It’s getting so over the top. Every time I turn around I have to change a password, answer security questions, look at some pic-icon, or, worst of all, get a text or a phone call to “verify” I’m not the retard they’re treating me like.
Here’s a good way to know all the silly people in your life. First, have them take you to dinner (gotta figure that part out by yourself). Just as the tab arrives, strike up a conversation about Internet security and providing CC numbers online. Listen to their blather while you watch them physically hand their CC over to a minimum-wage employee to take to a back room.
VRBO / Home Away just cost me a minimum of $2,250, and potentially up to $4,000 “protecting me” from getting bookings people were ready to pay for. They locked down my vacation rental listings, so I didn’t get the message from this guy, for just one example, which basically turned out to be a technical glitch on their end they spoofed into a major security breach. I won’t even get into how transparently ridiculous it was, talking with the VRBO “security department” guy on the other end, like I’ve never run a business, along with its call center. Completely fraudulent.
Sorry for the delay. If the place is still available and you resend the link this afternoon I will pay. We will be going the same dates as originally discussed.
Trying to revive it now, but that message was sent a week ago and I just got it this morning. There are two other similar deals. Now, OK, so what if you say ‘well, you get what you pay for’? Well, no, this in not my AirBNB or Flipkey free listings (they take a small cut of actual booking fees and ABNB now rivals the hugely expensive VRBO/HomeAway listing in performance). I pay over $2,000 for three listings annually with these people and have for years, and I don’t even get a phone call or email alerting me to their perceived problem (which was complete cover-ass bullshit, once I began digging). For another example, once I had the issue resolved, an inquiry from a month ago magically appeared in my inbox that I had never seen.
But that’s not even the half of it. Way back when, in 2011, when we turned the Arnold Cabin into a vacation rental, I got VRBO’s top listing level, paying the most you can pay and as you can see, mine is second to the top, out of 134 rentals. To say it went great is a crazy understatement. Perhaps the best investment ever. I hooked up with a 3rd party vacation rental service, Owner Reservations, and everything was unbelievably easy. Inquiries came via email, OR parsed them, I could send out a quote from an iPhone with a couple of clicks: BAM, booked, and everything was seamless, templated, automatic, etc. Like they said, “vacation rental software designed by vacation rental owners.”
Then VRBO really began messing it all up, just continually, a gradual slide downward. Basically, they did thing after thing to hamper my relationship with OR with the clear aim of trying to get me to use them to manage reservations (and the CC charges they get a cut of), rather than just inquiries. I don’t know exactly why, but I suspect it was competition from AirBNB and Flipkey. Here’s the inquiry graph over last year (all the data available).
It used to be way more than that, all the time, and what’s more, it was last December when I finally said “OK, you win.” I’ll just use OR to manage my two Cabo listings (which for irrelevant reasons, I can’t use VRBO for CC processing). Well, look at the inquiry trend once I switched.
So, basically, I see it as the VRBO / HomeAway model going bye bye and the ABNB and FK model going full Uber! And VRBO / HA instead of changing to a more competitive model, are really messing with their property owner customers.
And part of that is instituting hyper-security measures in order to make owners think there’s bands of scammers out there just ready to pounce on their properties, list them, book them…give guests the access codes to the keyless lock…attend to their issues now & then, and when it’s all done, get it cleaned and welcome new guests…all while you aren’t looking. Or something.
The bottom line is that there’s basically two principle ways to hack financial data:
1) Go for the companies that store it, breach their security. Get it all in one juicy database.
2) Send out a lot of clever phishing emails and that will Always work, no matter what the companies do, because there are 267 fools born every minute on planet Earth.
Sorry folks. Unless you’re Bill Gates or some other Billionaire, nobody is going to spend countless processing resources “hacking” your puny internet password[s], and especially since it’s so easy to have millions of people just give their passwords to them with a thank you.
The hopeless defenses against number 2 is jumping the shark, because phishing gets to be as sophisticated as it needs to be, even 419-Nigerian-esque.
I am already making mental notes over this and over time hope to be able to stop doing business with companies who do anything beyond a simple login to “protect you” (but guard their own systems fiercely).
That’s right: I want the same 6-character password on all my accounts for life, everywhere; and I don’t want to be forced to change it or add special characters ever, and I don’t want to answer security questions ever, and I don’t want to have to verify via a phone call ever.
I’ll take my chances. Thank you for your concern.
What some smart companies need to do is have an ironclad agreement that says: “If you get phished, we hope they wipe out your account, and you agree that we’ll laugh at you and that you have no recourse and that you deserve it and nod and bow anytime the name of Darwin is mentioned.”
…I want phishing to get more sophisticated, and steal even more millions and billions. The Nigerian scammer thieves are a wonderful value to the evolution of the human mind. See, I can easily see the bright side.
I like evolution, and if someone can fool you into stealing everything from you, and you just give it to them through foolish stupidity, then someone is going to learn a lesson, even if it’s not you.