A letter from a contributor
(reprinted with permission)
Dear Mr. Cooperstock,
Enclosed herein is a check ... as a contribution to the support and continuation of your website www.untied.com.
Over the years I have found the information posted to be interesting to read/browse, useful in content and reference, and relevant with regard to my United Airlines experiences and those I hear about from friends and colleagues. Additionally, I have posted a couple of my painful experiences and feel that I would be remiss if I did not contribute in keeping this public service alive.
I applaud you on your website and your valiant effort to hold United Airlines accountable for nothing more than the basic levels of professionalism and service that a company should provide.
Why should you donate?
By way of background, I have maintained these pages pretty much single-handedly since September 1996, when the material first went on-line as the United Airlines Poor Show pages, on my personal home page when I was a student at the University of Toronto. My effort was both a hobby and a mission -- to make big corporations like United Airlines aware that they cannot treat their customers and employees like dirt without consequence.
There is, of course, a financial component to maintaining such a web site: web hosting and domain registration fees, which were initially over $300 annually, have fortunately come down significantly in recent years. In late 1998, I posted a request for assistance to keep the site alive. One individual made the excellent suggestion that readers might offer token contributions to help fund the site, so I provided my address to which donations could be sent. The response was incredible: within a few months, Untied.com had raised enough funds to remain in operation for several years. The contributions hardly represent a windfall, but enough to keep the site running on its own. Untied.com may well have been the first reader-supported web site in existence. Naturally, I am most grateful for everyone's assistance and am heartened to learn that there were a significant number of readers who consider this site to be performing a valuable service and wish to see it continue.
Readers should note that the amount of effort to maintain the site, add material culled from news feeds, US Department of Transportation statistics, UAL employees with horror stories of their own, not to mention the many passengers who have been mistreated, is enormous. The recent redesign of the web site to parody United Airlines' current look took a considerable amount of effort of my own, simply because hiring a professional web developer to do a similar job would have been prohibitively expensive.
New donations received thus help offset the continued cost of maintaining the site, but serve primarily as a means of encouragement. Your token contributions are a great way of showing me that you care about the site and that you consider it to be providing a useful service.
If you have further questions about contributions, please submit your query through the Comments link and I will do my best to reply. In the meantime, thanks for taking the time to read this and for your support.