TravelZoo Still Willing To Pay For Gimmick Shares

from the odd dept

Earlier this year we noted that many, many people appeared to have completely forgotten that they had signed up with TravelZoo during the bubble. Travelzoo’s initial gimmick to get users is that they gave you free shares in the company for signing up. It appeared that most people assumed, like so many bubble-era gimmicks, that the company behind it simply faded away. However, the company survived, and the stock actually has done quite well. The only problem was that those who owned shares were supposed to make a claim by April. However, after that news came out, some people got upset that they missed the deadline and (amazingly) Travelzoo decided to honor those requests, saying they would pay out in cash what the shares were worth… and yet still most people have completely ignored the offer, which can be worth somewhere between $500 to $1600 for an awful lot of people.

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Comments on “TravelZoo Still Willing To Pay For Gimmick Shares”

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Alex Moskalyuk (user link) says:

I was a shareholder

I was a shareholder till a week ago. As a subscriber to their newsletter and referrer of 3 subscribers, I got 8 shares when they distributed them. For a while it was worth like $4, so I mainly ignored, but when I read a editorial on TZOO rise, I requested my certificate, when the stock passed $65 and sold at $82. Bummer, I know, it hit $100 recently, I am still puzzled about their stock growth, but free money is free money.

mickster says:

I was a shareholder too until a month ago...

I had signed up in 1998. I signed up for the updated share info and got 3 shares. It split to six shares. I sold it for $71.50. I then shot up to over 105 and came back to the 80’s last i saw.

It was nice to get $410 for nothing more than signing up for a web site. I’ve never even used the product. But-they do have great earnings and profit from-gasp-internet advertising.

The reason for the run-up was due to the small number of shares available to trade. A lot of people sold this stock short before their last quarter earnings. Shares needed to be purchased to cover the short positions. Due to the high demand for so little available stock to cover those positions, the price went at a premium. Since most short sellers are now covered, the stock is coming back down to earth. The average share was held for less than a day during the peak of trading.

There are 2 reasons for the lack of shares. 1) The CEO owns about 80% I think, of all shares. 2) There are, by my best guess, a lot of people like me, with a handful of shares, that are just sitting idle and unclaimed.

The extension mentioned is for those who did not sign up for their updated stockholder information. I had to send in some share forms, opened a Sharebuilder account and sold the stocks for $15 commision. It cost me about $40 out of pocket with overnight fees and trips to the bank, but it was worth the effort.

Steve Shushkovsky says:

Travelzoo free shares

I was one of those who subscribed for Travelzoo’s newsletter and received three free shares of the company.
By now I have lost information on the account, and since I changed email address I stopped receiving their newsletter as well.
The company’s web site suggests in lieu of account number that I enter email address I was registered under… but then says “unknown email address”.
Their contact list does not have a phone number or email address. I wrote them a letter but not sure they will make good on the promise (they can say “we don’t have any information”).
Is there a way for me to recover my shares or whatever they are worth now?
I will highly appreciate any advice you can give.
Thank you,
— Steve

Marge says:

Re: Travelzoo free shares

I just ran across some of my old papers and found my Travelzoo info. I too had forgotten about signing up for shares, and have also changed email addresses. I don’t know anything about owning shares but am willing to learn. Did you ever find out how to go about getting (and redeeming?) your shares? Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks a lot!

Jennifer says:

Free Travelzoo Stock

I took advantage of the free Travelzoo stock years ago. I sent the offer to a few of my friends, asking them to use my email as a referral, and next thing I knew, I had my 10 shares, even though they were essentially worthless at the time. I didn’t lose hope. I kept check on the website and the status of the stock, updated info as needed, and registered when asked to. The stock finally went public and has even split since then, leaving me with 20 shares of stock that were, at one time, worth $100 each.

Not a bad return on an investment of only time and patience.

If there are ever any more free stock offerings, I will be the first in line. It is quite amusing to read the skeptical stories that you can still find on the internet from 1998 when the offer was made. I figured I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. This time I was right.

Rich says:


I have 16 shares of the stock from signing up and signing up others under me. I am holding onto them
I don’t think travel zoo is going to fail.

You did have to convert your free shares into real shares a couple years back. I did and requested the stock certificates.

hopefully they will grow and the stocks will split and continue to do well.

Kouros says:


I also signed up for the email way back when to get the free shares. The email address that I had signed up was no longer valid, but I follow up on their instructions to get my shares issued to me. If you provided your correct personal information in the first place when you signed up for the email, you would not have a problem providing identity info to get the shares.

I sold my shares in the mid 70’s to make something over $400 – which of course I had to pay taxes on.

You can follow links from to their Investor Relations section to get more details. They direct you to for “Program for Previous Stockholders Who Missed Deadline”.

Hope this is helpful.

Linda Baxter says:

Travelzoo free shares

I got the free travelzoo shares back in 1998 and do not have the same email address and am having a hard time finding the papers that were printed out with proof of shares.. does anyone know how to resolve this problem? I cant even remember half of my old email addresses… It’s not fair that they put a expiration date on it.

Joanne C. says:


I also have 6 shares that I singed up for in 1998, and I have my member id and password but no papers any longer. I have tried seveal time to contact Travel Zoo but they make it really difficult. Can we still collect the shares even though the date was April, and if it was April why wasn’t I notified of the date to cash in shares.
I think I am going to write to the company.

Joanne C. says:


I also have 6 shares that I singed up for in 1998, and I have my member id and password but no papers any longer. I have tried seveal time to contact Travel Zoo but they make it really difficult. Can we still collect the shares even though the date was April, and if it was April why wasn’t I notified of the date to cash in shares.
I think I am going to write to the company.

Susan says:

Re: Travelzoo - Just got my check

Bev –

Good for you! Have you had the same email address or did you have the stock cert. numbers?

I have been struggling to figure out what my email address was when I signed up for the free shares. I am just going to take an estimated guess, fill out the papers, send them in and cross my fingers.

Todd.Los Angeles (profile) says:

Travelzoo - letter from Computershare c/o Georgeson

Yep, I too just received this letter from Computershare. Is this a scam or what? I know I signed up with Travelzoo a long time ago and have used their services, but I had no clue or were ever aware that I received their free stocks when I signed up years ago. I have 6 Travelzoo’s stocks.

Skip says:

Travelzoo - letter from Computershare c/o Georgeson

I too received the same letter. If you received the letter, you had a number to call. 1-800-632-6352. Too bad this letter didn’t come in April of 2011. The stock price was at 100.00 a share. Have no clue what drove up the price then, but they say history repeats itself. Either way, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Mark says:

Travelzoo stock certificate

Got the latest offer, and looked up the stock history. Wasn’t thrilled with the latest offer, the commission overhead seems excessive, and the per-share offer they give ($30) outright gouging! Current share price is $23!!!

Found that you can have them send you the certificate directly, so that you can use your own broker – only downside is you need to get a medallion signature (which our bank does with no fuss) –

Dan says:

Travelzoo Buyback through Georgeson

Mark – I think you are misreading the letter – they are not offering you to buy shares at $30 when the price is $23. They are saying to send $30/share that you want to buy (because they don’t know the actual market price that they will execute your Buy Order with, but assume it won’t be more than $30/share). Then they’ll execute the Buy at the then-current share price and will reimburse you the difference ($30 minus whatever they bought the new shares at, times the number of shares). They are trying to make it easy for you to buy shares – not gouging you.

The 3% fee to sell your shares, assuming you have 6 or 10 shares like most of the people they’re sending these letters to, will amount to a max of a $7.50 fee – not bad.

In all it looks like a fair offer, especially considering that most people got these shares for adding their email address to a mailing list (and then being taken off the mailing list as soon as they received their shares).

Time for me to cash in on the 1 minute that it took me to obtain 10 shares of TZOO for free. I expect to get about $230 for them. Annualized, $230/minute is $28,704,000 – not a bad rate of pay, even for just a minute.

Barbara says:

They can't find my stock

I did not get the letter, as my email and address etc have changed over the years. I have no documentaion of those shares anymore, lost it in the move. I called the number my friend got on her letter (she got her stock because of me) and they can’t find me in their system. They gave me a number to call for Travel Zoo and they cant find me either. Basically said tough luck, no $ for you.

Michelle says:


I responded to the letter and sold my 6 shares. I am a complete dummy when it comes to stock; I signed up for these years ago simply because they were free. Do I need to put this sale somewhere on my tax return? Will Computershare or Georgeson be sending me any kind of tax statement? If so, it should arrive any day now, but I’m not sure if I’m waiting on something that is never going to come.

wayne cartwright (user link) says:

how do i cash these in and were

I just ran across some of my old papers and found my Travelzoo info. I too had forgotten about signing up for shares, and have also changed email addresses. I don’t know anything about owning shares but am willing to learn. Did you ever find out how to go about getting (and redeeming?) your shares? Any info would be appreciated.
any help will be a help

Sara says:

Travelzoo Buyback of free stock from 1998

I just got an e-mail saying they were selling my stocks whether I want to or not. Here’s a copy. I have no clue wiath a reverse/forward stock split is, but I think I’m going to give up and take the money. I think today’s stock price is 21 and some cents, and I am going to hold on sending to see if the price goes up or down in the interim.

Travelzoo shareholders approved a reverse/forward stock split transaction consisting of a 1-for-25 reverse stock split of Travelzoo’s outstanding common stock, followed immediately by a 25-for-1 forward stock split. As a result of the reverse/forward split, shareholders who held fewer than 25 shares of Travelzoo common stock immediately prior to the execution of the reverse/forward stock split have had their shares converted into the right to receive a cash payment. A description of the terms and conditions of the reverse/forward split was set forth in Travelzoo’s definitive Proxy Statement for the 2013 annual shareholders meeting filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on July 25, 2013.

To better process this payment, we respectfully request that you complete a W-9 tax-payer form found here.The IRS requires proceeds from such transactions to be reported on a form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions. In order to comply with this responsibility, we need your taxpayer identification number. If we do not receive your taxpayer ID prior to our payment to you, we will be required to deduct backup withholding from the payment at the rate specified by the IRS, which is currently 28%.

In order to avoid backup withholding, please print and complete a Form W-9 found here and return to our transfer agent, Computershare:

Computershare Tax Operations
P.O. Box 43078
Providence RI 02940-3078

Please ensure that “Travelzoo” is added under the Company Name field on the printed Form W-9 to allow Computershare to accurately update your records with your tax information. If you do not know your “Holder Account Number” you can leave blank.This completed W-9 information must be returned to Computershare no later than 30 days from the date of this letter in order to ensure we consider it for the appropriate tax withholding treatment before a check is sent to you.

End of e-mail

francis says:

travelzoo free stocks

i have done all of the contacting required. i was told on 11-11-13 that the payment would arrive in 4-6 weeks. i called today 1-28-14, 11 weeks later, and computershare who is handling their reverse/forward(?) payment says that they have no info from travelzoo as to what to do. their computer replies to my questions, before i spoke to a telephone answerer, kind of accepted my input by letting me go on but said it did not recognize my answers. i have received computershare receipts showing my holdings, account numbers and recognizing my SS number as my tax ID. i have sent the forms they asked for. the person i spoke to seemed to be giving me answers their legal department had instructed, which was that she knows nothing. i did not ask for responsible person this time but i will call again next week. i asked her if she could tell me what the stock was currently valued and she said she could not give me that info. in the first minute of my call with the computer the value WAS given to me. after asking her another time and then telling her that the computer had already given me the value she confirmed the value. the entire phone call was very mysterious – like their hide someting – like a deadline that will allow them to not make the payout.

Barbara Mann says:

Free shares from Travelzoo

Back in 1998, I signed up for 3 shares of stock from Travelzoo, my pin code #69672 and the shares number are 9489910, 9489911, 9489912 and have never heard anything about the shares and now I would like to sell them. Maybe you can help me on this subject. I hope you can help to find out about these shares that I have. Will be waiting to hear from Travelzoo about these shares.

Kenn (profile) says:

Travel Zoo - Email I used TWELVE YEARS AGO

My wife and I also signed up for shares and never followed up. Now I hear that the government has some dividends in the form of abandoned property, but in order to get these funds I will need to verify ownership and that appears to be by use of the original email address, which I absolutely do not know. It does not appear to be any way to reach the company and there appears to be no way to verify identity by way of SSN or other method. Any ideas?

Chris (profile) says:

Free shares of stock

I like others on this forum have signed up for the 3 free shares of stock in an email, I guess back in 1998. I was thinking it was some kind ofn a gimmick and what did I have to lose. You know how the internet is, if it sounds to good to be true, it usually is. I don’t even remember hearing back from them after I signed up.

Well it must of been for real because I just recently received a check from Travelzoo for about $100. I called them up and the lady said that they sold my shares of stock and closed up my account. Hell, I didn’t even know I had an account. I asked her, why did they sell these shares of stock I supposedly owned? She told me that their policy has changed as to how many shares of stock you must have to stay with the company.

I didn’t try to cash the check yet because I wasn’t sure if it is a scam or not. But by reading the other posts on here, I guess it’s legit.

Now I’m wondering. What do I have to do for taxes on this next year?

Oh yeah I also received a W-9 tax form asking for my social security number. This is why I thought it was some kind of a scam because and they also want me to send it back to Computershare at a P.O. box # in Texas.

The lady I talked also said she will send me more info in the mail. So, I’m not going to cash this check or give out any kind of information until I receive it.

Has anyone else on here had this happen to them recently?

Amy says:

Travelzoo free shares

Hi, Mike.

Hopefully, I can help you and all the others here wondering about those free TravelZoo shares.

I have been thinking about the shares in TravelZoo I earned for free when they were starting for years, assuming it was nothing. Recently, I saw an ad for them on TV and wondered whatever happened to those shares. So, I searched the gov website in the state I lived in when I signed up and found that they had unclaimed property for me from TravelZoo. Shocker! All I know is it’s more than $50 but, since I lost my job 4 months ago without any jobs in my profession in my area, free money is good money.

Good Luck!

Tom says:

money owed

Was bored recently and decided to check my former states(PA) unclaimed property website. Found that they have over $100 for me from Travelzoo, and under $100 for my wife. They only say over/under $100 there so no idea how much it is until I get a response back from them. Hopefully some others come across this and check their state to see. Every penny helps these days, Good Luck!

Sandra Reinders says:

Original shares

My late husband owned shares, after he passed away I was clearing up the Estate and asked Tavelzoo to please change to my name as I am ?Executrix, widow and sole heir. I sent all documents required and was told sorry too bad we sold your shares with the recent stock split. I then received in the mail a cheque payable to my late husband not his Estate. Travelzoo were well aware he was deceased. I feel the company should do the right thing and reissue his shares in my name. We were not even offered the opportunity to purchase more shares to meet the requirement. We were the original shareholders and had faith in this new company, yet they chose to turn their back on us…not sure if I would want to be associated with or do business with a company with this type of business practices!

junie says:


I got my check from looking in my states unclaimed money site. I filed online and just provided my ss number, email and new name and address. it only took 12 days. I thought this company went under and forgot all about and today I search the Internet to find info on this to refresh my memory. I did sign up for free shares in 1998 but don’t have any paperwork anymore. thanks for free money, it makes my day.

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