April 26, 2013
I didn’t start this blog with the intent of earning money. I started it (and continue it) because I love the game of travel hacking. I love finding deals and maximizing opportunities. And, I love learning new tricks from readers who comment or email. So, earning money is not the reason I write this blog, but I do earn money and that allows me to keep going. The ongoing struggle I have is in trying to avoid having the money-earning aspect of the blog influence my writing. I believe that I’ve largely succeeded with this, but I can (and will) do more…
Since I began blogging as Frequent Miler in 2011, I’ve earned money from the blog in three ways: ads, affiliate links, and referral links. In order to (try to) stay impartial, I don’t include affiliate links in my daily blog posts, but I do often include referral links. Recently, a reader took me to task for this and argued that affiliate links and referral links are basically the same thing. I agree. From now on, you won’t see either type of link in my daily blog posts.
As a blogger on BoardingArea, ads are unavoidable. BoardingArea sets up each blog template with space for ads and they negotiate ad rates with advertisers. When people view my site, the advertisers pay BoardingArea a tiny amount for each view, and then BoardingArea pays me a percentage. The good thing is that I have no idea which ads are being served up at any given time, so I can confidently state that ads do not influence my writing one way or another.
Through an affiliate network, I get links to credit cards and other products which I can display on my blog. When people click through those links and sign up for cards or buy products, I get paid by the affiliate network. Beginning December 27th 2011, I stopped putting affiliate links in any blog posts (see “The Referral Backpedal“). I had tried putting links in posts before then (e.g. “if you sign up now for the Sapphire Preferred card you can earn XXX,000 points!”), but it felt wrong. I like writing blog posts, but I don’t like writing advertisement pitches. And, frankly, I don’t like reading them either. So, instead, I created a few permanent pages on my blog to host affiliate links. If people want to reward me by using my links, they can find them as follows:
- Best credit card offers: This page can be found under the “Credit Cards” menu on my site. It lists all of the offers that I think are worth considering to earn great sign-up bonuses. I always list the best offer I can find even when it means that I use a public offer instead of my affiliate link. At the time of this writing, less than half of the listed credit cards are affiliate links.
- Preparing for Miles: This page lists the credit cards that are best for day to day spend regardless of the quality of the sign up offer. This page can be found as its own link on my site’s menu bar. As with the Best credit card offers page, I try to list the best offers available regardless of whether I get paid for them.
- Credit Cards: To get to this page, click the top of the menu labeled “Credit Cards” on my site. A table on this page lists all credit cards for which I have affiliate links. This is an unedited list, so please use your own judgment as to whether the offers are good or not.
Referral links are similar to affiliate links, but usually they are intended to attract new customers to sign up (for something) for free. Most referral links are available to anyone who wants to invite friends and colleagues to signup for some kind of loyalty program or service. For example, most cash back portals offer a way to earn $5 or $10 by inviting a friend to sign up and use the cash back service. Beginning today, I will no longer include referral links in my posts. Instead, my referral links page can be found on my blog under the menu titled “Resources“. Or, just follow this link: Sign-Up Links. The page is currently a work in progress. I’ll add more links over time.