Damiross, first of all dont worry, I dont take it personally. Six months ago a comment like yours would have really bothered me, now I just use these as opportunities to educate.
Checkinsooner is doing is nothing more than offering a service site for travelers. The service is offered and available if you want to use it. If not, no problem that is YOUR choice. Not my choice, not Southwests choice. We all use many services every day. No one has ever made a claim you have to use checkinsooner / boardfirst to do something you cant do for yourself.
In an airport context a if you have 3 heavy bags a bag porter will gladly take them and check you in curbside for a fee of $6 or so. May people happily tip a little extra for good service. Why are there not scores of people at the curbs pointing at bag porters and calling them nasty names for helping people carry their bags? Why dont you point at the people paying the $6 and heap contempt on them for paying someone for something they can and should do on their own?
My travel agent (Ovation travel) is one of the largest travel agencies around I do not have to use their site I am more than capable is more than capable of buying a ticket direct from aa.com. Yet I and thousands of people like me use Ovation travel or Expedia or some other travel agency every day, because we value the site, service, customer support whatever. Does Southwest bar a travel agent from purchasing a ticket for/on behalf of a traveler? No way. They dont pay expedia like AA and United pay Expedia for every ticket they sell, but they do not prevent a travel agency like Ovation from purchasing a ticket for me. If they were serious about 3rd parties not having access to travelers information they should bar bag porters at the airport and bar travel agencies from calling them on the phone. An unscrupulous bag porter is a whole lot more dangerous than me. Is Southwest going to bar them? I dont think so.
In a non-airport context we use services all the time. This message I am writing on a Windows PC. I could use linux / firefox and write a message for free, but I choose to use the Microsoft product and pay Microsoft a licensing fee for running the software on my computer. If it was up to your line of thinking, Microsoft is no different than Ticketmaster and people who use their products are supporting a company that is trying to rip you off.
What is the criteria where you see a valid service need being met by bag porters, Expedia, and Microsoft, but for checkinsooner/boardfirst it is somehow wrong?
The other point I want to strongly address is the comment What makes you think you are smarter than the management of Southwest? They are looking out for their customers while all you are doing is ripping them off. Let me say this very loudly ***** SOUTHWEST IS NOT LOOKING OUT FOR THEIR CUSTOMERS *** **I agree there is risk in having 3rd parties have access to information, be that information confirmation numbers or email addresses. But there are situations where I accept and know the risk and use the service anyways. Southwest is not my daddy and they cant tell me who I can / can not communicate with. Again, bag porters and travel agents come to mind here. They have access to lots more data than I do and if they abuse that access it would hurt. Given that element of risk always exists, I contacted management of Southwest back in January, explaining what I was doing and asking to work with them to come up with a framework where we can securely store and transmit data between each other. They want nothing to do with that idea and refused me. If they were looking out for their customers they would talk to me and also bar bag porters / travel agents. The Internet is global, so if I shut down and boardfirst shuts down the need will be met from somewhere. Think Chinese / former USSR websites that ask for customers data in response for a service. Some of those could be valid, some could be fraud sites. How will southwest customers be served if there are early checkin sites being run out of Tajikistan? I am giving Southwest an opportunity to make airline travel safer and more convenient for everyone, and on this point they are not part of the solution.