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Are travel blogs losing their creativity and going downhill?

Are travel blogs losing their creativity and going downhill?

Old Jan 27, 12, 7:31 am
  #1  
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Are travel blogs losing their creativity and going downhill?

Just trying to move this topic out of which is the best travel blog:

I think most who post on Flyertalk are very passionate about travel and point/miles collecting. One great resource can be reading travel blogs. Flyertalk and Milepoint cover so many topics it can be very easy to miss helpful information and sometimes the use of travel blogs can help one not miss out on this information.

I think Rick over at Frugal Travel Guy for some reason or another has set some standards for travel blogging.

1) Post every single day

2) Posting of credit card referral links often

3) Design the blog to look sightly less annoying than Dan's Deals

It seems that all the blogs are trying to conform to this standard and the quality of their blogs are going downhill fast. The Frugal Travel Guy use to have a niche in the market, but now everyone is just copying the format. Is it just me? Also, some days on Boarding Area there are 5-8 bloggers with posts the EXACT same content with the only thing different being each bloggers unique referral link.

Credit card referral argument aside, I feel that these 'new' bloggers should take note of these blogs and do something more original and unique with their format:

Loyalty Traveler - Gives an in-depth look and analysis of current travel promotions.

One Mile at a Time - Gives in-depth travel reports of first class travel products.

Million Mile Secret - Not sure how original the content is, but his interviews at times make his blog stand out, but at the same time sometimes he interviews people with travel blogs whom I feel give no unique prospective on travel.

Mommy Points - I think people with children love hearing from other parents. I personally hate hearing people talk about their children, but I can see the market that really enjoys it. She does a great job when posting about her own life experiences. The evidence of this comes from the numerous comments from other parents on her blog. She also did a great job covering the US Grand Slam.
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Old Jan 27, 12, 7:51 am
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+1 Yes the Travel blogs seem to be the same these days. Very few fresh ideas and everyone gets new deals at the same time.
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Old Jan 27, 12, 7:57 am
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Originally Posted by jjmiller69 View Post
+1 Yes the Travel blogs seem to be the same these days. Very few fresh ideas and everyone gets new deals at the same time.
Kind of like T Shirt shops on vacation..more of the same old same old....so pick 2 and enjoy the rest of the day....and move on.....unless you are just killing time looking at the people....
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Old Jan 27, 12, 8:10 am
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Seriously?

1) You picked out 4 or 5 travel blogs, there are dozens of them (and more) out there. Many focus on only a single topic (Delta, or AA, or a specific region or just on hotels, etc).

2) The few blogs you picked out are all "general" blogs, ie, they dont typically focus on a "single" topic, thus obviously more likely to have similar content to one another, especially when they are all talking about the hot deal of the moment.

3) Each blogger often gives their own viewpoint, which often is in addition to (and sometimes contradicts) viewpoints of other bloggers.

I dont mean to be overly critical of the OP. I can see what he means. But I think he isnt giving enough credit to the hard work of bloggers who try to keep the general masses up to date on the latest and greatest, and also teach people a thing or two.
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Old Jan 27, 12, 8:20 am
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I've gotten over 500K FF miles because of the travel bloggers and have no problem with their sometimes similar info and ads for credit cards.
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Old Jan 27, 12, 8:21 am
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Again, we are all generally savvy travelers here on FT and all or most of what they post is on here already, or we already know it. None of us REALLY need advice on how to spend our $200 amex credit from an 'expert' we can just look at the massive thread on FT.

What they do is essentially make money off of us - something that I don't care about as much as the lack of quality in their posts.

If you are a beginner, than they can help you, but everything they post comes from FT. I wasn't too happy when the Europe deal I found a few months ago which I posted ended up on TPG as a 'Super-Deal Alert!'. These guys never find any of the deals, and just copy and use all of our work. Now the market is too saturated and everything posted is just garbage.

It is fun to look at the pictures sometimes, but they're not useful.
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Old Jan 27, 12, 8:35 am
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It's an interesting question. I don't think they're exactly going downhill. But I only started reading them after I got into FT. It's correct that a lot of what they post is available on FT, but immersing yourself in FT is really a pretty sizable time commitment. (I have a FT tab open on my browser all day at work, for example.)

If you don't have that kind of time, then the blogs are great. Yeah, you can learn how to maximize your Amex $200 credit here... if you go to "Miles and Points", then to the "Amex MR" forum, then find the five or six different threads that are airline-specific about getting reimbursed, and wade through dozens of pages... so yes, it can be done, but sometimes these bloggers can synthesize the basics pretty quickly. More advanced stuff ("Will Amex reimburse a miles purchase?"), you want to look on FT.

I follow FTG, TPG, Lucky (One Mile at a Time) and MMS with some regularity. We recently had a kid so I'm starting to fold Mommy Points into the mix. I agree that they have lots of the same stuff, but it's also a good way of keeping abreast of the latest/best offers. Sometimes those can get lost in the avalanche of info on FT.

Long way of saying, I think those blogs serve their purpose, but I see them as a complement, not a substitute, for FT.
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Old Jan 27, 12, 8:42 am
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There aren't any new "super hot" credit card bonus deals that the bloggers can 'excite' people about, so yes at times like this it shows who adds Real value and who doesn't.

Also while I enjoy reading many of the travel blogs, it's rare that they'll find out about a deal first. I usually see it on FT the day (or evening) before, then it hits the blogs. Which is OK, they include their own perspective of the deals, but it kind of makes them look like copycats. So shout to a rare few bloggers who don't do this (as often) as most bloggers.
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Old Jan 27, 12, 8:49 am
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Some are filling a niche, like cited mommy points, which is good, but indeed there is alot of me-too posting. And at the end of the day, the blog game is to collect eyeballs and make money - the reporter reporting is also the advertising salesman selling. A bit of an conflict of interest, but most folks don't seem to have any trouble with it.
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Old Jan 27, 12, 9:07 am
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Originally Posted by CodeAdam10 View Post
There aren't any new "super hot" credit card bonus deals that the bloggers can 'excite' people about, so yes at times like this it shows who adds Real value and who doesn't.
^

Right around this time last year we had the 50k Plat, the 75k Gold PR matching offer, the 100k plat matching offer shortly after that...I think the blogs sort of hit a high and people are seeing the letdown these days.

I wonder if there will be enough interesting offers this year to keep the blogs in business.
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Old Jan 27, 12, 9:22 am
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Seems to me "blogging" is the activity de jour. And yes, many of them are repetitive. In fact, many of them quote each other, reference each other, etc.

Honestly I have been reading fewer blogs, not more, lately.
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Old Jan 27, 12, 9:39 am
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I think they jumped the shark when million miles secret started interviewing other travel bloggers.
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Old Jan 27, 12, 9:40 am
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Originally Posted by teege View Post
^

Right around this time last year we had the 50k Plat, the 75k Gold PR matching offer, the 100k plat matching offer shortly after that...I think the blogs sort of hit a high and people are seeing the letdown these days.

I wonder if there will be enough interesting offers this year to keep the blogs in business.
As a blogger, I certainly hope so!
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Old Jan 27, 12, 9:52 am
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I like the BRG blog, but thats because its caters specifically to my needs.

Frugal Travel Guy....FFFMiles.... all stuff pertinent to me.

I've stumbled across a few travel blogs that really were nothing more than advertisements, or just weird and too personal and really should only be promoted to family and friends. Or really defunct.

The folks who update daily or keep it current, I really appreciate it ^
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Old Jan 27, 12, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by teege View Post
^

Right around this time last year we had the 50k Plat, the 75k Gold PR matching offer, the 100k plat matching offer shortly after that...I think the blogs sort of hit a high and people are seeing the letdown these days.

I wonder if there will be enough interesting offers this year to keep the blogs in business.
Consider this... Hotel and airline loyalty programs are in the social media business. I have to start wondering when these travel bloggers will not only get paid to promote credit cards, but also get paid to promote hotel and airlines. Currently there is not one travel blogger who does not mention promotions for travel loyalty programs. In fact, they are doing it for free. Which you have to think companies love, it's pretty much free advertising.

So for example, if Mommy Points were to post about a given credit card... for every two to three people who put a comment up about how they dislike the post as it seemed to just be an excuse to make money on credit card referrals... I'd say about 20 people will then reply how much they loved the post and don't mind that a young mother is making a "little" money from these sign ups.

Well, what if down the line she starts getting paid to post about current promotions for a hotel chain. Then a week later stays at a hotel within that chain and gives a positive review. Saying... oh the service was just excellent! Do you not see the problem of being compensated to post about products? Getting paid for banner ads is one thing, but being compensated to talk about a product makes me wonder if I should trust the information being put out.

I seem to remember a lot of problems going on with the Suntrust debt card that was promoted by Frugal Travel Guy. He requested that people keep their cards open for a period of time so that the tellers could make their commissions. Well that whole promotion was a huge headache for many people! IMO I don't think ever took as much responsibility as he should have, but I think he probably learned a lot from the situation. My trust in his word had changed. I just have to wonder if people were to start getting banned for churning would these bloggers step up to the plate and take responsibility? Or would they go all Paula Deen on us? I would have to wonder about Mommy Points in that at least the Frugal Travel Guy talks about the value of one's credit score, but if her blog is aimed at young families... that could be a huge risk for some of her audience.

I also have wondered about Ben at One Mile at a Time. How someone in college could afford to fly some of these trips or go on mileage runs, and also balance school and work. So I've always taken his blog more as a novelty. I think it is a well written blog and he has a lot of talent. That being said I have to question if these hotel or airline chains aren't aware that he is blogging about them. These companies have departments that monitor any online activity that deals with their brand. Once he makes a reservation under his own name a hotel could be called and informed that he is coming and give him different treatment. I honestly think that this has happened and I don't think a normal person with his status can always expect the type of treatment he receives. I do enjoy seeing the photos and hearing his thoughts on the products, but I think I'm a little wary about hearing about what his status in a particular program has gotten him.
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