Last week I read a rather poorly written article in The Guardian about Tribewanted.
Only learned 2 things-
1-the original creator of the idea left after some of his past was exposed around on the net.
2-as already mentioned everything goes back to the owners of the Island-so where does that leave the so called 'tribe members'?
"The fact that there are so many '1st time posters' pouring compliments on this site makes me just a bit suspicious.... Did you all just stumble accross travellerspoint at the same time??? Or are you the same person???"
Smells like week old fish.
I would take the first time posters' comments with a healthy dose of scepticism as well Graeme. It seems to me that Bengazi (the founder of tribewanted) replied and then let all his friends (err.. tribe members) know about this thread, which is why there is such a flurry of answers. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with their experiences, but it is a little one-sided way of looking at things. Kind of like reading a company brochure with its own pre-selected 'Customer Reviews'.
I can't speak for any of the other guys who have posted, but for me, I'm sick and tired of people talking crap and spreading rumors about Tribewanted that are just plain wrong. No, I've never posted on Travellerspoint before, and I guess in some people's eyes that must make me part of a conspiracy to trick unsuspecting travelers. I signed up today because I want to set the record straight for those people who are inclined to believe all the negative garbage that is going round the rumor mill.
Did you guys even look at the links that I posted above. Do they look like the same person to you?
In response to SamSalmon's first question, I'm not really sure where you got the idea of an investment from. That's like saying you invest to go on a holiday overseas or you invest to go on one of those Earth Watch Expeditions. You're membership is not an investment. From the perspective of the individual your membership covers your accommodation and food on Vorovoro, your return trip from Labasa airport to Vorovoro and your access to the official webpage and forums. I'm not sure how else to explain it other than that. No one will get a return or a profit at the end of the three years. My understanding is that the Mali community will take over the management and derive their own source of income using the facilities that have been built during the course of the project
OK. So is National Geographic Adventure magazine too one-sided for you?
Is USA Today too one-sided?
What about an article on an independent travel website?
Or an STA Travel blog?
A 5 part documentary to be aired on BBC2 later this year? Don't believe me? Well random cameramen often visit remote islands in Fiji. See for yourself
Seriously guys. Take an objective look at the facts
Hi. I'm Kate. I've never posted on travellerspoint before, but I thought I'd stick up for my tribe!
Graeme - there are always going to be people who say Tribewanted is a scam. There are postings all over the internet of people saying tribewanted is a scam.... but tribewanted also has over 1100 members now, who would disagree. But what do these people know?!
I joined the tribe nearly 1 year ago. My parents, family & friends thought I was mad. I was planning a r-t-w trip, and would have been going to Fiji anyway...I would have to pay for accommodation & food while I was there so the money (providing the tribe was for real) would be well spent. Being honest, I was in 2 minds when I joined about whether it was for real or not but I thought that if I lost the money, I'd spent more money on nights out, or clothes/shoes that I had never worn, so I was able to justify it to myself! Anyway, originally I was just looking at this as 2 weeks on a Fijian Island.
1 year on and I'm so glad I've joined. I've not been the island yet - I'm planning on going later this year. I've been to about 5 gatherings where I have met several UK members and a handful of American members. Our last meet was in Dublin for St Patricks day - 30 members turned up and it was great meeting everyone. It might sound really corny, but although visiting the island is a huge part of this project, the internet community is becoming a massive part of it (to me) too. I've made some great friends.
And, for what it's worth, my family & friends have totally changed their opinions. A couple of my friends are about to join. My Dad was spreading the tribe wanted word, and he was the most negative about the project.
Join! You wont regret it!
Y'know, I was going to let this rest, having given my opinion to the original poster (which wasn't intended as anything more than "in my personal opinion, there's better and less risky ways to spend your money", not the life-threatening attack on the project that the responses seem to assume), but the deluge of one-sided responses since makes me think this deserves a more critical look.
we've been living on Vorovoro for 8 months, have built half a village, of which 100+ tribe members have visited and taken part in.
So, in eight months 100+ people have gone to the island. That isn't a terribly accurate number, but I think it's safe to assume that's a maximum of 150 people. Out of 1100+ total members (as per katewalker's post).
Now, first of, I googled for the original article that questioned how above board this whole thing is, and it contained this little nugget:
In the Tribewanted FAQ, the project leaders state that your membership does not start until September 1, 2006, and even then only if 5000 people join. Tribewanted of course promises that it will refund your membership fees in full if the tribe does not form.
I don't know how many of those 1100+ people joined before September 1, but it'll be a sizable amount of people who were misled in the original FAQ and didn't get their money back as the project took off anyway. (Or did everyone have the option to back out when the goal of 5000 people wasn't met?)
But still, 1100 people is a sizable amount. Let's say they all signed up for an average of two years. That means that 1100 people should visit the island during a period lasting 52 periods of two weeks, or about 21 people per two-week period.
Yet now, 8 months (roughly 17 two-week periods) in - actually, let's call it 7 months, counting from September 1, and thus 15 two-week periods - only 100-150 people have gone. That's 10 (and probably closer to 8) per two-week period. There's a disconnect there, and as the remaining time starts to go down, I suspect many problems will show up.
Finally, it appears as if the largest amount of positive sentiment is generated by gatherings off the island. It's awesome such a great community has formed for you guys, and that you're having fun meeting each other. But pssssst! Here's a secret: you don't need to pay hundreds of pounds to join awesome online communities which have regular meetings and where you can make real friends!
If you'd truly pay for an exclusive trip to a tropical island, and ended up getting nothing but half a dozen meets in the UK, and would be happy with this... well, I'd call that being victim of a very successful scam.
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 30, 2007, at 12:19 AM by Sander ]
I do apologise if I misinterpreted your original post Sander, but I feel I need to address the point you just raised. As one of the pre-September 2006 members you mentioned, I never considered the option of asking for my money back. The truth is it didn't matter to me how many people signed up, all I wanted was for the project to go ahead and for me to travel to Fiji within the first year. Obviously I never wanted to lose my money, but there was never any point where I wanted the project to be cancelled before it had begun. To be honest, I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would have wanted their money back rather than have the project begin despite the fact that 5000 members were not found in the first few months of promotion. For me, this was never an issue, despite other people using this point to prop up their argument against Tribewanted.
I recognise that there will always be people who will hold a negative view of Tribewanted (non of which will have ever had anything to do with the project, or visited the island, btw), but I believe the worst thing about this is that they will most likely deprive other people of the experience too (by talking them out of it), which is quite sad really. Say what you want about the project, but if you were one of the people who had actually been to Vorovoro and seen how much this project means to the local community you'd be standing up against those who try to create and perpetuate negative impressions too.
Hi, first time poster here, and yes, I'm a Tribewanted member. Sorry about that. To be quite honest, I'm amused by those who STILL think the project is a scam. In what sense? We've paid our money, we're going to the island (many of us have already been), so... err, where's the scam, exactly?
Speaking personally, I've got exactly what I paid for and much, much more. I've got three weeks on a secluded tropical island, away from all the usual toxic flummery that goes with exotic holidays, I've got to be part of a project I'm proud of, and I've met an awesome bunch of people. Not bad.
A couple of the points raised are about the business. Not really my concern, but here goes. The numbers going are less than Tribewanted budgeted for, which means less money for all the projects they'd hoped to start, but the project as a whole is going forward anyway and remains financially viable (given that they've just spent thousands on a tank to collect rainwater, it seems to me they're OK money-wise). And as to where the investment goes at the end of the three years, well bless me if that isn't the whole point. It's up to the island people of Mali (who own the Tribewanted island) to decide. If they want to keep it and run it as a holiday resort, that's up to them. If they want Tribewanted to stay, well that's fine too. For once, it's about doing something for someone else, rather than maximising the return on an investment. To me, that makes a nice change. But if you want to remain cynical about it, that's your choice.
The fact that there are so many '1st time posters' pouring compliments on this site makes me just a bit suspicious.... Did you all just stumble accross travellerspoint at the same time??? Or are you the same person???