Messing about with IATA email scammers, relevance of social media measurement tools, and uncovering what really happened when a major travel service was taken offline...
A trio of stories which hit the (personal) mark during 2013.
Exposed: How online fraudsters dive deep into IATA processes to secure payments
Most journalists would probably (hopefully!) admit that their favourite types of stories are when they get to sink their teeth into a particular issue, ruffle a few feathers along the way and provide a service or important piece of information for readers.
And so, in some respects, this story ticked all three boxes as we slowly uncovered the complex and detailed methods a group of email fraudsters were going to in order to extract money from IATA members.
The story started purely by accident, with Tnooz targeted with an email of its own (an error on the part of the fraudsters) which we decided to follow up on.
What made the story probably better than a simple "Fraudsters target IATA members" news piece was when it seemed to take on a life of its own as the fraudsters decided to engage with us in what looked like an increasingly desperate process to get their money.
We soon realised, however, various authorities would need to be involved, including IATA itself, a bank and, eventually, the police.
The final outcome was perhaps one of the strongest investigative pieces on Tnooz to date, which despite getting rather sinister towards the end (when the fraudsters got rather upset at being exposed) illustrated to the industry the lengths some will go to in order to carry out a fraud.
It also made a refreshing change to be writing about IATA and not in the context of NDC :) .
Klout scores and social media impressions – a bit of a joke or a genuine currency in marketing?
Social measurement services such as Klout may have polarised commentators (broadly, Tnooz is not a huge fan) but have given brands an opportunity to try something different with their marketing.
This analysis looked at a promotion by American Airlines to reward high-earning Klout members with free access to a lounge.
It asked whether existing lounge users, who presumably pay top dollar to not be a part of the economy set, would mind having their airport abodes cluttered with social media-loving Klout starts.
The story also examined the role of Twitter and so-called "reach" of these apparently influential individuals.
Inevitably, comments underneath the story added even more to the overall debate.
BBC defends suspension of Lonely Planet Thorn Tree as details emerge over original complaint
Late-2012 (and into 2013) and the BBC was in a bit of a pickle after it closed the popular Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum due to what it said was "inappropriate content".
We found out in January that the decision to suspend the service had been triggered after a forum user contacted the then acting director-general of the BBC with concerns about content on the forum.
The complaint was made by an individual who claimed to be writing a piece for the New York Times.
It emerged - and exposed in this story - that the no such article had ever been commissioned by the NYT, meaning the BBC had essentially been hoodwinked.
Interestingly, as the issue was unfolding in the first few months of the year, BBC executives were also in talks to sell Lonely Planet to NC2 Media, a deal which was eventually announced in March.
NB:2013 laptop image via Shutterstock.