N7W is a SCAM and Lebanon Should Pull Itself Out IMMEDIATELY

After tolerating the uninformed condescending comments from dozens of you for me not “being patriotic” and “supporting Lebanon” and all that self-righteous bull-crap that comes from people who sniff their farts and believe it smells like roses, I finally have validation for my claims that the N7W is a SCAM to make money off people’s good intentions.

I have vehemently been opposed to the voting and the desperate campaign the government and virtually every other business in Lebanon has been running to look good. It’s not like me to rebel against something that seems so homogenous and unanimous, but I could not betray what little intelligence Mother Nature has bestowed upon our species…

(sorry if you got offended by the above, but I was supremely irritated with the level of spam on Jeita when I put down these words)

Why Is It a Scam?

Multiple Votes

How the hell is a vote fair if every person can vote an unlimited amount of times, so long as they pay 10 cents. Why can’t you vote online unlimitedly for free? Ever think of that? And don’t give me the population argument, cause no matter how big a population, I can pay 5 million dollars and make my beautiful bottom a world natural wonder!

Voting Since 2009

What kind of vote lasts for 2 years? I mean, seriously people…

UNESCO does NOT Support It

“Although UNESCO was invited to support this (the previous“New7Wonders of the World” competition) project on several occasions, the Organisation decided not to collaborate”

The Maldives Have Withdrawn Their Entry Because N7w Wanted HUGE Sums of Money

The Maldives has decided to immediately and unilaterally withdraw from theNew7Wonders of Nature scam because of the New7Wonders organiser’s demand for expensive license fees and sponsorship packages in order to compete meaningfully in the remainder of the competition.

“With regret, we are withdrawing from this competition because of the unexpected demands for large sums of money from the New7Wonders organisers. We no longer feel that continued participation in this competition is in the economic interests of the Maldives,” said Thoyyib Mohamed, Minister of State for Tourism, Arts and Culture, and Chairman of the Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC).

The Maldives originally agreed to participate in the New7Wonders of Nature competition in early 2009 and paid a participation administration fee of $199. However, the details of the joint initiatives and escalating costs were not clearly outlined prior to signing. Recently, the New7Wonders organisers have repeatedly asked the Maldives to pay significantly more money, including:

  1. A Platinum sponsorship license fee at US $350,000.
  2. Two Gold sponsorship license fees at US $210,000 each.
  3. The sponsorship of a ‘World Tour’ event, whereby the Maldives would pay for a delegation of people to visit the country, provide hot air balloon rides, press trips, flights, accommodation, communications etc.
  4. US $1,000,000 license fee for a national telecom provider to participate in New7Wonders campaign – later reduced to US $500,000 on appeal.
  5. US $1,000,000 license fee for a Maldives based airline to display logo on aircraft.

The MMPRC repeatedly asked the New7Wonders organisers if there was a way to stay in the competition without paying significant sums of money. The New7Wonders organisers eventually stated that the Maldives could host a “protocol visit” for a delegation of the New7Wonders organisers, in which the Maldives would incur “flights and logistical costs etc.” The New7Wonders organisers pointed out, however, that “in our previous campaign for the man made Official New7Wonders of the World, all the winners had highly successful World Tour Events” and added “you do need sponsorship to participate fully in initiatives such as the World Tour event visit”

While the Maldives has invested considerable time and effort in campaigning for the New7Wonders of Nature competition, the country has not spent significant sums of money on the campaign. After extensive discussions with tourism industry stakeholders, the Maldives has decided to withdraw from the competition with immediate effect.

The Maldives would like to note the press release from UNESCO dated July 9, 2007 which states: “Although UNESCO was invited to support this (the previous“New7Wonders of the World” competition) project on several occasions, the Organisation decided not to collaborate”

The Maldives further notes concerns raised by lawyers acting for the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism, in regards to Komodo Island’s participation in the New7Wonders of Nature competition.

Finally, the Maldives is perplexed with the recent inconsistent patterns of the rankings of the competitors at this stage of the competition and the lack of detailed information and transparency as to how this is calculated

SOURCE

So, save yourself money and dignity, and stop spamming/voting. As for our dear government, apologize to your people and withdraw from this scam you’ve so valiantly advertised. (the tone here is a result of my extreme irritation at the spam levels, I’m sorry for being so harsh =P)

More Tourists?

Tourists who go online tend to be smart. Smart enough to realize and hear news of the N7W being a scam. So, STFU about that argument and look at the facts. I am a tourist, and if I go online and see a country boasting it’s part of the N7W I’d think, “wow, these guys must have nothing to offer…” Stop thinking you’re smarter than tourists, most of whom come to Lebanon better-informed than the Lebanese themselves. NO ONE is falling for this and it will NOT help Lebanon’s tourism as much as we’d like to think.

National Pride?

Should we be proud we were part of something like this? That we supported the N7W lies for all those years? This Lebanese mentality of “3aynak ya tejer” might fool some foreigners into coming to Lebanon once, but never again after that one time! We should focus on real, concrete and well-tested methods to boost our tourism, starting by preserving and restoring our heritage sites, making pacts with other nations to swap tourists (visa and flight facilities) and other policies which are transparent and up-standing, not sneaky BS.

Thank you for your patience, and I hope you will take the above into consideration before you continue spamming everyone

As for the government, I hope you’ll stop making stupid ads now and do your job instead =)

My Two Cents (after plenty of hate was hurled my way)

The money and effort would’ve been better spent on:

  • Renovating the road leading to Jeita (which it seems Minister Ghazi Aridi is planning to do now)
  • Pressure MAPAS (the company that renovated and now runs Jeita Grotto) to lower prices (18,000+ LBP per person when in fact the entrance “fee” is just 7,000 LBP, the rest are for the alleged “services” we get like telefrique) and equip the facilities better (restaurant, restrooms, safer walkways, etc.)
  • Fining and dealing with the two restaurants on the road to Jeita which pull-over cars for a rigged “tombola”, telling people they “won” but have to pay 100,000 LBP to get their prize of “coupons”
  • Ensuring the water sources of Jeita (from the mountain that houses it) remain untainted to preserve the beautiful caverns reminiscent of JRR Tolkien’s Mines of Moria in the Lord of the Rings
  • Document the fauna and flora within the cave, which undoubtedly houses very rare creatures and microorganisms, adding scientific, academic and ecological value to the already 280,000-visitor-per-year natural wonder
  • Open a larger portion of the cave, instead of the minuscule part which the public can access
  • Train the guides better, their knowledge of the cave and its history was laughable last time I visited the grotto earlier this summer

So please guys, put your prejudices aside and think a little bit, that’s all I’m asking. Keep voting, keep campaigning and best of luck to Lebanon and Jeita! I personally am sticking to my decision of not supporting the N7W for the obvious reasons I have stated above. However, I do acknowledge that the enthusiasm alone deserves to get Jeita on the Top 7. Let’s hope it does, and that the money obstacle does not make us stumble and shake our heads in the near future.

EDIT:

More on how Thailand caught on to the scam too in this article here

In February this year, the Jakarta Post reported the country’s Tourism Minister Jero Wacik as stating that the Ministry had received a letter on December 29, 2010 claiming that NOWC would “suspend” Komodo from the list of finalists if it refused to pay the US$10 million license fee.

Feedback from Malaysia

EVEN MORE

The ad campaign for Jeita is stolen borrowed (since they gave credit on YouTube) =D Read here

BlogBaladi reports on how the MOT is organizing trips to Jeito exclusively for female domestic workers

NowLebanon Blog’s Angie Nassar adds her support

My interview with France 24 Arabic’s Aswat al Shabaka segment

Comments

    • says

      Yes, they are :)
      But their government has pulled the on funding and support. Meaning the official backing for their bid has been revoked.

    • Simon Hawkins says

      Yes – we are, and it is now with our lawyers because they refuse to remove us from the list despite our repeated demands (despite threatening to disqualifying us for not paying their enormous bills). I promise you, it is a SCAM – trust me I know!!
      By the way – since we pulled out and spent the money on real marketing, our visitor numbers have shot up to all time high records.
      Yours,
      A Senior Maldivian Government employee.

  1. Ranio says

    I totally agree on the UNESCO backing point, but i still have a few comments..
    How different is this from the Miss World, Miss Universe, or even Oscars competition? These all can be counted a Scam. they have no official backing. they clearly seek commercial profit, and we are all sure the the winner is never the prettiest woman on earth or the nicest movie of the year.
    Scam or not, Star Academy and the like of vote-for-your-favorite-XXXXX have gained massive ground worldwide. famous people are famous today are made famous by the number of likes of facebook, or number of followers on twitter.
    There is no harm at all in voting and spending 10 cents a vote (regardless who these cents are going for) to get JEITA on top of a worldwide ranking (regardless who created the ranking)
    as for multiple free voting by email, you can do that by creating as many free email accounts as you like and use these to vote.

  2. says

    Gino and Zuz,
    Natural wonders do not change evry decade because of a popular vote. I am so glad that a few fellow Lebanese are not driven only by this silly idea of nationalism and patriotism. The only question that needs to be answered is this: Does Jeita really deserve to be considered as one of the top natural wonders of the world? Is it a wonder only because it is in Lebanon? Is a votewith no restrictions on how many times one votes the proper methodology to gauge global attitudes about this phenomenon? The answer is No, No and Nn.:-)

  3. says

    Gino and all who is against this campaign, get out of the small bubble you live in and open your thick skulls to how the world really works.

    Conspiracy theorists are people who live in their own idea of the perfect world. Sorry to burst your bubbles people, utopia does not exist.

    To make this short and simple, it does not matter who makes profit, it does not matter how much he makes profit, it does not matter how fake this is. This whole thing is a means to an end. If this “scam” as you call it can boost the yearly tourists rates, if it can force people to come visit our country then we have already won. Think of it as a service. Every day, millions even billions of dollars are spent on marketing campaigns to let people know or buy a certain product, how is this any different? Instead of doing a couple of tourism videos that will only go on some channels in certain countries, why not benefit from this viral marketing service called the N7W … Who cares about the details?! I don’t.

    Bottom line is, get your heads out of your pants, donate a couple of dollars to boost our tourism and stop writing bullshit to drive people to read your blogs.

    bye.

    • says

      It’s funny how everyone thinks they’re a genius and tourists are stupid 5 year old children.

      Scamming people is not justified, and this embarrassing Lebanese mentality of “3aynak ya tejer” is what might get a tourist once, but never again. So, instead of spending the money on this stupid campaign, use it to do stuff that actually boost tourism. Like bilateral ties with other nations to exchange tourists, facilitating stuff like visas and flights. Maybe renovating our heritage sites too.

      So, please, spare me your self-righteous, condescending tone and reread what you wrote and tell me honestly you think its right. Im a tourist, and I go online, and if i see “one of the new 7 wonders” on some place, I’ll feel pity for it, and assume everyone there has an IQ equivalent of mayonnaise.

      • says

        Again, this little Utopian world of yours is in reality a bit more complicated. This discussion can go off-topic very easily and we can drift to discuss politics, corruption and all other problems we have in Lebanon which eventually will lead nowhere.

        This little activist attitude is understandable coming from a young individual, who really believes in change. There is no problem with that at all, as long as your actions do not cause harm to the community as a whole. This blog post is damage.

        This “Lebanese mentality” you and other AUB students constantly talk about is a generalization of inaccurate observations you have made over a certain period of time. The problems in this country are huge, unbearable and frustrating. However, whining about them will do nothing but emphasis the fact that we live in a shithole.

        Do something worthwhile for a change instead of complaining and vote.

        • says

          I am everything BUT an activist and the only reason I did publish this post, because it was no longer bearable. I hate utopias, and if you’d bother to read something else I’ve written, you’d realize I am everything but an idealist who believes in utopias. “AUB activists” as you described them will agree with you, as I’m sure I’m not very popular among them for my often gut-wrenchingly pragmatic approach.

          Which is exactly what I’m doing here. All I’m asking people to do is think and see and judge. My vote is my own business, and if that vote is “something worthwhile” to you, then good for you. For me, it is still a very stupid idea which I refuse to subscribe to for shady reasons that I’m sure no one is really convinced by.

      • Kay says

        Gino…I think you’re awesome and I appreciate all the time and effort you’ve spent on this in order to “open the eyes” of the people. And you’re probably very right about the scam thing. It doesn’t make sense that he who has more money wins, if incase this campaign is really supposed to award the sites that are most deserving. But – if it gets Lebanon on the map for anything aside from party central, drugs and prostitution – why not?

        I’m all for principles and there is a little voice inside my head that tells me I’m being conned. But the whole thing is going to cost me 10 cents (and now apparently its completely free), and maybe, just MAYBE get Lebanon a little more global recognition. Why not? IQ of mayonnaise or not, chances are, more people will be wondering what the whole hype of these ‘ignorant’ Lebanese people have endorsed. Goal accomplished.

  4. says

    Great, we reached an understanding.
    Do as you please, and let others do the same.

    Politicians in Lebanon usually use this strategy (which is not based on any logical grounds) to convince people that what they are doing is wrong thus distracting them from the common goal. The goal is to leverage tourism in Lebanon, bogus awards or shady scams, if it works so be it.

    • says

      Exactly, a distraction which everyone has been ashamed to call so far!

      I’m all for any boost and angle to get Lebanon on top, and if this were just another normal thing, I wouldn’t have cared. But with presidents shuttling in and out of Jeita, TVs, billboards, radio stations, and social networks oozing with the N7W sherade, it was time to pause and ask, is all that time, money and effort really worth it?

      And thanks Bassem

  5. Bassil says

    …. interesting. However, ironically, I don’t see anything wrong here.
    It is just a service offered. A competition, like any other you see around TV programs and or Facebook. And guess what? Jeita Grotto is taking part. Personally. I’m not gonna go all “patriotic” – advertising it, pushing you towards it, and doubting your “patriotism”. But then again I’m not gonna go all “rebellious” – this is a scam, “kabber 3a2lak”, or blaming it on some country *lol*.
    It’s a mere service. You either chose to take part or not! No one is “scamming” you by force.
    I chose not to take part of it. People respect that, as I respect whoever chose to do.
    No need for all that fuss, this has been taking place for ages.
    A similar post can be found here: [ http://itchofwriting.blogspot.com/2007/06/new-7-wonders-emotional-scam-or-master.html ] N7W still goes on. and so does the world.

    For now it is seems to be a trend. If it is of no interest of you, why bother? Chase a dream!

  6. Hanna says

    Gino: Shou beddak fi la Basem. Clearly, he hasn’t seen much in his life. He’s probably better in front of a computer screen then dealing with real people in real life.

    Good Job.

      • Hanna says

        Jessica: This is not a way to discuss a point of view. He is just bashing Gino personaly, by stereotyping him.

        For example, what point is the guy making by the following personal attacks:

        “Gino and all who is against this campaign, get out of the small bubble you live in and open your thick skulls to how the world really works.

        Conspiracy theorists are people who live in their own idea of the perfect world. Sorry to burst your bubbles people, utopia does not exist.”

        “Bottom line is, get your heads out of your pants, donate a couple of dollars to boost our tourism and stop writing bullshit to drive people to read your blogs.”

        “Again, this little Utopian world of yours is in reality a bit more complicated.”

  7. Ghaith says

    So as i understand, all these countries listed here http://www.new7wonders.com/28-finalists?lang=en need a little more tourism and are counting on stupid tourists to do so?
    I also don’t believe in so called World Wonders, but you have to admit, tourists WILL come. There’s nothing stupid in promoting the country’s “wonder”. It WILL greatly benefit tourism in Lebanon and any of the finalists. Tourists will not see Jeita, and say oh this is a scam let’s not go to Lebanon. They’ll say, hey if it made it to the final list, there must be sth worth seeing. And although the tourism profit in Jeita does not directly benefit Lebanon (But a private company). More tourists in Lebanon definitely help.

  8. says

    I would really appreciate our great government to prepare a telethon for building a Silicon Valley in Lebanon! a telethon for funding in order to improve our infrastructure. A competition for the best video ad that markets Lebanon’s Tourism or Lebanese selective agricultural production ! it would be much better than voting like sillies and idiots for Jeita that is not waiting a bunch of smart people who are simply making huge money to identify it as a WONDER!
    By The way who limited the wonders to 7 ?? can’t it be 70 for example ?

    • Jessica says

      If they were 70, they wouldn’t be called wonders now would they!!!??? I’m with putting Jeita on the map. If nothing else it’s viral-marketing. what’s the harm in that?

  9. says

    For real, i don’t find any harm in getting involved in this, not for Lebanon, not for community, nor for phones by clicking “jeita” letters and send to “1070” numbers! ;)
    Check the other countries’ sites, they have long names to vote for and how many numbers they have to click to vote :P
    No, seriously now, i had little doubts in the costs and the “voting via money” for i checked many other countries’ sites and searched if there were similar stuff, and i found that they also have the same. i also was curious to know if the costs are similar compared to the currency/dollar.
    I found that 10 cents is a wayyyy cheaper compared to others. U can check it if u like in the website (they put the cost of sms in each country). That tells of “good” intentions from the government and people in responsibilty (one of the few times through Lebanese history).
    Anyway, as some said, it’s not obligatory, u may have something more worthy to spend some extra money,if u have,” for (like feeding a hungry person for example) i respect that and u’ll still be human and patriotic. But, still u can support Jeita and Lebanon by wishing “Good Luck”… and that’s patriotic too

      • says

        ok great then :) Doesn’t that worth a new article?! Aren’t your patriotic and humanistic goals worth of being published more clearly, so that u don’t then feel wronged of not being patriotic and being a rebeller of dust?!
        In law, Everyone has the right of reply, unfortunately, Jeita has no pen or tongue or computer to reply… u can write something for Jeita as a reply on your ” what looked like an aggression” by mistake! :)

      • says

        Are you serious? Did you read the actual post and the comments? I don’t need anyone’s acknowledgment that I’m a patriot or “humanistic” (which I don’t understand how you used in this context…)

        The N7W is a scam and nothing will change my opposition to it. People are free to vote, akid! And I wish them the best of luck, and Jeita as well!

        I will not correct anything or retract anything, I stand by what I published and my opinion regarding the N7W and its organizers. In law, Jeita is an object, not a person =) and right of reply to what? I’m talking about N7W, not Jeita.

        So, please Rach, spare me the suggestions on what I should post and actually read what’s already been posted and commented =D

      • says

        if u don’t need acknowledgment, what is the blog for? if u were not affected of being wronged! what does ur intro mean: “After tolerating the uninformed condescending comments from dozens of you for me not “being patriotic” and “supporting Lebanon” and all that self-righteous bull-crap that comes from people who sniff their farts and believe it smells like roses, I finally have validation for my claims that the N7W is a SCAM to make money off people’s good intentions.” using “strong words” to hide ur anger and save ur ego doesn’t work with ppl like me :)
        Man, your evidences are less than fragile, and the idea u’re trying to alert about, “the scam”, almost passed on every lebanese mind before voting!! And your article holds “tacitly and publicly” a call for not voting for Jeita which seems to be a national issue these days, u like it or not…. And u’re presenting urself as a wizard concerned about people’s money! Come on man, i’m sure that u squander much more money to spend a night “ta mazejak yrou2″ at a pub or nightclub knowing that the cost of what u consume there is at least 1/10 the price u pay!
        bl nisbi la Jeita and “person” issue, i was just trying to be poetic using a metaphor =)
        Note that the official language of the country u live in is “Arabic” aw “lebnene” ya khayye. Hear this fact: u think Lebanese, u live lebanese, u feel lebanese, u can’t but express in lebanese language in order the lebanese “beebol” understand… anything other than that is a show-off ur english language skills and a projection of what u read for non-lebanese writers (european-american mainly maybe) and of what u watch of non-lebanese films and series which will not express at any certain nanosecond the lebanese minds… and it tells about ur ignorance about the lebanese community that u may claim trying to make better.
        i wont suggest that u write in arabic, it seems u don’t like and i would like to believe that my suggestions are a little bit more precious than being ignored by such ignorance. but ur ideas doesn’t reach your crowd, and guess what! that’s not the crowd’s problem ;) (unless it’s only for those hallucinating of living the american dream)…
        i could reply in arabic but i’m afraid u wouldnt understand arabic =)
        Man khedlak hal matal llebnene w redd lli baddak treddo: doud lkhall menno w fi”… after i read this article, i recognize more how much the lebanese community and individuals are “Schizophrenic”

        Thanks

  10. says

    that doesn’t mean they are a scam… it means they are a profit oriented business organisation with activities to promote countries in return of sums of money…

    So what is a scam ???
    Let me demonstrate:

    PIZZA HUT OFFERING 2 LARGE PIZZA FOR FREE
    with small underlining little barely visible line saying “with every purchase of 2 large pizzas”

    This is unethical and diverts attention to gain attention!

    Just like your post here : N7W IS SCAMM BLABLABLA … i clicked it, read… and noticed

    hmmm n7w is as much as a scam to get ppl to vote for nice locations as your blog is a scam to get ppl to notice and read it…. Non?

    they are doing so by taking money from advertisers to boost certain touristic locations
    you are doing it because your obviously bored and have alot of time ….

    so tell me, which is more productive ? talking about better ways to make tourism better ? or just badmouthing in public (LARGE CAPITAL LETTER SUBJECT LINES THAT HAVE 0 TRUTH IN THEM) a campaign that is obviously showing effective results and giving recognition to one of our landmarks…

    Relax Gino… you dont need to get mad all the time :)

    For the first time im seeing a collective promotional work to promote something in Lebanon…

    Would you rather TV commercials about politics and the demand for “ha2i2a” or some kind of color commercial like we had last year ?

    Relax dude …if your looking to make things better there are better ways to address them…. but if your seeking popular recognition as Gino the blogger mentioned by alcatel w google w midre sho… its being a hypocrite :(

  11. says

    still doesn’t matter…
    why blow off the Jeita investment into tourism due the ignorance of our government with your useless post :(

    if the government and ppl around them are not resourceful into finding other ways to promoting the country, i wldnt be the one to discourage them with this whole n7w… but advise or support in the hope we get more promotional stunts!

    • says

      I respect your views walid, however I completely disagree with them. Stating facts will never be something wrong, and instead of trying to look good and sexy in their ads “ma tsawtooleh”, they should just pay the money to the N7W guys and get the spot on the 7 natural wonders. Saves time and effort! 4 million Lebanese x 10 cents = 400,000 dollars, which is well worth what they expect to get out of the N7W thing, right?

  12. says

    Gino,

    I am a marketer and i know a MILLION other way to promote anything….
    That doesnt mean the government does, or the people around it do or are aware of any new marketing tools or more efficient ways.

    BUT for now, their intelectual limitations had them support this N7W with the goal of :

    promoting lebanon

    —– so y fight that ?!

    and if the government was smart enough to make initiatives or create original ideas to make our tourism better, they wouldnt have put in the effort with N7W and would see other ways of promoting tourism… but we wer not seing anything else, never did! Oh yea, the ministry of tourism commercial on ftv who can miss that.

    so the enemy isnt N7W,,, its our ministry of tourism supporting it… But all we can do is support it as well… or go back to being IDLE and just complaining how our tourism is not doing good!

  13. Lina says

    I don’t understand what the big deal is, I don’t see how anybody is being scammed or cheated. It’s just a fun game, like Miss Universe or Star Academy (as others have mentioned), to vote for what the public thinks is best. It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate, but just by participating countries can gain popularity. I personally didn’t know about a few of the sites that are being voted for, and so I googled them and got more info. I’ll bet you anything that others are doing the same, so where’s the harm?

    We are not being forced or blackmailed to vote, we do so by our own will, without expecting anything in return.

    If the Maldives chose to withdraw itself, that’s fine, but why am I hearing about it the first time from you?? Shouldn’t it have been advertised or mentioned in the news?

    Anyhow whatever the issue is, we are all free to choose whether or not we will vote, without being bullied by you, but thanks for trying to enlighten our ‘self righteous fart smelling’ selves.

  14. Tamara83 says

    Guys, nobody has heard of this competition. If you ask any American, Argentinian, or whatever other country is listed there about this voting shit, they will say…Huh??? We are not promoting Jeita to anyone but our little Lebanese bubble. Thank you for posting this blog. I have shared it on fb in hopes that ppl will stop bugging me with the voting campaign.

  15. Ray says

    Since Gino raised many points in his blog, the most important ones seem to have not been taken seriously:

    1- “$1,000,000 license fee for a national telecom provider to participate in New7Wonders campaign – later reduced to $500,000 on appeal.” This means our telecom companies have paid money to n7w to be able to receive SMS votes, which we are paying back as 10 cents for each SMS.

    2- How can we make sure that if we vote the most we will win? This is a competition by a private entity, they are not obliged to be transparent. Granted that the exposure by itself is good even if we don’t win, but it wouldn’t feel good to pay for something that “might” not be fair.

    3- It is also very probable that if the government doesn’t pay the licensing fees stated above then the n7w could exclude them from the competition:
    “A Platinum sponsorship license fee at US $350,000.
    Two Gold sponsorship license fees at US $210,000 each”

    4- Regardless of whether tourists are smart or not, how can we make sure that the n7w campaign is reaching enough people worldwide to make it worth the high fees for participation? Lebanon is one of the special cases where gossip and news moves quickly in our small 4 million population. However, it is a different story in other countries especially the large ones.

    All in all, it does seem that the n7w are extorting large amounts of money from governments for a promise of more tourism. However, I don’t know if this is the same case for the Miss World/Universe competitions where it does seem that some winners are handpicked before the competition starts; and it still generates good publicity. Anyway, hope it generates enough hype worldwide to make it worthwhile.

  16. says

    Thank you Gino for looking into this issue and offering a much needed critical perspective–one that is often missing in our public debates.

    Do we know how much the Lebanese government is paying N7W and where this money is coming from?

    Pardon me if this has been answered. It was difficult wading through the previous polemics!

    • says

      I’m looking into that. It seems Impact BBDO did the campaign, at least the TVC and radio spots that is, though not sure if it was pro bono!

  17. Roger says

    People, I understand that this is a commercial for profit organization no doubt. As long as the marketing money is spent from the private sector I have no problem – it’s not my money or effort. However, the moment the public sector got in on this, the government, which I pay for with my income tax, gasoline tax, value added sales tax, telephone and cellular tax, electricity tax, as well as numerous large fees that are levied every time I have a small transaction to complete with any government agency, whether in Lebanon or at any embassy or consulate of Lebanon abroad, add to all of that the amount of BS coming out from elected politicians (also paid for by me) that I am bombarded with by 24/7, and add also the well known fact that most of the money the government will raise from tourism will no doubt go to the wrong pockets because of the lack of transparency of government activities in Lebanon, because of all that, I say no. To hell with patriotism, what are we to be proud of? What are we to hope for? Do you really believe Aridi or anyone else for that matter will repair a road to Jeita and even if he does, will it be up to international standards or quality? And to those of you accusing Gino of dreaming of a utopia, I say wake up, because you are the ones who are so proud of your beloved Lebanon Utopia you are living in such deep mess of a country that think that if tourist come to us they will fall in love with Lebanon (especially tourists from Africa or of African origin or any other dark skin color country, because our customs officers at the airport will warmly welcome them by implementing segregation laws with them, ha!)

  18. says

    Hi from Indonesia! we are practically in the exact same situation of trying to convince gullible people from falling to New7Wonders scam. I’ve made an analysis of tourism industry in countries that ‘won’ in the 2007 New7Wonders poll. My conclusion is there no discernible increase in tourism industry that can be attributed to New7Wonders.

    You can read it here: http://priyadi.net/archives/2011/10/26/dampak-ekonomi-new7wonders/ it is Bahasa Indonesia, but you should be able to translate it using Google Translate.

    You might also find this website by our friends in Korea particularly helpful: https://sites.google.com/site/no7wonders/ . Apparently they have been doing this since beginning of the year.

    Good luck to our friends in Lebanon.

  19. says

    I’m Indonesian and why we call it a scam.

    I stumble to this blog and a lot of people still don’t understand why this is a scam. Let me tell u, as indonesian citizen, why this is a scam.

    My Embassy in Swiss, where the N7W supposed to be headquartered, trying to reach the N7W office. The surprising part is, the office did not exist… It is a fake address. So my ambassador conctact local news office, PR, etc and trying to investigate this matter. And guess what? Local leader did not recognize the people behind the competition.

    Todung Mulya Lubis, a lawyer acting behalf of Indonesia Gov, contact N7W lawyer in ENGLAND. This organization that was formed in Panama, office in Swiss (wich our embassy fail to find it), and their lawyer is in england slowly appear as a elaborate scam.

    Why is it scam? Well, would you believe in organization that even my embassy couldn’t locate their office? Where local leader in swiss fail to recognize the man behind it?

    After the series of event (mentioned also in this blog), our gov did not support the competition. A private company take over the promotion in Indonesia. Sadly, this whole event revealed after a lot of indonesian vote for komodo island. It is your choice to call it a scam or not after I tell you this.

  20. says

    Hi,

    You wrote that Thailand caught on the scam, from your quote, I think you meant Indonesia, not Thailand (Jakarta is in Indonesia, and Jero Wacik is Indonesian’s Tourism Minister).

    —-
    More on how ***Thailand** caught on to the scam too in this article here

    “In February this year, the **Jakarta Post reported the country’s Tourism Minister*** Jero Wacik”
    —-

  21. says

    SPOT ON GINO! Thanks a lot for this great post, i’ve been telling everyone the same thing!!!!!!!

    100% true about putting the energy/money in the right place! Tourists are not stupid, if this things attracts them now, wait to see the negative reviews they’ll put on Tripadvisor and the likes!

  22. Andrasta says

    Cek This Out , some Indian are angry because of this
    “”And now that the dust has settled in the “campaign” to select the seven new wonders of the world, here comes the show-stopper: Contrary to the impression it gave during the run-up to the much-hyped event, the New7Wonders organisation is not going to contribute any money for conservation of the selected monuments.

    The Zurich-based company, which had promised to give 50 per cent of the revenues from its campaign, says it didn’t earn anything from the exercise and barely recovered its investments.””

  23. Roger says

    A note about voting out of patriotism

    “…Samuel Johnson made this famous pronouncement that ‘patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.’ Johnson was not indicting patriotism in general, only false patriotism…”

    When our beloved Lebanon (citizens and successive governments) start to show genuine signs of maturity, of real change and progress, I will consider true Patriotism. Only then will I vote with in a heart beat for anything or anyone with a whiff of Lebanese air in them.

    Cheers

  24. xnonymous says

    Why do you censor comments that are not racist or foul or offend anyone?
    That’s not right “moderator”

    Expect us…

  25. Spiteful Lebanese says

    Gino,

    It’s incredible how much time, effort and energy you have put in to get us Lebanese to stop rallying behind one of our country’s natural sights and in us spending “10 cents” on what might, or might not be, a good gamble touristically for our country.

    I wish you’d spent just half as much of your time and energy asking people to boycott Solidere.

    I’m just saying that seeing that you’re a righteous fellow and pretty adamant about “scams” that is.

    Cheers ;)

    • says

      It took 15 minutes for that post :P the evidence was practically screaming “publish me”

      But you’re right, I shouldve found out about the solidere thing earlier!

  26. says

    Hi, my name is ian from Indonesia, n7w is also a big controversy here in Indonesia these days. This foundation is surrounded by many controversies, and from the beginning of n7w I won’t vote for my country’s nominee, not because I’m not nationalist, but I knew something is wrong here. Now they’re rolling n7w of nature, and komodo became nominee from our country. Many people in Indonesia send short messages to vote komodo to be n7w of nature, even sent many messages to make it top seven. I’ve warned my fellow Indonesian on online forums and news comment, but faced many resistance from so-called-nationalist-guys. Even after I’ve provided some proofs, they just bowed me. For your reference, there’s a very nice investigation about n7w in an Indonesian blog : http://priyadi.net/archives/2011/10/30/faq-tentang-new7wonders/ It’s in Indonesian language, maybe you can use google translate to read it. Good luck for fellow anti-n7w from Lebanon, good luck.

  27. says

    I got one word fo ya gino .
    whatever the amount of money you pay, even if it was the money of the world, your arse is never going to become a natural wonder (k)
    lol

    • says

      You’re the idiot Nick :D
      Look up at the title of this website, it says “blog”. This means its a personal web-log. Not a professional newssite and I am definitely not a journalist :D

      So, STFU

  28. Ron says

    if voting for jeita brings tourists to lebanon… Scam or not…im voting… lets do the math… there’s millions of visitors to the n7w website, lets say 100 000 checks jeita grotto… 50 000 decided to actually visit it!.. ignorant peeps or some f* up geniuses… we got ourself some tourism! publicity is a must… via genuine or bogus means…
    as we say: “it’s the message, not the messenger.”
    love the article though…

  29. Danko says

    Agree with you.
    New7Wonders is a kind of scam vanity, utilizing our nation ego among the country to reap the benefits. This is not much different from the Who’s Who scam or Diploma Mill where the victim hand over some money for certain attributes, such as an academic degree or a person of the year, despite the fact that these institutions have no credibility or accreditation to give the title. Practically no one else who thought the title or attribute it as something important.

    Have you read the confidential letter addressed to the Korean? it’s about how they encourage spirit of nationalism and also step by step commercial efforts. I think they send it to every finalist nominee.

    Link to the letter
    http://schtuff.priyadi.net/new7wonders/n7w-maximise-your-campaign.pdf

  30. Elias says

    dude, lets not demotivate poeple,

    if new 7 wonders is a scam, we scam back …

    go to http://www.eobox.net its a lebanese made fascility where u can create 100 emails at one shot ! and then you can start usring them one by one to vote for Jeitta … so in seconds you have tons of emails and use them to vote. no need for SMS, we dont give them any cent, and yet we get our votes in multiples.!

  31. Cdn Lynx says

    First Congratulations to all that won!
    Unfortunately Gino, I personally agree with your assertions here; Too much money required for submissions and too much money paid out to N7W.
    SMS voting for money per call, unlimited calls make for unlimited profit and probably stacking of votes with regions with large populations of propping up the vote for their own self interests. Maybe it would have been more fair if people could/should NOT vote for their own submission/s.
    How does small jurisdiction/s overcome the vote propping up of regions with billions of people voting in a nationalistic fervour, it can’t!
    Prior to my vote, I studied all the submissions; granted as a Canadian I was caught up with emotion and voted for Bay of Fundy. I also voted for Amazon. I also feel the Great Barrier Reef should have also won.
    All submissions have value; some have more value then others in the realm of Nature and nature’s support of the human race on this blue dot in the universe.
    For your info, I did support your Grotto and the underground river in the Philippines. As they are truly unique.
    Many around the world DO KNOW of this contest (for lack of a better word), as a post states that it’s not well known.
    This is the shady side of marketing and the wealth of both money and data collected for future endeavors is more then suspect and wrong.
    I could go on; however we all/should know in our own hearts that something is rotten.
    Sincere regards and peace to all, on this poor and under stress, blue planet Mother Earth. :-)

  32. says

    Even after MTC pumped 100 000 votes which should have immediately put us out of the “competition” the N7W foundation did not disqualify Lebanon on the grounds that MAPAS was a “sincere” partner for 2 years. Another way to put it: more time in the competition = more $$$ for N7W

  33. says

    test
    against voting shared many reasons. Gino said that the competition is a scam and that Lebanon should get itself out of it immediately an

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