The Quick Deals deluge
The first I knew that something had gone wrong was when I glanced at my phone yesterday and saw a series of text messages from a friend:
16 tweets in 1 minute? Really!?!
You need to shut down your Twitter account!
I knew immediately what had happened. WordPress is configured to broadcast every new post on my site through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. As the technical crew at Boarding Area ported posts from my old Blogger platform to WordPress, each post looked like a new post. So, the system proudly blasted each one through every social channel. And, that wasn’t even the worst part…
It used to be possible to subscribe to this blog by checking a box when adding a comment. That checkbox ensured that all new posts were sent to your email as soon as they were published. You know where I’m going with this right? We ported 278 Quick Deals posts, so readers who had subscribed in that way received 278 delightful emails. Fortunately, most people subscribe through the “Subscribe by email” box on the right side of every page, or through an option in my free email newsletter service. Neither of those delivery mechanisms were affected.
Later, the same day, I discovered that I had mysteriously published my first Portal Alert post. Oops, that wasn’t supposed to happen! Luckily it appears to be in pretty good shape so let’s go ahead and announce it ahead of schedule…
Announcing Portal Alerts!
I’ve often been asked if there was any way to be alerted when great online portal offers appear (or disappear). I’ve wanted that too. Until now, I’ve been dependent upon tips from readers, emails from portals, etc. This has been a problem because great portal deals often appear for a very limited time. When Sears offered 16X through the United MileagePlus portal last year, it was for two days only. Recently, many deals have been available for just one day. The question was how to identify those deals right away so as to share them in a timely manner?
There are many websites that let you look up the best available portal rates for a given merchant. I call these “portal finders”. The problem is that you have to know which merchant you’re interested in, and they are often inaccurate or not up-to-date. In the past I’ve tested various portal finders, and I most recently found CashBackMonitor to be best. It wasn’t (and still isn’t) perfect (they’re still working on correcting the Ultimate Rewards results, for example), but I found them to be far better than the competition.
So, I turned to CashBackMonitor to see if they could help. With CashBackMonitor providing the data, we will now publish a Portal Alert post every morning. The post is designed to show merchants that have increased or decreased the best rates available through portals.
Here’s an example of what you’ll see:
The image shown above is just a picture so its not clickable, but the real Portal Alerts posts are. As you can see in this image, the portal alert found that the best rate for Bloomingdale’s had increased from 6 points per dollar on September 29th to 8 miles per dollar on September 30th. And, in the real Portal Alert post, you can click the Bloomingdale’s link to go right to the CashBackMonitor page showing exactly which portal offers 8 miles per dollar. In this case, it’s the United MileagePlus Shopping portal:
Each Portal Alert post is divided into three sections:
- Travel Mileage/Points
- Bank/Credit Card Points
- Cash Back
Sometimes you’ll see few or no results in a section and sometimes you’ll see an overwhelmingly long list. Often, the Cash Back section is particularly long, so it’s conveniently placed at the bottom. If you’re not interested, don’t bother scrolling down. Results in each section are currently sorted alphabetically so that if you have a few favorite merchants you can easily find them on the list if they’re there.
Separate pages and emails
Even though Quick Deals and Portal Alerts are now hosted on the same platform as my regular daily blog, the posts appear on separate pages, as follows:
- Daily blog posts: frequentmiler.net
- Quick Deals: quickdeals.frequentmiler.net
- Portal Alerts: portalalerts.frequentmiler.net
If you follow me through social channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, you’ll be alerted to all new posts, regardless of type. If you subscribe to Frequent Miler through email, you’ll have to register separately with each page (unless you previously subscribed through the no longer available subscribe through comments feature). We separated these intentionally so that you can subscribe just to the types of posts that most interest you.
We are currently working to setup email subscription links for Quick Deals and Portal Alerts. Hopefully by the time you read this, you’ll see the option to subscribe when visiting either of those pages.