Loyalty Traveler changes

Old Apr 18, 15, 11:51 pm
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Loyalty Traveler changes

Does anyone know what has happened to the Loyalty Traveler blog?

Seems like there has been a shift from a 10 year+ focus on creative budget travel bookings to very frequent posts on rather ordinary airfare deals from SF Bay Area.

Has Ric addressed this new direction in any post? What is the motivation for these abrupt changes.

I understand the need to monetize his site. But his various trip reports were always a treat and I thought he brought a unique voice to BA. I don't understand the attempt to compete with Flight Deal and other blogs.

I worry that too much volume may cause people to drop the blog entirely. Will the massive increase in lower quality posts hurt Loyalty Traveler?
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Old Apr 19, 15, 4:03 pm
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Tried asking him? The nice thing about blogs on the Internet is that it's reasonable to have a relationship with your readers, rather than posting concerns in the FT Smack Talk Forum.
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Old Apr 19, 15, 5:48 pm
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abrupt change between when and when?
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Old Apr 20, 15, 8:07 am
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Ric has started including more airfare finds lately, though it seems like he still has a similar level of hotel, general travel, etc. like usual. It appears the airfare stuff is supplementing rather than replacing - at least that's my impression. Actually it's nice to have a different blogger besides the usual suspects posting airfare deals. LT is one blog that I do regularly read and like, and he doesn't pimp CC apps either.
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Old May 11, 15, 8:28 am
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A whole thread on Flyertalk about my blog. I guess I have made the big time.

The addition of airfare deals was motivated by a need for more page views for Loyalty Traveler blog. Ad revenue has dropped by more than 50% in the past two years, meaning 100,000 page views pays me less than half what I used to get. I can't publish two blog posts per day anymore and make enough ad revenue to stay afloat.

I'll probably start affiliate links this year too for hotel bookings.

Too many bloggers are writing in the hotel space these days to allow me to post content in the hotel space that is uniquely different enough from stuff readers see on other blogs. BoardingArea has become the 800-blog gorilla crowding me out.

I'd love to only write about places to go, but those stories do not generate enough interest to pay a living wage. I started blogging as a lifestyle job, so I can work from home and organize my days the way I want to live my days. For eight years, I have been sustaining my self-employment without the need to sell readers anything from affiliate links.

I'm not competing with The Flight Deal. There are frequently California routes on The Flight Deal, but I find there are many other routes too that do not get mentioned. As a California based person, I figured I can toss out some of the low fare deals I find with a California and west coast airports focus.

I hope readers don't think these are ordinary fares. Airfares are wave sets with peaks and troughs. I try to point out routes when they are in the trough price zone. I am not looking for mistake fares. I simply keep track of the trends to be more informed myself and help readers recognize deals in the limited window of purchase opportunity fares exist. San Francisco to Cape Town at $890 on British Airways may not seem like a deal until you find you want to go to South Africa and the fare is $1,500. Paris at $1,200 round trip is an ordinary fare. I want readers to know that $620 to Gothenberg, Sweden and a $70 RyanAir round trip ticket will get you to Paris for $700.

Airfarewatchdog.com is a great list of low airfare, but there are so many cities that their list of airfare is overwhelming.

The Flight Deal publishes airfare deals, but pretty random selection of cities.

My primary focus is California fares to other places, followed by west coast fares and other deals are mentioned when something looks good to me.
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Old May 11, 15, 9:44 am
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If you are going to focus on the West Coast then I would call it West Coast Flight Deals - make sure you attract all the relevant people, as the name is too broad otherwise. No reason why you can't split it off from LT - in fact, I would definitely do it.
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Old May 11, 15, 9:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
No reason why you can't split it off from LT - in fact, I would definitely do it.
Agreed. Lumping it in with the other dilutes both brands.
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Old May 12, 15, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by satori View Post
The addition of airfare deals was motivated by a need for more page views for Loyalty Traveler blog. Ad revenue has dropped by more than 50% in the past two years, meaning 100,000 page views pays me less than half what I used to get. I can't publish two blog posts per day anymore and make enough ad revenue to stay afloat.
That's too bad. I've always thought your blog is one of the top ones out there. I've just subscribed to it. I've stopped reading almost all blogs so this will remind me to read it.
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Old May 12, 15, 7:57 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
That's too bad. I've always thought your blog is one of the top ones out there. I've just subscribed to it. I've stopped reading almost all blogs so this will remind me to read it.
FWIW, unless you're reading it by visiting the site directly you're not really helping solve the problem. Email or RSS subscribers don't convert to ad revenue. That's why you see many bloggers switching their RSS/email feeds to excerpts rather than full posts. It is mildly annoying for some of the subscribers but it translates into a real up-tick in page views and revenue.
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Old May 13, 15, 2:09 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
FWIW, unless you're reading it by visiting the site directly you're not really helping solve the problem. Email or RSS subscribers don't convert to ad revenue. That's why you see many bloggers switching their RSS/email feeds to excerpts rather than full posts. It is mildly annoying for some of the subscribers but it translates into a real up-tick in page views and revenue.
This is one I have always struggled with. However, since I let Mailchimp start handling my daily emails instead of the free WordPress service, I have been able to slot in a 300x250 ad. I can sell this space fairly easily as I lumped it in with my mobile site and everyone feels they need to buy mobile exposure these days.

What is never discussed is how the switch to mobile hits affiliate revenues. We all have a hugh proportion of mobile readers these days. However, few people apply for a credit card via a smartphone. If you read an article about Chase Bold on your phone, that is where the cookie is (assuming you clicked through) but if you then go to your office and google the official Chase Bold site to apply, the blogger is not paid.

Same applies to flights and hotels, the other two categories of popular affiliate links but both items where you are more likely to buy via a desktop / laptop.
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Old May 16, 15, 3:28 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
It is mildly annoying for some of the subscribers but it translates into a real up-tick in page views and revenue.
Except for VFTW who just wanted to engage with his readers....
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Old May 16, 15, 7:45 pm
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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Ad revenue has dropped by more than 50% in the past two years

Wow, even higher than what I dared to mention many months ago only to be attacked by a few bloggers for not having a clue what I was talking about!

Affiliate hotel booking links will work fine for your blog Satori and loyal readers will help you. Better get going on that and reduce these airfare deal posts, I just skip them...there are so many now!
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Old May 17, 15, 7:45 am
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Based on my own ad rates from AdSense, the difference in CPM between May 2013 and May 2015 is actually up, although I am down about 10% based on May 2015 to May 2014.

This could be complete nonsense, but my gut feeling is that BA may be finding it more difficult to sell space directly because ad networks are getting better and better at targeting people themselves based on their browsing history and cookies. Either that, or BA is still selling premium inventory but - as it is now being shared out between more blogs - each individual blogger gets less.

As an example, I use a UK network to sell some of my space. In Q1 they did a very lucrative deal with the Royal Navy at a CPM of well over $10. I got a grand total of 746 impressions of that because it was spread across all of their network publishers.
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Old May 17, 15, 10:12 am
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Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
my gut feeling is that BA may be finding it more difficult to sell space directly
Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
being shared out between more blogs - each individual blogger gets less.
You would be wrong on both counts. Many old and new bloggers are setting income records month over month, my blog included.

Anyone posting BA ad sales are down has no clue what they are talking about.
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Old May 17, 15, 10:35 am
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I am not enjoying the changes to your blog, Ric. I have been a regular reader for about 4 years, and have referred many, many people to it as you are the best source of info about hotel programs. I really hope you find other ways to increase your revenue, as having to sift thru the flight deals is a pain for me; and has made me read your blog less often.

I do appreciate all of your great work over the years. And have a great trip thru Georgia and the Carolinas this Spring.
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