Tnooz Human Rights Abuse Inspires S.P.A.W.N. Movement – Free the Nodes!

Exactly one year ago, on April 1, 2010, a startling exposé rocked the travel industry – revealing Tnooz Editor Kevin May as not only the travel industry’s most powerful kingmaker, but its most feared thug as well.

This year, a dangerous year-long undercover investigation concludes by casting an unwelcome light on the inner-workings of his Tnooz media empire.

Kevin May - Galley Master

With his true identity revealed last year, Kevin May has once again morphed, this time into a psyche-appropriate 15th Century Galley Master
Photo Credit: lisby1 | Flickr

An apparent gleaming pillar of journalistic excellence to outsiders, a short foray beneath its rich veneers reveals a medieval serfdom characterized by atrocious working conditions and an oppressive stifling of independent thought – Only unilateral directives executed by an underrepresented and oft-forgotten group of minions.

Perhaps the most telling indication of the relationship between Lord May and Tnooz’s seasoned and highly collaborative team of respected travel industry professionals is his decision to use the derisive term Node to describe their position within the Tnooz organization.

Node Biopsy
It is clear Mr. May, a self-professed connoisseur of the delicate and nuanced flavors of irony and sarcasm, intended from the inception of Tnooz to undermine the self esteem of his extended team of reporters and analysts through the subversive use of the term Node.

Merriam Webster‘s first four definitions of the word are:


noun ˈnōd

  1. a : a pathological swelling or enlargement
    b : a discrete mass of one kind of tissue enclosed in tissue of a different kind
  2. : an entangling complication (as in a drama) : predicament
  3. : either of the two points where the orbit of a planet or comet intersects the ecliptic
  4. a : a point, line, or surface of a vibrating body or system that is free or relatively free from vibratory motion
    b : a point at which a wave has an amplitude of zero

Seriously, how many singular nouns simultaneously describe something as a “pathological enlargement,” “entangling complication” and something with “zero amplitude”? Coincidence? I think not.

As the first definition is a medical reference, it is conceivable that Kevin was striving for an even more condescending subtext based on the definition of the term at

Node: Literally a knot, a node is a collection of tissue.

Given his penchant for clever wordplay, May obviously relished utilizing a heterograph that could reference both a knot-like mass of tissue when used as a noun and fundamentally negating existence when used as an adverb.

There is no subtlety in Kevin’s overt disdain for the Nodes: “Provide them with reasonable compensation and working conditions? I don’t want them getting fat & lazy. Plus, they might start getting big heads – That would be horrible… nobody wants to suffer through a bout of swollen Nodes…”

Targeting the Most Vulnerable
The interesting question is how does Kevin May recruit & retain this corps of formerly well-positioned and respected individuals? How can he transform thought leaders into a cult-like state of co-dependency?

It is said May begins the indoctrination process by exposing the subjects to Depeche Mode music for excruciatingly long periods – often exceeding 8-10 minutes. At critical junctures during these “nodification” sessions, participants are given no choice but to swear lifelong allegiance and submit to his will.

It is no wonder that even individuals that once proudly possessed the strongest moral constitutions quickly succumb to such heinous brutality.

While little is known regarding the physical extremes that are endured during initial node conversion, layered upon the emotional dehumanization process, Kevin also runs intermittent training camps, TCamps associated with industry events that are innocently disguised as cocktail receptions to casual observers.

These TCamps serve as physically debilitating refresher sessions in blind, unquestioning obedience. Frequently sequestered at dilapidated budget motels and isolated from their peers during industry conferences, Kevin is able to incessantly work his Nodes late into the night and early in the morning.

The photo below was captured just after dawn during the 2010 PhoCusWright Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. The physical toll of suffering as a Tnooz Node for as long as 18 months is staggering. The evidence, as shown in the photo below, is a group of Nodes that are barely recognizable when compared to the smiling faces of their Avatars on the Tnooz Node page.

Kevin May & Tnooz Slave Galley

Tnooz Slave Galley - Early morning workout at PhoCusWright Conference. (L to R) Kevin May, Timothy O'Neill Dunne, Sarah Ellis, Glenn Gruber, Dennis Schaal, Valyn Perini, Stephen Joyce, Tim Hughes & Elliott Ng

Another clue to how May sustains his enveloping blanket of control over his Nodes is founded in his insistence to utilize Skype as the primary form of communication with the group. A little known fact, the inspiration for the Tnooz THack events stemmed from May’s commissioning of developers to “enhance” certain Skype functionality so he could maintain 24-hour audio and video surveillance over his nodes.

An additional enhancement reportedly overrides the ability for Nodes to mute the Skype inbound call sound, causing them to constantly be at the beck and call of their master. Rumors also abound that he uses sophisticated subliminal messaging and advanced hypnosis techniques through the 24/7 open Skype link to ensure his compliant followers do his bidding.

Personal Stories of Alienation & Degradation
If Kevin May commands the slave galley, Tnooz North American Editor Dennis Schaal beats the drum as slave-driver. The Tnooz leader’s contempt for North American slackers is well known and these Nodes tend to bear the greatest brunt of May’s wrath.

While technically not a Node, perhaps saved from that plight by his journalistic pedigree, Schaal receives only marginally better treatment than a Node.

Schaal remarks, “While I was initially repulsed by his methods, one can’t argue with their effectiveness. Kevin taught me that a really good evisceration can be very motivational for the rest of the laggards… I mean Nodes…”

A case in point was Tnooz coverage of the 2010 PhoCusWright Conference. To ensure Dennis was fulfilling his 23 hour shift coverage commitment, Kevin moved into Dennis’ flea-bag motel room and christened it Tnooz Headquarters-West.

When asked about the working conditions during PhoCusWright, Dennis confessed, “Yeah, it was tough, and that’s saying a lot ’cause I’m from New Jersey. The only time I would get a break was when Kevin would venture out at night to pick fights with pick-up trucks full of rednecks.”

When interviewed for his perspective on the subject, Canadian Node Stephen Joyce could only muster rocking from side to side in the fetal position, sobbing quietly to himself.

Other Nodes shared stories of enduring incredible hardships to avoid interaction with Kevin. One is mobile tech guru Norm Rose. While most industry observers admire Norm’s passion about the mobile space, it was only after he was forced to embark on a nomadic existence to avoid further entanglement in the Tnooz global web of oppression that he embraced the freedom that mobile computing provides.

Another Tnooz refugee is Node Elliott Ng. Having not published a post since August 2010, Ng is currently on the run in China, moving from town to town under a myriad of assumed names, frequently in disguise, to avoid engagement with May’s private global security force.

On the other hand, residing in the UK, Alex Bainbridge crosses paths with May more often than most Nodes. “Kevin stopped by the house one day unannounced and started beating me with a sack of doorknobs. I assume I must have transgressed some unwritten law of Tnooz. My Bad – I should have known better. I felt awful having to put Kevin through that degree of physical exertion.”

Despite the unpredictable rage and unending vitriol, sadly, some disoriented US Nodes like Glenn Gruber continue to blindly support May. “Kevin is an ever-flowing font of knowledge and a consummate leader. I am always learning something from him. For example, who knew there were hidden vulgar Skype emoticons like (finger) and (mooning)…?”

Node Timothy O’Neil-Dunne also came to May’s defense, saying “Kevin can be complimentary, for example, he once called me a ‘Fekking Lout.’ I’m not exactly sure of the translation, but I believe it is a British term of endearment.”

In their confused, brainwashed states, to Nodes, May represents the consummate alpha-male. One of the few female Nodes, Valyn Perini, confesses: “He has a very powerful effect on women – they can’t trust themselves in his presence. It’s embarrassing – the number of times I have almost accidentally referred to him as “Fabio” on a Skype call…”

Another woman, Sarah Kennedy Ellis, became a Node after narrowly missing the cut to become a member of Kevin’s personal harem, the Maybelles. “It is a distinct honor to be one of his select dozen” confesses Ellis. “I am still crushed that I was not selected, but I have Kevie’s assurance that if I write some really great material, not only will I get to be a Maybelle, but I can have Schaal’s job too!”

Worst off of all may be Aussie Tim Hughes who, unable to scratch out a living as a Tnooz Node, has been forced to take a second job as an Orbitz VP, simply to put food on his family table.

Some have questioned if Tnooz CEO Gene Quinn could possibly help suppress May’s Reign of Terror through financial constraints. Quinn explains how that tactic failed from the outset and resulted in the current Tnooz budgeting process: “All I can say is that I now leave a large hamper of cash for Kevin, and he takes what he needs.”

“I want to avoid confrontational scenarios where he expresses frustration or displeasure” continues the visibly shaken CEO. “To my knowledge, over the course of history, there are no witnesses or survivors of such an exchange with Mr. May.”

Enter S.P.A.W.N.
So desperate is the plight of the Tnooz Nodes, an international coalition of human rights defenders has organized S.P.A.W.N.:

Society for the Prevention of Abject Wickedness toward Nodes.

As you read this, hundreds of volunteers are rushing to reach endangered Nodes for interventions, hoping that it is not too late.

There will be no formal charity soliciting tax deductible donations. Time is precious and money alone cannot combat the personification of evil that is Kevin May.

Instead, a global volunteer army is being assembled that will execute synchronized independent rescues of each Node. Deprogramming and re-socialization will be lengthy and painful processes. With luck, medication & extensive counseling, some Nodes may be able to regain at least a portion of their earlier lives, and perhaps, some self-esteem.

Please use the comments area to pledge your commitment to provide comfort to, and help relieve the suffering of Tnooz Nodes. Please give your time generously and feel free to share this opportunity with like minded individuals.

Join S.P.A.W.N.

Fight Tnooz Tyranny.


About Robert Cole

Robert Cole is the founder of RockCheetah, a hotel marketing strategy and travel technology consulting practice. He also authors the Views from a Corner Suite Blog and publishes the Travel Quote of the Day. Robert speaks regularly at major travel industry conferences, authors articles for leading travel industry publications, advises travel-related startups and the equity investment community. He is an evangelist for the global travel industry.