Any volunteers?

UPDATE 3:25 PM EST:

Thank you to everyone who has offered their help!  As of now, I’m closing the request for volunteers

Why?

I’ve readily admitted in the past that I need my wife’s help when drawing my ethical line (see “Drawing the line“).  Maybe it’s time to add my readers’ input into that line as well.  When this post first published, many readers were vocally against my request for help.  Many said that asking for unpaid volunteers was unethical and overly greedy. 

I know that my intentions were good, but I also understand that readers can’t read my mind.  I assure you that I would have been very generous to volunteers, but of course there’s no way to prove that.  My goal was to make a better site for my readers, but the short term outcome seems to have been to turn readers away. 

Some will say that I shouldn’t care what a few vocal readers think.  Some have written their support of my approach in the comments below and through email. And, I very much appreciate that!  But, I do care about the angry comments.  Some of those who complained have been positive contributors to this blog for a long time.  I don’t want to lose them as readers and commenters.  Some will say “too late” and that’s fine, but hopefully most will give me a second chance.

Original post:

I started the Frequent Miler blog over two years ago and readership has increased steadily ever since.  I’m now incredibly fortunate to have this blog as my full time occupation!  That said, I find that I’m having a hard time keeping up.  I write at least one full blog post every weekday.  I research new opportunities.  I publish Quick Deals.  And, I try to answer all of the e-mails, tweets, and blog comments that come my way (which I appreciate very much!).  All of these things are great, but they do prevent me from having time to tackle other projects.  Here are some plans and responsibilities that have been neglected:

  • Actively maintaining my Free Trips and Tricks newsletter.  The newsletter is designed to teach people, from the beginning, how to earn nearly free luxury travel.  Newsletters are sent out week to week, in order, based on the date each subscriber signs up.  So, if someone subscribes today, they’ll get newsletter #1 right away, newsletter #2 a week later, etc.  The purpose of this newsletter is to have an outlet for beginners, without changing the more advanced nature of my daily blog.  So, what’s the problem?  Well, I’ve been slow to send out Deal Alerts to this community to let them know about new stuff going on.  And, I’ve been very slow to revisit old newsletters to correct them when things change.  For example, I probably still refer to “Priority Club” in a number of emails rather than the new name “IHG Rewards Club.”  And, I’m sure there are all kinds of corrections needed based on the recent United, Delta, and Hyatt devaluations.
  • A Frequent Miler resource site.  The Frequent Miler blog has lots of good information, but not much of it is organized well.  If someone wanted to know the latest information about Vanilla Reload cards, for example, it would be quite a trick to find all of the relevant posts and to figure out which tidbits still hold true today.  For example, I occasionally get an email from someone with the “news” that they were unable to use a credit card to buy reload cards at Office Depot.  My first reaction has been to think “Well, of course not!  Didn’t you read my blog post from… ?”  And then, of course, I realize that they didn’t read that blog post.  In fact, they’re probably a new reader who stumbled upon my old “One card to rule them all” post and had no reason not to think the deal was still alive.  So, what I’d like to do is setup a site organized into topics like Bluebird, Reload cards, Shopping portals, points programs, etc. and provide up to date information there, along with wiki-like capability so that readers can help keep it up to date. 
  • Frequent Miler community discussion forums.  Blog comments are not the best way to hold discussions.  I’d like to setup something better.  The “something better” should allow threaded discussions, subscribe-to functionality, and ideally the ability to setup private topics.  Ideally, too, whatever this is would be embedded within the Frequent Miler resource site in some way. 

 

Volunteers?

I’m looking for just a few people who would be excited to be part of the Frequent Miler team even though it pays roughly $0 per hour.  Specifically, here are some skills I’m hoping to find:

  • Content authoring: I’m not looking for someone to help with my daily blog (I intend to keep that one up myself), but I do need someone who can help with the newsletter (as I described above), resource content, and possibly with some Quick Deals and other miscellaneous stuff.  The ideal volunteer would have excellent writing skills, good attention to detail, and thorough knowledge of the points and miles hobby and my Frequent Miler posts.
  • Web site development (technical): I’m looking for someone who can help me, from a technical perspective, to setup the resource site and discussion forums as described above.  The ideal volunteer would have some website development experience.
  • Web site design:  I’m looking for someone more on the artistic side, here.  Can you help me make the resource site, Quick Deals, etc. look good? 
  • Other stuff?  If you’re eager to volunteer, but have other ideas for how you can help, I’d love to hear from you.

I’m not looking for an army of volunteers here.  If one person can help with most of these things, that would be fantastic.  I really don’t want to go with more than 3 people altogether because the coordination itself would then become a full time job. 

Interested?

If you think you’re interested in volunteering, please send me an email with the subject heading “FM Volunteer”.  In the body of the email, please tell me in what way you’d like to help out and describe your skills in a sentence or two.  If you have prior work that you’d like me to look at, please include PDFs or screen capture images as attachments rather than web site links.  Also, subscribe to the comments of this post (add a comment saying “subscribe” and check the box titled “Notify me of follow-up comments by email.”).  I’ll add a comment here occasionally to let people know if I’ve received many (any?) volunteers and how far along I am in selecting them.

Thanks in advance!

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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Comments

  1. FM, you’re already getting flak for making the instructions too clear. If you bring it to the point where you’re absolutely holding newbie’s hands, it’s gonna get completely out of control. Deals will go down instantaneously.

    And I say this as someone who’s brushed off the random criticism of you making it too easy in the past. But brining it down so that all any fool has to do is read 10 pages and subscribe to a newsletter?

    Instead of it being frustrating for news because they don’t know what to do. You’re gonna make it frustrating for news because every time they try to do something, the deal is going to have so many restrictions…

    • levander: My newsletter has been running for almost two years now. It’s not new. And, it doesn’t cover the same complicated topics that I cover in my blog. It’s more about the simple things people can do to earn points, elite status, etc. Regarding “Getting flak for…”, bloggers get flak for anything they do. Yes, in my daily blog, I’m sometimes accused of making instructions too clear, but more often people struggle with how complicated things are. I strike a balance that I think is right. That won’t change.

  2. You really feel it’s fair to ask people to work on a for-profit blog doing content, design, and technical work… And NOT get paid?

    To each their own, but why not compensate workers who will in the end make you even more money?

    • Jason: Whether its fair or not, I know there are people who will be motivated to help for reasons other than money. Those are the people I’m looking for: the ones who, for whatever reason, will be excited to be part of the FM team. While I do earn money, that’s not why I write the blog. I started the blog before I knew it was even possible to earn a living by blogging about points and miles. And, if the money went away, I believe I would keep writing the blog. I’m looking for people with a similar passion.

      • Why would you start a sentence -whether it is fair or not? You often talk about moral boundaries when it comes to travel hacking. Where are those now?

        • That’s true, I probably shouldn’t have started the sentence that way. I obviously don’t see anything unfair about someone helping for free if they want to. Otherwise I wouldn’t have asked.

  3. +1 with Jason.
    I’m sure you’ll find someone but paying $0 is really not enough. A token amount even for an intern type position maybe.

  4. How many weekly emails are there? I think I have received all of them over the last 2 years. Wish I had more free time to help but I know some other readers will be more available.

  5. Pretty disappointed in this – if the money isn’t important to you then give it to the people you are hiring to help you. Otherwise I think you are just taking advantage of and playing off some people’s emotions to “be apart of the FM team “

  6. What was that about getting flak for anything you post…?
    Jason et al: It may sound cheap, but it’s a win-win for someone who needs experience to get a paid job. Token amount? How about the part where you do it from home and save commuting (and soap) costs?

  7. I also agree that you’re asking an awful lot for an awful little.

    This “volunteer” will be working for free for the sole purpose of making you money.

    With the nature of your business, I would expect that at the least you would offer some compensation in the form of miles, points or other travel benefits.

  8. I’ve always thought you were one of the very few providers of any original approach and content to this realm of the blogosphere. Personally, this ruins much of the credibility I assumed you had. You’ve basically said I’m making a lot of money, can’t keep up, and I want free help so I can make more and work less. Wow. How long until you graduate to the d-bag echelon of bloggers that show up at events with an entourage (including camera operators)?

  9. I agree with all the readers you are making money off free labor because you want them to do it out of the love for yor blog. I’m sure that’s how Chinese factory workers justify it well atleast they get pennies instead of a fat zero. How about you offer college credit or miles or some of the free swag you get from having a blog? A poor college kid would appreciate it. I wouldn’t mind reviewing a newsletter for free here and there but not regularly I value my time like you value your points/miles. I agree with other posters Daraius is doing it right. He is offering more than just money. He is offering valuable experience it looks like you just want free labor

  10. He’s hardly breaking new ground here, unpaid internships are the new entry-level job nowadays. Heck, even the DOJ recruits US Attorneys to work for free for a year, and that’s a lot harder than updating a website.

    My only question is, why would anyone volunteer for FM when they could just start their own blog?

  11. It is a strange day when MMS is being praised over FM.

    There is no question, you should be paying anyone you want to help you with your for profit website. Creatives deserve payment for their work, whether thats graphic design, web design, writing, etc. If you don’t need much help, than it shouldn’t cost you much either.

  12. As someone who is paid to manage 35 volunteers who write for a for-profit site, I think you’re doing the right thing. I have paid writers a token sum in the past (around $100/month), and the quality of people willing to work for free is much, much higher than those willing to work cheap. If money is your motivation, a small amount won’t please them for long. I totally agree that to get top talent you have to pay for it, but for a blog, you should be able to find someone who wants the experience.

  13. Agree with all the prior posters – I had more respect for this site than any of the other bloggers really, to the extent that when I did my last few churns I followed all of the links through Frequent Miler. Asking for free labor like this just stinks of cheapness though. I’ve lost respect for the site and will no longer support it with referral link applications.

  14. Why do you want discussion forums? What would it offer that flyertalk doesn’t? I believe comments lend themselves well to blog post but the forum format (or something similar) may only be beneficial for the lab. Furthermore a wiki for quick descriptions of all topics is something I’ve been planning on my own. I’d be happy to team up with you for that tho honestly one of the goals would be to see some income from it eventually.

    • Jonathan: discussion forums is something that readers have asked for many times. I imagine them being linked to wiki topics. That way, if you want to, for example, stay up to date with all discussions about Bluebird, you could subscribe there, in one place, rather than subscribing to every separate post that mentions Bluebird.

  15. Dear Little People,

    When Walmart started decades ago, we had no idea that it would become a behemoth with sales larger than the GDP of many countries. We never thought we’d be able to live like kings off Walmart wealth, but here we are. Those dividend checks keep coming. But that’s not even why we keep opening shiny new Walmarts. They’re a labor of love.

    Now we need your help. Our stores have become so successful that we’re having a hard time keeping the shelves stocked because we have decided that we’re tired of paying enough people to do the work that needs to be done. We’re looking for up to three volunteers per store to assist our store managers in keeping product on the shelves and in keeping the floors mopped.

    Although we love cashing our dividend checks from Walmart, this will be an unpaid position (and certainly you won’t get health benefits). You will derive significant enjoyment from watching our customers fill their carts with groceries that they can afford thanks to our prices (and your free labor). It will also look quite smashing on your resume. A win-win, wouldn’t you say?

    We are looking for no more than three volunteers per store, because otherwise, our store managers will morph into directors of human resources — and they certainly don’t have time for that!

    Of course, if you have prior experience in stocking shelves at the local Safeway or Food Lion, that would be helpful. We’re far too busy making money to train you.

    XOXO,

    The Walton Family and all other Walmart shareholders

  16. wow, I’ve got to agree with Jason and the others. You’re making your living off this site and want to expand it for free. No business can work like that; if you want more revenues, you’ve got to be willing to pay for employees.

  17. How do you justify not paying someone? Why would someone volunteer to help you make money? It’s not like your blog helps starving children or is trying to end homelessness in America. I sincerely hope that no one volunteers so you are forced in to doing the right thing. And by the way I have clicked your affiliate links to make you sure you made money in the past. That will not be happening again. Greedy-Greedy.

  18. I think you guys are being too harsh here, although I see your points.
    I do think there are a lot of personal perks that could be had here though:

    1). You’re able to help others travel for cheap, and thus improve the quality of their lives.

    2). Be a part of something exciting, I am motivated by money and travel and would love to be a part of something that I enjoy

    3). You probably find out about the deals before everyone else! 🙂

    Let’s remember FM has bought us a lot of excellent tips, and no one is forcing anyone to contribute for free – just say no.

  19. I’ve got to agree with Mark M on this. He’s being completely upfront about what he’s willing to pay. If you don’t want to work for him for free, then don’t. If no one volunteers then obviously he will need to reevaluate, but everyone has their reasons for doing something and frankly if he can come to an agreement with someone else I don’t see why it’s of such concern to so many commentators here.

  20. LOL…well, there goes the last of the affiliate links of any blogger I’ll use. Time to just apply directly from the banks themselves.

  21. All,

    I know I won’t be able to change anyone’s opinion with a comment here, but I’m going to try anyway. Here are several points that I didn’t write in the post that might be helpful to know:

    1. My goal is to keep myself primarily focused on researching and writing good quality blog posts.

    2. I decide what to write based on what interests me the most rather than writing about what might generate income. Sometimes the two overlap. Often they don’t. That’s fine as long as I’m the only one who suffers when revenue goes down.

    3. I believe that hiring people to help would change the nature of my blog in a negative way. First, it would add work to me: worrying about invoicing or payroll; worrying about tax implications, etc. Would I be able to keep up the blog content with that added responsibility? Worse, I would be forced to worry about whether enough money was coming in to pay the employees or contractors. Would that negatively affect my blog content?

    4. Based on the above considerations, I’d rather not improve my site at all than incur the negative aspects of growing my blog into a multi-person business. It’s not a matter of cheapness. I’m proud of my blog as it is and I would like to ensure that it continues as is. As soon as I think of my daily routine as running a business rather than writing a blog, I believe things would go downhill. I don’t want that and I assume that my readers don’t either.

    5. Even before this post, I’ve had quite a few people offer to help for free. I don’t see anything wrong or unfair about taking them up on that. And, I don’t see anything wrong or unfair about posting to see if others are interested.

  22. Dear Little People,

    In reference to our previous request that you provide assistance to Walmart Stores Inc. by stocking our shelves and cleaning our floors for free, it has come to our attention that some people believe that it is unfair for a money-making enterprise to ask for free labor. We disagree because paying you would change Walmart in ways that not paying you wouldn’t. And we can’t have that.

    Let us be clear, although we are asking you to work for us for free — as much time as you are willing to spare, technical skills preferred — this arrangement cannot add work for us. If we are forced to spend time creating the accounting infrastructure to track your wages, worrying about tax implications, etc., it will have a negative effect on the amount of time we are able to spend cashing our dividend checks that are issued from banks like Chase. To be clear, we are willing to suck up as much of your time as possible, but are not willing to invest our own time in creating an infrastructure to make this arrangement fair in any significant or meaningful way.

    We assure you, this is not a matter of cheapness. We just don’t want things to get complicated for us. And we would rather close all of our Walmarts than have to run them like businesses.

    Best Regards,

    The Walton Family and all Walmart shareholders

  23. This is uncalled for. Reminds me of people that expect artists to work for free (https://twitter.com/forexposure_txt for chuckles).

    It’s not a small favor that you’re asking. I’d expect the decency to at least offer 100k miles or something.

    I stopped following MMS when he advocated for getting into elite lines by showing a random card. This is borderline unethical too.

  24. Jim wins. He is able to—with significantly more grace than I—point out the immorality of profiting off of someone else’s free labor. I will read his blog instead of the apparently exploitative Frequent Miler.

  25. While you might have started this for the passion of collecting and redeeming miles, you certainly haven’t looked for an office job because this blog is paying you enough to make a living. It is very sad that you are taking advantage of people. What’s worse is you trying to rationalize it.

    This is a clear case of foot in the mouth, shooting yourself in the foot…etc.

    After being viewed as more ethical than not (you still cross many of those lines that shouldn’t), I am sad to see the greed taking you this route.

  26. +1 Seth,

    That was the last straw, after he forgot to put Emily’s BA executive club number on the credit card application, I doubted his ethical standards. Then he posted about the hacking the priority lines I became very careful using his tip and trick.

    One thing now seems clear. Both MMS and FM did one thing to clear their names and attract readership. MMS has the Mother-in-law rule. FM did a similar post about only writing about and doing what his wife (I think) would view as ethical and moral.

    Yet, this same person has no problem what-so-ever collecting miles on gift card purchases when it clearly states he should not.

    My only question is this, when will you guys have enough to stop this un-ethical behavior? What will it take? How many miles or points?

    To each their own, but please do not come out here and try to convince us you are an ethical person when you are showing all of us how not to be.

  27. Seriously FM, you’re sinking fast in these comments. While I kind of admire “I’ll do it my wayyyy!” approach, just use some common sense and post that of course you’re gonna share some of the freebies and junkets thrown your way because of this blog. But you don’t want that to be the prime motivation! Etc., etc.. You want the guy to show that he’s really contributing to your blog before you extend a budget that’s already strapped, etc.., etc.

  28. I think the only problem FM has is that he used the word volunteer instead of intern. Seriously, why are people so up in arms. Internships (many are not paid in dollars) are what makes the world go round. I have literally done 2 thousand hours of internships while PAYING for them, just to get the experience.

    The intern will gain a lot of technical knowledge, in addition to being able to share from Greg. I think it’s a win-win for the right person. Don’t be so quick to judge.

    • Pretty sure he can get into labor law trouble here. Fm has no formalized intern program, he is not offering college credit. In addition each state has a minimum wage law.

      What happens if while working for FM a person suffers an electrical shock from his or her computer. There will be a workers comp claim filed against fm. Paid employee or not. He truly hasn’t thought this through, and if he proceeds I will report him to the state authorities, since he is breaking the law.

      • While I realize he has put up the update, I’m not sure that some people understand that interns don’t have to be paid. I’m sure there are very few Fortune 500 companies the don’t have internship programs. You work insane hours and your reward is your experience and the opportunity to turn that into a position down the road.

        I guess I just don’t understand what appears to be personal attacks. People who work at Walmart choose to work at Walmart (i.e. they apply, get interviewed, and get hired), no one forced them to so I fail to see any relevant comparison. Does FM make money, sure. That doesn’t mean he can’t ask for help. If you don’t want to apply, don’t apply (not that you can now anyway).

  29. Dear FM,
    I am also shocked and disappointed about this post. I read your comment and I get your point about not wanting to turn this blogging into a business, but you are either wrong or being unfair. It is already a business. I have (and many have) been using your credit card links. If you pay hourly on need basis, why would you need to worry about earning steady revenue to pay employee? No one is asking you to hire a full-time employee.

    Asking for free labor publicly, especially specifying certain skills (in this case, web design and website development) is unethical and offensive. It sounds unfair to the profession and has nothing to do with passion one has with their profession or with miles and points. Let’s say your professional musician friend who appreciates your blog offers you to play for free at your party. That’s great. But you can never ask your professional musician friend to play for free. It’s the same thing. You just did that publicly and offended a lot of people. You should offer to pay (even small amount or by miles like other people suggested)even to a student.

    Please rethink about this, and hopefully you’ll come up with other ideas on how to grow your team. Thank you always for your great blog. I was disappointed today, but still value your blog and want to support by clicking your links.

      • Don’t worry, we all know you are not an unethical person and have good intentions. It was also a sensitive issue since companies (big and small) exploiting unpaid interns has been a problem as well.

  30. Haters gon’ hate Greg. Don’t worry ill keep our little arrangement a secret 😉 can’t wait for the mile transfer to go through 😉 😉

    • Good gosh you are all a bunch of Americans. Since when does someone asking for help steamroll into comparing a blog to the industry giant of Walmart and threats of workers comp?! People like you who would file workers comp if you were shocked while writing a volunteer post… And you wonder why the rest of the world rolls their eyes when loud obnoxious Americans walk in the door.

      When you volunteer your manual labor at the soup kitchen, do you ensure you tell them you will sue if you get burned before you help? Do you threaten habitat for hummanity with legal action for violating minimum wage when you don’t get paid? Do you tell your grandmother to ensure her business license is posted before you volunteer to cut her grass?

      Is educating people who could not otherwise afford world travel not a form of charity? When I took my knowledge from FM and told my friend who needed to fly cross country the next day for a family funeral that id fly him home because I could easily replace the 12.5k miles; is that not a form of charity? Why would anyone want to spread this incredible knowledge for free??? Everyone take a chill pill and get over yourselves and what you in your narrow mind think is the only reason to do things. Unethical to ask for a volunteer…..

  31. The update is pretty vague.

    To clarify, are you closing the request for volunteers, as stated, or retracting the request for volunteers?

    Meaning, are you no longer looking for people to apply to be a volunteer or have you abandoned the idea of having volunteers altogether?

  32. You guys are so stupid. From what you know of FM, do you really think he wouldn’t make it worthwhile in SOME way to his volunteers? It’s obvious that as of right now, maybe because he’s not cramming Affiliate links down people’s throats (aka MMS), that he’s not making quite enough money to take on a couple of part time or full time. I mean, seriously, the guy’s asking for a couple hours here or there from a couple of people, a you guys freak out like a bunch of idiots.

    Do you not think that for some people, spending a couple of hours a week working with FM wouldn’t be worth the time because of what they could learn? I mean, do you seriously think he writes about all the deals he knows of? I mean, think of the information you’d have access to if you actually worked with him. Something tells me those benefits would be worth far more than the $7.00/ hr he could pay someone. FM, sign me up. These people are ridiculous.

    Thanks,

    • Also have to agree. It is really shocking how quickly people make these decisions, the same people who come to FM to benefit from his hard work as he is one of the unique bloggers that actually works this stuff out.

  33. This is truly ridiculous.
    The web is full of forums where people put up helpful posts for free, while the forum owner makes money on advertizing banners. I am a member of several of them. On one, in particular, I have contributed thousands of posts over the last 12 years, most designed to help my colleagues, with no compensation from the forum owner. That took hundreds, if not thousand of hours. And I am a highly paid professional, so that would translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without my participation (and hundreds of others like me) the owner would have zero income. It is my free and voluntary posting that makes that forum a commercial success. I do it because it gives me an opportunity to help colleagues when they need it, and get help when it’s my turn.
    And forum moderators are usually volunteers as well.
    How is this different?
    The mudslinging is totally uncalled for.

  34. I read your post this morning when there were 4 comments, and I’m shocked at the turn it took.

    There is nothing in the slightest wrong about asking for volunteers. If people don’t want to volunteer, they don’t have to. Quite frankly I’m not sure why you’d want to have volunteers… unpaid workers aren’t highly motivated, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with you asking. The fact that you got volunteers seems to suggest there are plenty of people that want to help for whatever reason.

    By the way this is coming from an extremely liberal person. You people that referenced Walmart sicken me… that has nothing to do with this. If you don’t like his offer to work lots of hours for nothing (I certainly don’t like it) then just ignore it like I did.

  35. In my mind the central issue is that group blogs suck. While FM wasn’t planning on guest posts, its a slippery slope.

    FM, you have your voice, your niche. Don’t water down.

  36. So disappointed of some of the comments from the selfish and unthankful people. You saved so much money on free travels because of the knowledge you got for FREE from FM and other bloggers. He only ask for volunteers so that he can spend more time producing quality posts to benefit all his readers. Don’t be too quick to judge his motive.

  37. GEEEZ, I can’t believe that some of your readers are making this an issue. My opinion is that you shouldn’t be apologetic about it, you simply asked if people wanted to volunteer, those who do will apply and those that dont won’t….All these knuckleheads claiming that you are doing something morally wrong must have never heard of internships. Potential candidates could get exposure by working for your blog, put it on a resume, find better understanding of the points game, and other benefits that are non monetary but nonetheless have value. Please don’t let some of your readers sway you from doing something that you have the right to do

  38. I love how everyone is assuming that FM makes a ton of money like they prepare his monthly P&L. Every buffoon has an opinion these days but sadly it’s not even their own opinion but rather one that is 95% shaped by their political affiliation. I wouldn’t be surprised if all these negative comments are coming from Liberals that have started an all out war against businesses and corporate America. How many of you have sent FM a donation so he could keep up the high quality of work, how many have always used his links to apply for a new CC? FM you should live up to the moral value of your readers and start charging a membership fee for your blog, we will see than how many of these righteous buffoons actually practice what they preach SMH

    • Last time I checked, the idea that all liberals have started a war against corporate America is a ridiculous notion that is shaped by your own political affiliations.

      So you just called yourself a buffoon. Not that I’m arguing.

  39. I think you should refer people to FT threads for current discussion on related blog topics. let them do the work, if your dear readers need more of your simplified style instructions embed links to all relevant posts so they can go back and read all related content that you have. The reader needs to make some effort and not be spoonfed everything. I agree with others that if you make it too simple, everyone will do it, and the deal will die of exposure.

  40. I don’t think FM is cheap at all. I think he’s just looking for people with passion for miles/points and not driven by money. And once he find them, then I am sure he will give them something that he does not want to mention publicly. My husband is a registered nurse and in order for him to land a job in a hospital, he had to do an unpaid internship. He shadowed a nurse for 3 months and when the manager determined that he was awesome, then they hired him and paid him for the 3 month unpaid internship. Sometimes, you just have to put yourself out there and when people see that you are the best in what you do, money will surely follow. Just my 2 cents.

  41. 1.- How many times has FM posted FREE content and helped people with their manufacturing spending?
    2.- How many times has FM taken the hit when trying new ways/methods to make money (The lab)?
    3.- How many times does FM respond to emails for free?
    4.- How many times does FM ask for anybody’s help to achieve what he has so far?
    5.- How many companies in this country offer volunteer jobs, unpaid benefits to do what they love or for the experience?
    6.- How many times has FM provided free advice?
    8.- Who knows how much money does FM make to come off thinking this is a lucrative business? Have you seen how many bloggers are out there? There’s a lot of competition which means less $$$ to share!

    If you’re a hypocrite, you’re welcome to continue bashing the man for your lousy excuses….bringing up the top Fortune 500 company and comparing it to this business of one employee is asinine and lacks intellectual thought, hence ignorant; esp. when you don’t have facts to backup the monetary compensation. I make over 6 figures / yr as a professional and I wouldn’t mind helping this guy at times to help those who will eventually benefit from this for free in the present and future. I don’t mind MMS either because he also provides helpful blogs. I have and will continue clicking on referral links for FM and anybody I refer will also do it because he’s one of the reasons why I’ve benefited traveling cheap.

    Thanks FM, please don’t listen to these guys..I’m pretty sure you already got plenty of people to help you. I hope those who bashed you go away and don’t benefit from the stuff you’re trying to build for everybody…

  42. FM – Your blog is far and away one of my favorites. I appreciate that you make money from it and have no problem at all with it. I read this post yesterday, however, and was totally put off. I have no doubt that you intended to make it worth any volunteers’ while, but it really did seem offensive to me. However, I think it probably was unintentional on your part, and I do appreciate how you have taken readers’ comments to heart. This blog is your full time job, but essentially you were asking others with full time jobs to take on some tasks that would make YOU more money. While unpaid interns are not all that uncommon in business, usually it is with the expectation of getting a full time job. This seems different. Glad you saw the light. Keep up the good work. I’ll keep reading.

  43. Very, very dissapointed with this request. You are running what is clearly a profitable business and are not willing to share any of that enterprise but rather would enjoy some slave labor. This is not how I would ever run any kind of business. Even non-profits look to compensate help where they can, and I don’t mind volunteering my time to help a non-profit with a good cause. But here the “good cause” is your personal income.

    It is wrong to think that FM has posted all this info for free. As he says in the post himself this is now his full time job, and I am sure he is paid very well for it. I am going to venture he has made over $1k just from my apps. Well I can tell you with this kind of attitude, that $1k is going down to zero after this. If you want help with your business enterprise, pay fair rates for it.

  44. FM – sorry I had not seen your response in comment 37 before publishing my rant. Your comment helps clarify, but I still think the essence stands. I understand not wanting to deal with the complexity of employees, that does take things up another level. However it would not be that difficult to offer some minor equity or hell even just pay some people with points. I just found the concept of asking for volunteer help in a for-personal-profit enterprise vulgar (and if someone ever offers me free help – like if my neighbor helps me mulch my back yard or fix my car, I will repay them in kind somehow. I won’t just take it and give nothing in return)

    • MilesAbound: Thanks for the followup. I had every intention to compensate volunteers based on what they would most value (cash, free trips, help starting their own business, etc), but I didn’t want to advertise that fact because my goal was to recruit a couple of people who were intrinsically motivated to help (vs. extrinsically motivated by the offer of rewards). Obviously this approach was a big tactical error. If I had known that it would offend I wouldn’t have published.

  45. First, I am very glad that you have come to realize the travesty of your request. I do have to say, I am very glad, that most companies don’t advertise their job openings in such manner. As in “come work for us for free, because you love the industry”. And after hiring: “hey, we were just testing you, you are gonna get paid after all”!
    You get paid for your work. And yes, you are motivated by money, whether you admit it or not. Daraius did it the right way.

  46. Wow, Greg. I can’t believe how nasty and mean some of these comments have been but I applaud you for publishing them all, responding to most and fully explaining your thought process. Glad you agree the post was ill advised and kudos for the way you handled the fallout.

    Mark

  47. I’m sure there’s not a single person in this thread who’s believes that this is illegal have never actually applied for a business card without actually having a legitimate business.

    Or am I just naïve?

  48. I have a business, yet will not apply for business cards. Mainly, because you are supposed to only use them for business expenses. And while I don’t claim that what has happened here is illegal, I think its highly unethical. I’m not really sure, why Greg thought this was a good idea. Some disagree and thats fine.

  49. What is everyone up at arms about? I for one would love to volunteer depending on what kind of work you needed and how much time it entailed

  50. I wanted to follow up on my last comment, because it came to my attention, that some perceive me using your first name as somehow outing your identity. I can assure you, it was not. I think most in the industry know your name and it was printed on an FTU brochure as well. But if you feel otherwise, please edit or delete my last comment. I have absolutely no problem with it, and it is your right as this blog owner.
    I don’t want my comments to be perceived as a personal attack on you. Because they are not. I really resisted commenting in the first place when this whole debacle started. But when you said how you did intend to compensate workers and was just trying to test their motives, that crossed the line.
    I actually find it more offensive than you not wanting to pay. It indicates a lack of transparency. And that is a big problem. I am one of your loyal readers and did use your links in the past.
    Which is why I decided to give my 2 cents. You are correct, that you should be proud of this blog. You are one of the best in the industry and compensated accordingly. My suggestion is for you to do a post and apologize to your readers and go on record, that you will compensate those, who volunteered.
    I think you can regain much of your credibility that way. No one is perfect and I am a huge believer in second chances. You probably don’t care what I think and thats fine. All the best and thanks for many great posts.

    @ Jim, who made Walmart analogy. You are brilliant! Have you considered starting a review blog? This industry needs a watchdog in the worst possible way. Even if you can do one post per week, that would be fine. You can set up a Paypal button and I would donate. Others can do so anonymously as well.

  51. Why not just call it an internship? People do unpaid internships all of the time to increase their skills and get experience in a new area. Funny that volunteer somehow has a stigma but internship generally does not.

  52. I am sitting in a lush cotton robe at the brand new Westin Singapore looking out my window at Marina Bay below…having flown Biz Class from the US to Japan to Singapore…and to a large degree I have you FM to thank. To be fair, there are other bloggers to thank…and I must credit myself as well – for playing the game my own way with my own skills, ideas and actions. So my first point is to offer a word of support – I think you are very good at what you do, you have helped me greatly, and IMHO you have no apologies to make. You can learn from what has happened here and move forward – there really is no other way and you seem like a good, decent and smart person that will carry on and win the day and new fans in this way (maybe even recapture some of the old fans once they cool down:-) My second point – and perhaps this is a different and interesting angle to come at this from – is to offer (volunteer:-) to come in and help you run the business (I like running businesses and am quite good at it:-) This way, you can do what you like (be an awesome blogger in this field) in the way that you like – whether that mean staying small, lean and hungry or bringing on paid staff to help you do what you do so well. Either way, mate, carry on…we need talented, smart people in the world!!!

  53. One way to avoid creating a business infrastructure is to work for other people. You can do the same research and write for FTG, MMS, or TPG. That way you don’t have to worry about supporting an infrastructure or worrying about the money and you can focus on what you are passionate about.

  54. PLEASE KNOW that most of your followers have NO ISSUES with your request, your ethics and your judgement. There are always going to be some naysayers about everything, and they seem to be the loudest, but I can assure you the majority of us have no issues!!!! Keep doing what you are doing!

  55. Seriously margie, stop trying to be the arbiter for mainstream ethics and judgement… You’re messing it up by a wide margin. You can say what you think, but as far as speaking for most of your followers?

    FM realized he screwed up and withdrew the request. He’ll probably be back with a similar request be it on the blog or via back door channels. Just hopefully the content of the request won’t be worded in such a self-centered manner.

    The problem isn’t that he wants someone to volunteer for work. The problem is he doesn’t come off as a community player in this post. The whole reason I use his links to sign up for cards is because I feel like I’m contributing back to someone who is contributing to me. If I decide community interest isn’t a primary motivator in this guys work, then I just stop using his credit card links.

    And he knows enough people think like that that he withdrew the request. So, he made a mistake. We’ll see how it goes from here…

    • and that’s your choice. i respect it. you may be right that i was out of line speaking for others, i just assume that there are many that feel the way i do.
      and i agree that perhaps he didn’t convey his message in a perfect way. but for me, it was not an issue, nor would it prevent me from using his links or reading his blog. i think its the best there is.

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