What has happened to Accountability and Honesty?

Mongolia as a Country Still In Market Transition

First, we have to consider the countless and vast differences between cultural service and costumer service… this is not an excuse, it is a reality. It took Taiwan 100 years to develop a culture of Customer Service – Post Soviet Mongolia is now only in its 25th year and they still have not properly addressed all the language and learning related issues throughout the country that allows a more effective and rapid methodology for them to adapt a Western/European style “Customer Service and Standards”; hence the World Economic Forum still gives Mongolia the status of a “Country in Transition” and not “Market Efficient”… My honest opinion it will take them at least another 25+ years till the country’s population nationwide begins to understand and comprehend what we take for granted in our western and European societies.

GER to GER Fair Play – Freedom of Speech vs. Unverified Slander

Please kindly understand that I am the first person to “not” interfere with the expression of peoples opinions. I think I have highlighted that quality by not negatively engaging into online criticisms over the past few years as I am a strong supporter of the “freedom of speech”. Nevertheless, I have read through some articles and blogs online and I am delighted to see that out of 6,000+ travelers there are only a small handful that have gone online to slam our organization to the extreme level bordering “slander”. Which brings up a interesting topic questions concerning “content liability” for LonelyPlanet and TripAdvisor –

Do You Ask Yourself Questions?

“How to do you verify the truthfulness of content that is being provided? And how do you verify the users that submit content about various organizations around the world? Are these users actually clients of the company or not? and etc.”

Clients and Non-Clients – Truth or Fiction

You can imagine what ethics issues are raised when non-clients make falsified reports or when clients who cheated rural people that were caught then go online to cover their tracks, etc.

Who takes responsibility for the liabilities when and if online reports are not accurate and create financial damages for many outstanding local communities and their families?

Fact Finding/True Reporting vs Hype Masters

I am a strong proponent of “evidence, facts, etc.” and I am 100% against “he said, she said”; I love both criticisms and praises as I am a humanitarian that knows growth arrives in many forms and lessons. But what discourages even the best of us humanitarians is the fact-less slander that goes unverified, unchecked and gets listed on your forums as “facts”.

Holding Humanitarians as Hostages in our Own Office and as Ransom

I can truthfully say that our organization has been held ransom 100s of times for some of the more minor and silliest items:

  1. A traveler breaks their backpack and they want us to pay for it or they threaten to go online
  2. A traveler doesn’t pay rental fees to locals for tents and threatens to go online if we report
  3. A traveler doesn’t pay for rural accommodations and threaten us to go online if we report
  4. Countless travelers have harassed and discriminated both my staff and me for years in our office during travel orientations
  5. Local competitors illegally use and sell “GER to GER” trips and we get bad representation owing to unethical local practices
  6. Countless examples, etc.

The list is long and dates back 5 years, its easy to see those that are balanced are often true clients – I respect their views and as for the one that are extremely aggressive – well they have their agendas and reasons. I am not writing to condemn their behaviors both in our office and online but rather wishing that Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor would kindly consider taking more active role in accountability to verify the truthfulness of what is being reported – is it true, is it exaggerated or is not true at all.

Thousands of Clients Over 9 Years – Less Than 1% Have Gone Online Negatively; That’s Success!

As of today, GER to GER has had 6,000+ travelers – of which less than 1% have gone online and extremely tried to slander the organization over the past 9 years… and personally I strongly believe that says a lot – its a testament to the successful operations of Mongolia’s rural communities. Granted, they still have a lot to learn but taking into consideration that this is the first time in Mongolia’s history that they are establishing an “open market economy” and 99% of Mongolia’s rural population has no idea what that means as their language is still outdated – they are doing their best.

I will be returning the United States soon and I plan to kindly raise these and many other concerns that I have.


Zanjan Fromer
Founder and CEO
GER to GER Agency and Foundation