The shocking top 10 posts of 2012 — and a surprise or two from me

Digital Hand/Shutterstock
Digital Hand/Shutterstock

The most viewed stories of 2012 on this site? You’d be surprised.

I was.

(Speaking of surprises, I have one or two of my own. I’ll get to them in a minute.)

But first, the list:

1. Is this a scam? “US Airlines” is offering me two roundtrip airline tickets

Why I’m surprised: People are still falling for this nonsense? Yes, they are. And this one, too.

2. A VRBO phishing scam with an unhappy ending

Why I’m surprised: I should never have had to write this story, which is a follow-up post to one of my Washington Post investigations. I hope I never have to write about it again.

3. 5 things you should never say to a TSA screener

Why I’m surprised: I thought no one liked my TSA rants.

4. 5 times you should stand up to the TSA

Why I’m surprised: Again, I thought you hated these posts.

5. 5 fascinating facts about the new United Airlines

Why I’m surprised: Do I need to start including the number “5” in every headline now?

6. 3 reasons the terrorists are laughing at us now (thanks, TSA)

Why I’m surprised: On second thought, maybe it should be a “3”?

7. What TSA’s iPad theft problem means for your next flight

Why I’m surprised: Seriously? The TSA, again?

8. Kicked off my cruise for peeing near the pool

Why I’m surprised: This one actually didn’t surprise me. The headline should have said in the pool, though.

9. Oh no, not another VRBO phishing scam!

Why I’m surprised: Can’t they get their act together?

10. Is it time for airlines to take a stand on breast-feeding?

Why I’m surprised: That was quite a debate. Word of the day: breastapo.

I assumed that some of the more researched articles that I post to this site would have done well in 2012. But it was one-offs and rants that stole the show, and any headline with a number. I’ll try to remember that as I plan my editorial schedule for next year.

Even more surprises

If you’ve made it this far in the story, here’s the other surprise you were waiting for. There are several.

First, an apology to my regular readers. I’ve been in a dark mood since they canceled my Frommers column. I spent the last five weeks in “angry Christopher” mode, but those of you who know me also know that’s not who I normally am. I’m actually relatively mild-mannered.

I hope I haven’t offended too many of you. It wasn’t my intention.

You’re going to see a new look on this site starting today. We’ve been migrating to a new server and a new theme which will allow you to access to content on this site faster, and from any device. Also, I’m splitting my newsletter into two issues starting next week, if the server gods allow. The first, Elliott’s E-Mail, will continue to come to you every Tuesday morning. I’m moving all of the Away is Home content to a different newsletter, which will broadcast over the weekend.

I’m also overhauling my editorial schedule. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect:

Monday. My new column will be called So You Think You Know Travel? and its mission is to challenge conventions, slaughter sacred cows and bust myths about travel. I think you’ll really like it. It will be co-published by LinkedIn and the Huffington Post. The first column will appear Jan. 7.

Tuesday. Can This Trip Be Saved?, a completely unverified consumer problem in which I ask readers if I should mediate the case, moves to this day.

Wednesday I’m revamping my weekly TSA feature, expanding it to transportation safety and security issues and moving it to a new day. This column will also be co-published by LinkedIn, TSA News and the Huffington Post.I’m going to stick with my Q&A consumer column.

Thursday. My consumer Q&A moves here.

Friday. I have a rotating feature that asks, “Is this a scam?” or “Is this enough compensation?” that will be appearing on that day. This is one of my most popular features.

Saturday. My travel Q&A, the Travel Troubleshooter, moves to Saturday.

Sunday. This is where my Sunday Washington Post column appears. It will stay here.

You might be wondering — why have a schedule? Most of this site’s readers are unaware that there’s any structure to the site, which is fine. But the week has something of a narrative arc to it, moving from problems to solutions, which is reassuring on a subconscious level — at least it is to me.

So what, exactly, happened to the old Frommers column? Wasn’t it “in play”?

In fact, it was, and I had a number of interesting discussions with news outlets. But in the end I decided that I needed to write something that you wanted, as opposed to something that suited someone else’s editorial needs. (I’ll figure out how to make money from it later.)

Actually, I do have another bombshell announcement that I hope to make in the next few days and that will affect everything you see here in 2013. More on that soon.

Happy New Year!

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