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The points and miles blog business model

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Old May 18, 13, 3:15 pm
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Originally Posted by ma91pmh View Post
Y'all are seriously mistaken if you think the blogs aren't bringing in profitable customers. The gamers are a real small niche of it
Taking a step back and looking at some of the more recent blog posts about cards, I think you may have a point.

Many of the posts are not about churning anymore. They are about what are the best cards to have and hold. Now that I think about it I haven't seen a true 'here is a good churn' post in some time.

I wonder how much of that is due to the influence of the affiliates either because they are overtly warning bloggers not to go on about churning or maybe because bloggers are shifting the focus of their posts about cards because they want to stay in the good graces of their affiliate revenue sources.
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Old May 18, 13, 4:07 pm
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post

I wonder how much of that is due to the influence of the affiliates either because they are overtly warning bloggers not to go on about churning or maybe because bloggers are shifting the focus of their posts about cards because they want to stay in the good graces of their affiliate revenue sources.
Some offers do not consider duplicate applications a valid lead (only new customers for that particular product will earn commission - depending on the advertiser).
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Old May 18, 13, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
Many of the posts are not about churning anymore. They are about what are the best cards to have and hold. Now that I think about it I haven't seen a true 'here is a good churn' post in some time.
I continue to see postings about churning, but if there's been a move away perhaps it underscores how much the blogs are not written for us but for the general public, and that there's more growth and revenue potential in reaching a broader audience (and being their source for credit card signups) than in writing for a cadre of experts.
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Old May 18, 13, 5:08 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyFasterFlyFarther View Post
I continue to see postings about churning, but if there's been a move away perhaps it underscores how much the blogs are not written for us but for the general public, and that there's more growth and revenue potential in reaching a broader audience (and being their source for credit card signups) than in writing for a cadre of experts.
I have not been a newbie in a long, long time so it is hard for me to look at blogs from that perspective.

But I would imagine that were I newbie, I would be reading blogs to become an expert at generating maximum points (churning cards). Not because I only wanted a few more points (earning from cards).

Then again, maybe lots of newbies don't know there there is a difference.
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Old May 18, 13, 5:13 pm
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I think there's a difference between a 'newbie' (in the Flyertalk sense, comes here to become an expert in these dark arts) and the 'general public'.

With a publicist and all sorts of media appearances now, for instance, TPG certainly looks to be targeting the general public for advice.

That's a large group of folks who might be interested in "what's the best credit card?" but probably not "how can I maximize 4-6 credit cards every 90 days, and extract retention bonuses before the annual fees come do?"

There's nothing wrong with either approach, I think, they are just meeting the needs of a different set of people. And going after a broader audience may be more profitable.

10,000 people signing up for 16 cards a year vs. 10 million people signing up for 1 and then might get sold a second card.
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Old May 18, 13, 6:30 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyFasterFlyFarther View Post
I think there's a difference between a 'newbie' (in the Flyertalk sense, comes here to become an expert in these dark arts) and the 'general public'.

With a publicist and all sorts of media appearances now, for instance, TPG certainly looks to be targeting the general public for advice.

That's a large group of folks who might be interested in "what's the best credit card?" but probably not "how can I maximize 4-6 credit cards every 90 days, and extract retention bonuses before the annual fees come do?"

There's nothing wrong with either approach, I think, they are just meeting the needs of a different set of people. And going after a broader audience may be more profitable.

10,000 people signing up for 16 cards a year vs. 10 million people signing up for 1 and then might get sold a second card.
So at some point we are going to see Gary or Seth or Daraius on Today or Fox and Friends talking about buying Shell gift cards at Office Depot with the Ink Bold!?

Of the three Daraius definitely has the Matthew Lesko/Randy Petersen thing going on:





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Old May 19, 13, 9:57 am
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I have said it before...The BIG money in this space is targeting the newbies and definitely not the FT types who post in these obscure threads

FTG has been a master at it and probably got out at the best time. TPG is taking this whole "hobby" to incredible levels flirting with the mainstream due to his amazing SEO and PR machines. MMS also grabbed a good niche with his "I will explain everything so good with pics & arrows" that is up there too. Notice all three are independent blogs and not under an umbrella like Boarding Area. This is incredibly difficult to do and it can not be done without doing if full time imho (unless you are Superman).

I believe that the most successful blogs get a lot of "expert" points by being associated with us FT types AND by presenting (really the same stuff they blog about) in events like FTU and Chicago Seminars. They strengthen relationships with the FT type attendees and welcome a bunch of newbies in the fold...

Please don't get me started about the Boarding Area blogs. I have no doubt that most would not be in existence if the affiliate income was not present with the Boarding Area "umbrella".

i attended the FTU event at LAX last year. I now have personal issues whether to attend another one because I may be contributing to this "phoneomenon"
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Old May 19, 13, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
But: the banks are paying bloggers who are obviously bringing in ONLY GAMERS.
I don't believe this is accurate at all.
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Old May 19, 13, 3:45 pm
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Originally Posted by gpapadop View Post
Please don't get me started about the Boarding Area blogs. I have no doubt that most would not be in existence if the affiliate income was not present with the Boarding Area "umbrella".
What BA really delivers to bloggers (for US eyeballs) is excellent negotiated advertising deals. Substantially, by large multiples, more than Google AdSense pays. That is why Loyalty Traveler, for eg, survives happily without card links.
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Old May 19, 13, 5:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
What BA really delivers to bloggers (for US eyeballs) is excellent negotiated advertising deals. Substantially, by large multiples, more than Google AdSense pays. That is why Loyalty Traveler, for eg, survives happily without card links.
I certainly agree and the base monthly income bloggers can get from BA is nice to have, especially if you do this in your spare time. Then we have the outliers as in Loyalty Traveler who is one of the people I have found less motivated by greed and then, on the other hand, we have a bunch of bloggers who do this very part time, do not contribute positively with any decent quality content but have become master credit card link pushers.

I also agree that WE provide a good base of new credit card apps but the MAJOR $$$ is in the thousands of silent newbies who read in their spare time and more who keep coming aboard after they discover this "hobby" in, you know, New York Times and other mainstream media.

This is why you should send them all to my blog to get educated...I am kidding, I am kidding, hold the tomatoes please
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Old May 19, 13, 6:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
What BA really delivers to bloggers (for US eyeballs) is excellent negotiated advertising deals. Substantially, by large multiples, more than Google AdSense pays. That is why Loyalty Traveler, for eg, survives happily without card links.
Well, the CPC/PPC isn't exactly large multiples more, but the enhanced visibility of the site increases revenue from reader click hopping from one blogger to the next.

Moneywise, as a person with a smaller blog right now I would probably get a 20-30% increase in CPC revenue through the BA channel.

Certainly agree that it keeps people afloat though.
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Old May 20, 13, 3:14 am
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Originally Posted by brooklynmatt View Post
Well, the CPC/PPC isn't exactly large multiples more, but the enhanced visibility of the site increases revenue from reader click hopping from one blogger to the next.

Moneywise, as a person with a smaller blog right now I would probably get a 20-30% increase in CPC revenue through the BA channel.
Even a 30 per cent increase, after Randy's 50 per cent cut, implies he can get 2.5x more per spot than Google gets - which is good going. But he can deliver better than that, based on discussion I've had with BA bloggers and comparing with my AdSense numbers.
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Old May 20, 13, 6:58 am
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Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
Even a 30 per cent increase, after Randy's 50 per cent cut, implies he can get 2.5x more per spot than Google gets - which is good going. But he can deliver better than that, based on discussion I've had with BA bloggers and comparing with my AdSense numbers.
Well yes, it is good against generic google, google is one of the worst payers for adspace, though they will offer more than what he can get should your site be very niche (that's no easy task).

Most people I know who are serious about monetization don't use adsense anyway, since the amount they pass onto the blogger is such a low percentage, they would rather use affiliate links from CJ, FlexOffers etc. Many start out with it, then shift to a different system once readership has increased sufficiently.

Generally speaking I am quite positive about Randy and his approach to revenue sharing, surprisingly it is more generous that some of the other players in the space, which considering the more established nature of BA is a very decent thing.
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Old May 22, 13, 7:51 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Very few, if any, are that high AFAIK. But clearing 6 figures can be done and has been done by more than a few that I'm aware of.

As for barriers to entry, the process of setting up the server is trivial. I have previously and continue to offer configuration and hosting of such to anyone who wants it, free of charge, so they can set up their blog. Producing content is not trivial. Producing enough content to gather sufficient readers that the bigger (and more lucrative) banks will work with you is even harder still. Just throwing a website up at KokosCuckooForPoints.com isn't going to have Chase or AmEx beating down your door to push their affiliate links.
Then there are those pesky DMCA fair use takedown requests to deal with too
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Old Jun 2, 13, 11:29 am
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I've love some input on affiliate links here. As you may well know I had a post about a certain mistake fare from Seychelles to Dublin. I said it was bookable on expedia.co.uk, and I also just happened to have affiliate links to that site.
So what is the "ethical" manner of doing this? I didn't put the link in if anyone is interested to know...
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