Tourbus - The Final Bus Stop

Category: Personal

In case you haven't heard, The Internet Tourbus is rolling up to its final stop. After 16 years of online publishing, Tourbus is one of the longest-running email newsletters. But two things have happened this year, prompting me to hit the brakes. Here's the full story...

Farewell, Internet Tourbus

It was the summer of 1995 when Tourbus started its journey through cyberspace, taking tens of thousands of people along for the ride. Tourbus riders visited cool sites, and also learned how to use search engines and other online reference tools. Recurring themes included how to handle spam, avoiding computer viruses and keeping those computers running smoothly.

If you've been a Tourbus subscriber since the beginning, you know all about the Squirrels and the Snickers. (If not, browse through the Tourbus Archives and the FAQ for some background.) Patrick Crispen, my original co-driver, hopped off the Bus in 2008 to focus on getting married and starting a career. Since then, I've kept things rolling.
Internet Tourbus: 1995-2011

But two recent events came together to convince me that it's time to bring the Tourbus to a stop. First, the Google Panda update hit me hard in April of this year. I make my living online, and 70% of my traffic and income disappeared overnight. So I've been scrambling to recover from that, and finding time for Tourbus has been challenging. Second, I was just informed that AOL is shutting down the LISTSERV which has powered the Tourbus newsletter since 1996.

Say what you will about AOL, but they provided this free service as part of their "Give Back To The Net" initiative for many years, and for that I owe them thanks. So with mixed emotions, I've made the decision to take the Internet Tourbus off the information superhighway. Perhaps I'll put it in "cloud storage," we'll see about that. :-)

The Good News

If you've been a Tourbus fan or subscriber, the good news is that this doesn't have to mean goodbye. The Tourbus website and archives will remain online for posterity. And for the past several years, I've been working hard here at, which continues in the spirit of Tourbus, answering your questions about the Internet, computers, technology and gadgets.

If you miss Tourbus, I encourage you to subscribe to ASKBOB UPDATES, a free email newsletter that comes out most weekdays, with a short summary of each article that I publish. As in Tourbus, I focus on these areas:

  • Free online services that will save you money
  • How-to tips to solve your hardware and software problems
  • New threats to your privacy and security
  • The coolest new websites and electronic gadgets

Over 38,000 people have signed up already, and if you haven't already, I hope you'll do the same today. One advantage of the AskBobRankin website is community. Every article gives you the opportunity to comment, ask a question or share what you know. I look forward to seeing you there!

Thanks for all your kind words and encouragement over the years. Below I've posted a comment with some of the responses I've received since making this announcement in the Tourbus newsletter. Feel free to add yours by posting below...

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Most recent comments on "Tourbus - The Final Bus Stop"

(See all 23 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Kathy MacGregor
20 Oct 2011

Thank you for all your help in whizzing around the internet. I loved your quizzes and learned a lot in my searches.
Best wishes to both you and Patrick.
Kathy M

Posted by:

20 Oct 2011

: ( shock, horror - no more Tourbus, I started receiving your emails when I bought my first computer over a decade ago now and its like part of the program. Many thanks for all the information and the sites you've led me too. Will miss this email but so happy we will still get to hear from you.
Thanks millions

Posted by:

charles urban
21 Oct 2011

Thanks for the excellent Bus ride Bob...I have been a member since at least 1996 if not 1995. You have helped me through many tech issues and made me laugh and cry at some of the websites we discovered together.
Charly Urban

Posted by:

21 Oct 2011

Oh, no! Say it isn't so! I have enjoyed and forwarded your wonderful newsletter for many, many years. I too remember the squirrels, Irvine and Tuscaloosa happenings.

The Tourbus will be sorely missed, but the chance to continue receiving newsworthy tidbits from you in the future is comforting and most welcome.

Posted by:

21 Oct 2011

What a ride, indeed!!! The Tourbus was the very first newsletter, that I ever subscribed to, back in Feb 1997. It was recommended by my dear friend Norm, who started me on the path of using a computer. He told me, that The Tourbus would be an excellent way to learn the Internet. He was right!!!

Through The Tourbus newsletters, I started learning how to use the Internet. The Tourbus would recommend a website and I would check it out. The Tourbus also, would explain things about the Internet, like Search Engines, Viruses, Software programs, that would improve your computer, so on and so forth.

Basically, The Tourbus took my fear away, about surfing the Web. It helped me gain confidence, in the way I dealt with computers. Even though The Internet Tourbus hasn't been published as much lately, I am forever grateful to both Patrick and Bob, for taking their own valuable time, to share what both had to offer.

I am just as grateful, that Bob is still doing Ask Bob Rankin!!! I dearly LOVE this newsletter. It keeps me up to date, as well as, reminding me of important things about basic computing, not to forget. I am STILL trying new programs, add-ons and apps, with Ask Bob Rankin. I look forward to every issue of Ask Bob Rankin.

Hail, Hail, Hail, to Patrick and Bob!!!

Posted by:

21 Oct 2011

Wow, I just today updated my website with the new tourbus url, and two days ago your stopped the Bus! I was on at the beginning, and it's been a great ride. Sorry it's ending, you guys were a lifesaver in the time when the web was just getting online.

I know it takes time, sorry you could not just move everyone over the mailchimp, and keep it going. I've signed up for the Bob newsletter, looking forward to it.

Posted by:

21 Oct 2011

this week has been 'one of those weeks' where a keyboard I've used since BEFORE the tourbus -- and,of course has NO letters left on it and only a few numbers -- passed. I LOVED it's feel, it's touch, the way we communicated - I'd start a sentence and it would finish it for me, through 3 Masters and one Doctorate we lovingly caressed each other. My friend, Dell, needs a coup de gras for dignity if nothing more -- yet in that time, our family home has been built around - and a single shot in the dark would bring 30 double cop cars screaming down my drive way, and a call to dispatch to explain why there would be only a single shot would have me committed. So for all I've taken and you've freely given over the years, is there an address you are comfortable sending ME so I can make a special 'donation' for all of the students down through the times that you have helped through me? Even University Professors don't know all the answers, esp the good ones. Do you have such an address where memoriums can be sent as cash money?

I thank you in advance -- because I CAN - once every computer came WITH a keyboard, AND a mouse -- no extra charge! Only now, most don't work because my Belov'd Dell keyboard,like a Timex, took the lickin' -- and kept on ticking. Until a frantic 30 minutes ago. RIP. And that address for Memoriums????

Thank you in advance - paul Galioni Ed.D, D.D. (you see it WAS spiritual!)

Bob, serious about that address. thanks - paul

Posted by:

21 Oct 2011

I have been on the tourbus from the beginning and it has served me well -- I cannot thank you enough for what you have done and what you continue to do. I am on your Ask Bob list and intend to stay with you as long as you willing to help us.

Posted by:

Jungle Lady
21 Oct 2011

I've been along for the ride for years.....and learned something from each and every newsletter!

I'll miss the Tourbus but at least I'll have your email updates.

Thank you for all you have done to help me, Bob!


Posted by:

Saul S. Rabia
21 Oct 2011

"What A Ride"
To be able to say: "I Remember When"
Thank you.
PS. I knew all about the Squirrels etc.
Hope they're all doing well.

Posted by:

Mike Petersen
21 Oct 2011

I've enjoyed reading all of the newsletters. It's a shame the bus is coming to a stop. You and Patrick have taught me a lot and I want to let you know I appreciate your sharing. As a teacher your site has been a great tool keeping me up to date with the Internet advances. Thanks for the ride!

Posted by:

Richard Eskins
21 Oct 2011

Thanks Bob, and good luck for the future.


Posted by:

21 Oct 2011

I wish you well. I have enjoyed your very useful newsletter all these years and look forward to the ASKBOB UPDATES.

Posted by:

21 Oct 2011

Been subscribed to your Ask Bob blog for awhile, but the TOURBUS was one of the first newsletters I subscribed to when I first hit the highway in 1995. I've learned a lot over the years from you and will always chuckle when remembering the squirrel story.

Thank you is inadequate, but that's all I got.
Be well.

Posted by:

Jerry Freeman
21 Oct 2011

Thanks so much Bob! I've learned so much from your newsletters. Take care and may you have success each day in all that you do. Thanks again for a fantastic ride!!


Posted by:

26 Oct 2011

Thanks so much Bob for all Tourbus newsletters since 1995. They were very useful.
The Tourbus stop but I want to continue the way with your Askbob updates.

Posted by:

Karen Bushy
26 Oct 2011

Just a sincere 'thank-you' from an old lady who is loving the idea of learning about computers. You've been a great help - look forward to more good stuff on your other site.

Posted by:

Arno Pucher
27 Oct 2011

Hi Bob.

As a TOURBUS Rider from 1995 it's sad to hear.
I remember all the joy which THE BUS brought to us. How many sites would have been unknown w/o the brave bus drivers ...

Thanks for 2^4 yrs of fun from Austria,
Best Regards Arno aka Eol Ruin

Posted by:

27 Oct 2011

Hello bob I've been receiving the tour bus newsletter and it's sad to hear that you're putting an end to Tour Bus but the good thing is that I'll keep receiving your ask bob ranking news letter yay!! well keep up the good work bob.


Posted by:

28 Oct 2011

Thanks for the help, advice and tips. Without you I wouldn't have had one of the first addresses, nor would I have learned about some of the crafty ways to avoid spam, viruses and other nasties floating around the info superhighway. Thanks to you, and your colleagues for the effort and keep up the good work on your site!

There's more reader feedback... See all 23 comments for this article.

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