This will be officially the last post regarding Facebook Checker World. I know some folks have not liked my criticism of Checker World, so no problem we will never touch the subject again this is the last blog or post.
The reason for no further discussion is quite clear, Facebook Checker World is officially dead. It died this week. It died due to an acute case of lack of participation. Other ancillary causes of death were: no focus, no strategy, no member screening, absence of leadership and most importantly it died because it failed to be creative.
Launch this past Summer, it’s life was short and death was rapid.
Day 1, It all started with such great celebration, creator Geroge Lazslo, a retired records keeper and Checker Aerobus owner introduced Facebook Checker World to about 50 members of the Checker Car Club of America at the annual CCCofA convention. The introduction was rocky, apparently most of the board members seemed unaware of the new solution. The failed demo proved interesting as most of the board members complained that they liked the old message board on the old website: The Checker Taxi Stand. George held the confused board members at bay and at the end of the session George encourage all club member to join the group.
Day 2, was probably a good indicator that Facebook Checker World was in trouble, by the Saturday night club dinner, Facebook Checker World only had about 5 members, one of which was James Hoyt, we’ll discuss Mr. Hoyt later. At the evening dinner another demo was conducted, maybe this was performed to remind the audience that they should become members, never the less the demo was conducted and some board members asked the same challenging questions from the prior demo.
George wrapped up and a most enjoyable dinner was had by all CCCofA members. Upon reflection now, one had to wonder had the solution been socialized with the club board members prior to introduction at the convention? Did their own challenges to the new Facebook page taint the solution, clearly it did not instill confidence with club members?
Before we move on to the next period of activity, let’s also set the stage for the overall Checker World concept. At the time of the introduction, Facebook Checker Cab Group was already in operation for seven years. It had a substantial number of members at 375, about 100 being added between 2014 and 2015. A very active group, it was the place where most CCCofA members went to talk Checker. It was also the place that many non CCCofA members went to talk Checker. Not only was there an extensive daily Checker dialog, but the Checker Cab Group had a very large library of CCCofA newsletters, brochures and manuals. Oh and let’s not forget that the Facebook Checker Cab Group contained thousands of photos collected and submitted by 375 members.
One has to ask the question why would the CCCofA create Facebook Checker World? In my opinion, it was an attempt to take back control of the Checker audience at large. That said, the majority of internet smart Checker fans were already on the Checker Cab Facebook group, there would be a major challenge, how to get the audience to move to a new group?
In order to do that you would have to destroy the Facebook Checker Cab Group. It would have to be eliminated. The Facebook Checker Cab Group was a direct competitor with its free access to dialog and content, the CCCofA’s new paid for access website needed fans to move off of the Checker Cab Group so they would be forced to pay for access to Checker data and pictures on Checker World. The bottom line, it’s my opinion once destroyed the CCCofA would then put in play a transition plan for Checker fans to move to Checker World and drive revenue.
Day 3: raid the Facebook Checker Cab Group members list. Over the course of 24 hours, 85 Facebook Checker Cab Group members are ghosted added to Facebook Checker World by several CCCofA club and board members. Additionally about 85 EU members were added to the new Facebook Checker World. Within four weeks of introduction, Facebook Checker World had 220 members, any new joiners of Checker World would think Checker World was a substantial Facebook Group.
Over the next several weeks dialog did start to materialize, but there appeared to be significant confusion for members of the Facebook Checker Cab Group. Many were unaware that they were now members of the new group yet they were seeing Checker World posts on the Facebook newsfeed. In a matter of days Checker fans were confused and fragmented. The Checker Cab Group received a number of messages asking: why we changed our name?
Many Checker Cab Group members responded to Checker World posts thinking they were responding to Checker Cab Group posts, but they were not, they were being drawn into the new imitator. Other Facebook Checker Cab Group members were posting dual posts which became problematic because the old group and the new group were starting to look the same.
In July once the dust had settled, many Checker World members started to see a familiar name: James Hoyt. Mr. Hoyt was well known with members of the old Facebook Checker Cab Group. Earlier in a blaze of fire Mr. Hoyt had managed to anger the majority of Checker Cab Group members with racist anti French attacks on fellow group members. At the request of many members, Mr. Hoyt was exited from the group. Unfortunately, Mr. Hoyt was not done with wreaking havoc with the Checker Cab Group and its admin, over the course of the summer, Mr. Hoyt launched attacks via EBAY auctions against the admin and group members.
Posts by Hoyt were clearly not good for Facebook Checker World. As Checker World was trying to solicit new members from the Checker Cab Group, any new joiner would see James Hoyt posts. In my opinion, Mr. Hoyt is poison to many members of the Checker hobby and he would ultimately drive away members within any group he participates.
Also in July new members were exposed to admin tactics never seen before on The Checker Cab Group. A mysterious admin was popping up and censoring content, changing content and more importantly inserting himself into posts as sort of a policeman. Checker World members started to revolt, complaints were submitted to Facebook that CCCofA had created a fake Facebook profile “taxi driver” clearly against Facebook terms and conditions by the end of July the administrator was gone, but the experience left a bad taste with many members. Membership flattened out at about 230.
It’s my opinion that at this point time the CCCofA put their Checker Cab Group destruction plan into play. Stinging from member complaints, over the course of several days, CCCofA members started a phone campaign targeted to active members of the Checker Cab Group, telling them to “come to our side”. At the same time CCCofA board members started a boycott of the Checker Cab Group.
In an extremely unethical act, several Checker Cab Group members were expelled from the CCCofA with out explanation or hearing, including the Checker Cab Group admin and writer of this blog. Some of the expelled were then again given permission to rejoin as long as they left the Checker Cab Group, a standard divide and conquer approach. Thankfully all stayed firm and did not rejoin Facebook Checker World.
Again it’s an opinion, but I believe the motive was to drive a wedge and force this writer to grovel his way back into the club, its highly likely the expectation was the condition of entry back into the club would have been to shut down the Checker Cab Group or hand it over to the CCCofA, so it could be rebranded to Checker World.
While the behinds the scenes shenanigans were going on, the Facebook Checker World started to morph into a strange world of Facebook posts: spam, off subject posts and admin lectures seemed to be the norm. Monster trucks, Uber, U.S. Army tanks and Airstream trailers were now topics of discussion, not Checkers. More alarming were posts for sex, yes I said it, sex.
In the desire to increase members the admin accepted spammers. In a posting in November Checker World explained “Our philosophy has been to be welcoming to anyone who is interested in Checker cars and cabs” but clearly Checker World was not using simple screening techniques to determine if a request for membership was legitimate.
The more Checker World went off subject, the more people returned back to the Checker Cab Group. Not only did they return but new members were added. Since July the Checker Cab Group added 150 new members, meanwhile members started to drop out of Checker World.
By November Checker World was all but dead, effectively the group had two Facebook posters, George Laszlo and Checker social pariah Jame Hoyt. The single biggest poster on Checker World was James Hoyt, ironically most of his posts had nothing to do with Checkers. Subject ranges were wide for example in October Hoyts posts spanned: the Taxi cast, Airstream trailers, George Barris, parking garages, Bill Murray, Darlington Speedway, Jay Leno, gas prices and french fries yes french fires.
In one Hoyt post, he did discuss his Checker. Mr. Hoyt celebrated a major milestone, posting a photograph of is Checker odometer, it indicated 99,991 miles. Not 99,999 miles, 99,991 miles, in the strange world tha Mr. Hoyt lives in 9 miles less than 100,000 miles on the odometer is a milestone.
More telling was the lack of participation by CCCofA board members. Over five months John Wienoeft, posted just eleven times, Paul Worth intiated two posts, Anthony Mattern initiated five posts. President of the CCCofA James Garrison, never once initiated a post on Facebook Checker World, nor did any other Board members (Brad Lohsen, Gary Lohsen, Ed Bail, Becky Drake Carlson or Blake Lamar). Amazingly the majority of the Board did not post on Facebook, did they ever support the concept and strategy?
It raises the question why did they set this Facebook site up and then never actually participate? What was the strategy for the Facebook page? So important that two demos were executed at the Checker Convention, the board members did not use their own site. Why were years of friendship and partnering thrown in the dumpster?
In the five months of operation, CCCofA board members combined totaled 18 posts, the Checker Cab Group typically sees 18 posts in one day. Did the CCCofA board understand what the Facebook Checker World’s purpose? You’d have thought the CCCofA Board would have participated and supported the club and George Laszlo, how embarrassing.
When you step back and look at the events and decisions made by the CCCofA, over the last six months, one must ask how messed up is that club? Considering the fragmentation of the Checker audience created by the CCCofA Facebook antics, the underhanded tactics used to disrupt our group of fun loving Checker fans and the fact that the majority of the board appears to not even use Facebook or Checker World Facebook, we can infer that the Board is very disconnected from the Checker audience and members. I would venture a guess that the board is not even aware of the mess they, George Lazslo and John Wienhoeft created. Is it time to disband the club, maybe a good healthy reorganization is required?
The end for James Hoyt was predictable, he was ultimately removed from the group at the end of November, but not after flaming out just like he did on the Facebook Checker Cab group and the other Facebook groups he has been kicked out of for causing trouble. Hoyt’s demise was the posting of political commentary that made waves among the small number of people still reading Checker World posts. Checker World posts are typically read by about 20 to 30 people each day, a very small number of people from a cyber world perspective.
Not one, but two posts were problematic, Hoyt’s second post presented a photo of people “having fun”. The photo depicted a man in a mock position urinating on a police car. When challenged, in typical Hoyt fashion he claimed political correctness was to blame, another poster recounted that maybe the issue was common decency not political correctness. On December 1st all Hoyt posts were removed from Checker World.
Now Checker World is faced with a larger problem, the most prolific poster is now gone, who will post on Checker World? Certainly not the CCCofA Board, most have never joined Checker World let along post content.
In ironic twist of fate the CCCoA failure of Facebook Checker World created an entirely new online Checker club: The Checkercabclub.org. In a classic case of unintended consequences members flocked to the new club. While Checker World added 20 members from July thru November, over 150 new members were added to the Checker Cab Group for a total of 520 members in November of 2015. Additionally, the Checker Cab Group made extensive investments to expand its web presence and archive library. The strategy to destroy the Checker Cab Group seemed to make it stronger.
Now officially dead, we will move on and focus on our passion Checkers. The new Checker Cab Group hopes to flourish and anticipates years of Checker fun.
I’d like to personally thank Andy Taylor and the countless CCCofA members and Checker fans who helped me through a very difficult Summer and Fall, your support was greatly appreciated. I also want to apologize to the several unnamed individuals who received nighttime calls from CCCofA board members, I am so sorry you got drawn into the CCCofA soap opera. I also want to call out the CCCofA Board to look inward at your actions for the last five months and ponder whether the club motto is still valid: A Checker Owner is Never Alone.
Now a Facebook Zombie, please CCCofA shut down Facebook Checker World, its an embarrassment to the club.
Follow Up March 16, 2016
A response to Mr. Garrison’s article in the Checker Car Club of America, Newsletter
Please be truthful and stop lying.
The Checker Cab Club Archive is indeed the largest Checker Archive in the world. We have hundreds of documents beyond the small Checker World library. We have complete scanned Checker service and parts manuals for every Checker produced since 1947. We have scanned and loaded all Checker Service bullitens covering 1956 through 1966. We have Newsletters from every Checker club. We even have the 1922 Commonwealth operators manual up in our archive. We also have more CCCofA Newsletters archived than in the CCCofA archive. Bottom line nothing is bigger, show me one that is and I’ll eat my hat.
Regarding what’s in our archive, this link provides all the info.
Regarding our web site, it has a complete history of Checker and expanded narratives beyond Ben Merkel and my recently published book Checker The All-American Taxi. Comparing it to Checker World’s graphic inaccurate Checker timeline is laughable. The Facebook Checker Cab Club has over 70 historical blogs about ten times the number on Checker World. We have a direct feed from the Facebook group to our home page. The Facebook Checker Cab Club has a higher degree of web traffic too, resulting in a higher web site valuation. All this data is easily validated and true. Mr Garrison, get your facts straight.
So advanced is the Facebook Checker Cab web site, if any Checker fan wants to see a document while working on their Checker, the document can be views on an IPhone. No other car club as this feature!
Regarding copying archive material from Checker World library, yes for $25.00 I paid for the entire CCCofA library and I used the download feature provided by Checker World to download every document. I paid the Checker Car Club of American for those documents. That said, all CMC documents are in the public domain. Nothing underhanded, don’t blame me if the CCCofA executed a strategy the would allow for downloading the entire CCCofA library with a push of a button. Don’t blame the Facebook Checker Cab Club, if the Board and President of the CCCoA do not understand simple and current file sharing technologies, intellectual property right concepts or the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976.
Facebook & Website
Mr. Garrison, please look at your Checker World Facebook page and take note to postings. As of this writing March 16th 2016 Checker World has had four (4) posts since March 10th, none since this past Sunday. Within those posts only four people conduct dialog (Weinhoeft, Garrison, Lazslo and Steve C). Also please note Mr. Garrison that you have yet to initiate a single post since the Facebook Checker World was create last year. That says a lot, your Facebook page is dead.
Meanwhile The Checker Cab Club has had about 100 posts in the last week. We are the premier Checker club for dialog and up to the minute Checker fun for 627 Checker fans.
About 10 years when I was President of the Checker Car Club of America, one of the first things I did was to stop publishing the club roster. The club roster is an asset with value, once you publish a roster, you have put it in the public domain. Putting the roster into the public domain diminishes it’s value and introduced members to unwanted solicitation.
The current Checker Car Club of America has been publishing for about eight years. You can slap any warning on it you want, but none of those warnings are enforceable, nobody signs a non-disclosure agreement when they join the club. You can tell people not to use it, but then why publish it?
Assuming you could enforce it, once you expel a member for no cause without explanation, then as an club, you have nullified any agreements with that member. Bottom line, there is no wrong doing here.
With respected to “telling me not to use the mailing list”, well King Garrison again we have that pesky Constitution that protects my right to free speech and the freedom of association. Continued published references in your Newsletters accusing me of underhanded tactics will be taken as slander and prosecuted.
Mr. Garrison, you are barking up the wrong tree, you know nothing about how we fund or how we organize our club. the Constitution protects our right to privacy, our books are not open. That said, you might be very surprised to see who is funding our club. It required thousands of dollars to build and operate.
Question for Mr. Garrison
Since you now have printed two scathing editorials regarding our outcast group of over 600 Checker fans, you have yet to explain to your small audience why and how the Checker Cab Group was created, please specifically explain why I (Joe Fay) was expelled from the CCCofA. Since you have yet to explain to me, I am sure you will never address this issue. Your very actions of banning me create this outlaw Checker club.
Its OK, its not OK
Regarding your opinion regarding “ it’s not ok to degrade another club”, we have this little thing in the U.S. called the Constitution and my speech and opinions are granted to me by a higher power than Jim Garrison and that power allows me to speak my mind. I speak the truth: you and Ron Leatz destroyed a once great club. The Constitution makes it “ok” for me to speak my mind.
Mr. Garrison, after you broke our agreement not to fragment the Facebook audience, you told me your decision to break the agreement was because you wanted to “control the dialog”, well how’s that working for you?
Oh, one last point. the CCCofA is about 16 years old, not over 30. Your club has nothing to do with Don McHenry, Steve Wilson and Richard Thomas. The original club was disbanded in about 2000. A new club was formed by Bob Welch and incorporated in Indiana. You do not represent the any of the values of any past presidents mentioned. Please just go away Mr. Garrison and leave us along, stop harassing us and our members.