Are “Bloggers” Ruining FlyerTalk?

There are those FlyerTalk members who believe that “bloggers” are ruining FlyerTalk by posting little-known and obscure offers publicly to the point where too many people take advantage of those offers, causing them to end sooner than later — especially if the offers are in error in some form. Further, they especially eschew the practice of some of the “bloggers” who describe the offers in question in great detail — even using diagrams or illustrations — to the point where anyone can catch on them.

Other FlyerTalk members counter that the “bloggers” are helping to provide useful information in a condensed and easy to read format where you can spend less time getting the information you need rather than searching for it and reading different discussions on FlyerTalk — and that if anything is “ruining” FlyerTalk, it is FlyerTalk itself.

There is also the point of view that even if the secret offers may indeed be adversely affected by the “bloggers”, the main focus of the discussion of miles, points and travel and the associated valuable information remains unspoiled and incredibly useful.

There are still other FlyerTalk members who believe that the “bloggers” are self-proclaimed experts who post content that is usually found on FlyerTalk and call it their own without attribution.

This discussion pertaining to the possibility that “bloggers” are ruining FlyerTalk has quickly become a maelstrom of strong opinions and heated debate.

Let’s face it — anyone can be a “blogger” these days. All you need to do is go to one of the Internet web sites that offers a free weblog which you can author, and within mere minutes, you yourself are a “blogger.”

However, with that incredibly easy entry into “blogging” comes fierce competition for readership. What will help your weblog stand out? Will it be the content you post, or will it be striking images or unusual videos? Will you be interesting, informative, controversial — or all of those traits combined?

Moreover, proper “blogging” takes time — time which could be used to earn money. It is therefore no surprise that some “bloggers” resort to such practices as links to sponsors to earn referral fees, post links to the weblogs of each other to share their readers in the hopes of increasing readership for both of them, or to do something to grab more attention from more readers and keep them engaged in order to command higher rates from potential advertisers. These practices are not wrong by any means as long as the “blogger” is transparent about intent — but they could be suspect if the purpose and motivation are kept secret and discovered later on by readers.

Coming up with a new topic to discuss on a regular basis can be difficult — especially if other “bloggers” write entries about a similar topic. It is no surprise, therefore, that some “bloggers” may resort to posting deals about which few know. The unfortunate truth is that that attracts readers, pure and simple — and it shows in the analytical information to which the “blogger” may have access.

There simply is no exact science to “blogging.” The one thing that every “blogger” wants to do is provide useful and valuable content from which the reader will benefit and enjoy — and therefore return another day to read the weblog and even perhaps recommend it to family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

The Gate is an unusual weblog because its main purpose is to highlight what is being discussed on FlyerTalk and to help promote FlyerTalk. Virtually every topic discussed has a link to at least one relevant thread on FlyerTalk. I know I try to ensure that a variety of topics are discussed here at The Gate. Some are quite popular; others not so much.

Additionally, you will not see a secret offer posted at The Gate so that the deal has a chance to extend its existence for as many FlyerTalk members to take advantage as possible — but is that a good practice? Should I share what are known as “mistake fares” from the Mileage Run Deals forum, for example?

You might notice that you rarely see credit card deals posted here at The Gate. It is not because I receive no referral money — which I do not — but it is simply because credit card deals are posted liberally elsewhere. Rick Ingersoll of the Frugal Travel Guy weblog, for example, is an expert on credit card deals — why should similar content be posted to The Gate? When I spoke to Rick about this when I saw him in person recently, he seemed to agree with that logic.

While I know many of the “bloggers” personally who post at BoardingArea.com and respect them, I try not to post information which they post — sometimes across as many as a half-dozen weblogs. It does not always work out that way, but I try. Furthermore, if any of them posts something of interest to readers of The Gate, you will see a link included in the content posted at The Gate.

I suppose this is a good time to ask you: what do you think of The Gate? Of which topics would you like to see more coverage? Which topics already discussed at The Gate should be reduced in terms of focus? How would you suggest The Gate could be improved?

Please let me know. Thank you in advance.

In the meantime, I simply follow the advice posted by some FlyerTalk members: if there is a weblog about which I am not particularly fond, I simply do not read it. I also believe that “bloggers” augment FlyerTalk; not ruin it.

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