through PayPal or by check will send a powerful and unambiguous answer to those who want to silence one of the last remaining voices for the consumer.

Please join your fellow underwriters now and tell them we’re staying right here in 2018. Tell them to get lost.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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