Free Southwest Airlines tickets? Here they are

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By Christopher Elliott

If you’ve been waiting for me to give away those free Southwest Airlines tickets, your wait is over. It’s the last few days of your favorite consumer advocacy site’s spring fundraiser, and I’m ready to send tickets to a few lucky supporters.

Twice a year, we raise money from readers to pay the bills. We’ve almost met our goal. You can qualify for the ticket giveaway now by becoming an Elliott Advocacy supporter at any level.

But before I get to the details on those free Southwest Airlines tickets, I want to tell you about the last week in Advocacy Land. It was a crazy one.

The hacks continue

I thought I would spend most of last week talking about those free Southwest Airlines tickets. But the bad guys had other plans. On Wednesday, they broke into our Twitter account and posted a link to a site for hackers. It was an important reminder to change your passwords frequently.

Thanks to our eagle-eyed readers, we discovered the intrusion quickly and fixed it. But, in the meantime, the dark forces — do I sound paranoid when I call them “dark forces”? — sent another 700 toxic backlinks to our site. Toxic backlinks render us invisible online. We caught that quickly, too.

We also fixed that rogue email problem I mentioned last week. Remember the address that was within one letter of mine, and which sent an autoresponder referring visitors to another site? The guilty party identified itself, apologized, and agreed to forward the errant email address back to us.

It’s not working

If the criminals who are trying to stop the advocacy believe they are succeeding, I’ve got news for them: They’re not. Thanks to supporters like you, and to the advocates who work with me every day, their efforts have backfired. We’re bigger and more effective than ever.

Consider these numbers for June:

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✓ Our traffic surged. Page views jumped 16 percent to 859,383. Our number of sessions rose 26 percent to 500,490. We had 344,217 new users, up 35 percent.

✓ We received 594 consumer cases, a new record. That’s an increase of 63 percent from June 2017.

✓ Active newsletter subscribers rose to 22,419, an increase of 675 subscribers for the month.

The harder they try to close us down, the harder they fail. (Related: Here’s how to untangle an airfare and trip insurance mess.)

Will our fundraiser fail? Not if we’re giving away free Southwest Airlines tickets

There’s only one thing our enemies can gloat about: We haven’t reached our fundraising goal.

Things are in a little bit of disarray at our world headquarters in Prescott, Ariz. We received our 501(c)(3) status from the IRS so quickly that some of the back-office logistics, like setting up a bank account for the nonprofit, haven’t been worked out yet. There’s been a small delay in processing the donation checks, for which I apologize.

Stories like this make the opposition happy. They love seeing us stumble. They don’t want you to get the facts from a site whose only agenda is to help consumers. And they certainly don’t want a team of advocates helping their customers.

Well, I have a message for the criminals: You won’t succeed. We only have $3,944 to raise before we meet our goal, and with your help, I know we’ll make it.

So here’s the lowdown on those free Southwest Airlines tickets. We’re giving away four sets of roundtrip tickets this week, the most we’ve ever given away during a single fundraiser. They’re valid for up to a year anywhere Southwest Airlines flies. (Here’s how to fix your own consumer problem.)

Please help us make it through the final stretch. With your help, I know we can do it. Here’s how you can help the advocacy work and win the free Southwest Airlines tickets.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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