…So Who Needs Blogs, Anyway?

“W ho needs blogs when you have FlyerTalk?”

I have subscribed to the External Miles and Points Resources forum on FlyerTalk since that forum was launched; and the sentiment as expressed by FlyerTalk member mahasamatman is not the first time it has been posted on FlyerTalk.

…So Who Needs Blogs, Anyway?

What if I said that I initially agree with that statement? Would it surprise you — especially as I write articles for The Gate?

FlyerTalk is a source I use often. Representative of Internet Brands — the company which currently owns FlyerTalk — know it. Randy Petersen — the founder of FlyerTalk and BoardingArea — knows it. I am confident that you know it too. I am certainly not ashamed to admit that — especially as I have been an active and involved member of FlyerTalk for greater than 13 years. FlyerTalk is the reason why The Gate was launched ten years ago this year in the first place, as the original core focus of this weblog was to highlight the best discussions on FlyerTalk…

…and although that focus changed with the move of The Gate from FlyerTalk back to BoardingArea — I now include reports and photographs of trips I have taken; ideas from articles elsewhere other than FlyerTalk; and even post what is on my mind — I still like to use FlyerTalk as a source.

Why?

For me, the answer is obvious: I peruse FlyerTalk multiple times per day because interesting, valuable and — yes — entertaining information pertaining to miles, points, travel and dining is posted there; and as I said, I am an active and involved member of that frequent flier community. At the time that this article was written, there are currently 1,519,712 discussions with content posted 25,756,582 times to them on FlyerTalk.

Let us say that it takes you an average of five seconds to read each item of content posted on FlyerTalk. My calculations suggest to me that it would take you greater than four years to read all of the content currently posted on FlyerTalk without taking any breaks — such as to sleep, for example — at all…

…and that does not include all of the new content which will be posted during those four years.

Yes, if you are an experienced FlyerTalk member, you know how to search for information. You probably can find some of that information almost instantly — as I do…

…but there are many people who do not know — and who can find that wealth of information rather intimidating.

That is where weblogs come in.

Yes, there are literally hundreds of weblogs — 47 on BoardingArea and 18 at Prior2Boarding alone, totaling 65 weblogs which do not include “dormant” ones — out there which also deal with the topics of frequent travel loyalty program miles and points as well as travel and dining. Finding ones which are right for you can indeed be a daunting task; but there are resources — such as TravelBloggerBuzz and this discussion posted on FlyerTalk as two of many examples — which can help to filter out the weblogs which you may not want to read regularly.

Think of weblogs as a resource which help to do the work of searching for pertinent information for you — whether that information resides at FlyerTalk or elsewhere. If a weblog which you are reading consistently does not interest you, simply do not read it.

When valuable information is filtered and curated in an efficient enough manner, it can be sold in the form of a book. “But why would I buy a book when I can get that information free of charge?” You and I might be wondering that; but there are people who would gladly pay for the convenience — and other than any copyright issues which might not be resolved, there is nothing wrong with that.

In fact, you could probably be enterprising and write and sell a book yourself if you really wanted to do so — but be forewarned that there is a lot of work involved in doing so.

Summary

With the creation of FlyerTalk as an offshoot of the original iteration InsideFlyer, Randy Petersen is credited with the foundation of the frequent flier community as we know it today — but that community was created with the basic tenet of gratuitously sharing information which would be potentially beneficial to others. That is still done today in frequent flier communities, believe it or not…

…but there are those who have chosen to take their love of all things related to frequent travel loyalty program miles and points as well as travel and dining and saw an opportunity to monetize and transform it into a sustainable living — and they would not be able to do so if there was not a market for that. It is the simple economic principles of supply and demand — but that monetization also apparently counters that aforementioned original core tenet of voluntarily sharing information, in the minds of some people who openly criticize it.

Yes, The Gate is one of those opportunities for me — I do receive revenue from it even though I am not exactly quite ready to purchase my own Boeing 747-400 aircraft just yet — but I also still regularly contribute to frequent flier communities such as FlyerTalk in many ways on a volunteer basis.

Do you need weblogs to get the information which you seek? No, you do not, as I initially agreed; but I also agree that they can potentially be quite useful — whether they are used to save time in finding the information you seek or present you with information not found on FlyerTalk.

The decision of where you should get your information of all things related to frequent travel loyalty program miles and points as well as travel and dining is ultimately up to you — whether you prefer to get all of your information from FlyerTalk; all of your information from weblogs…

…or probably do what many people do: get there information from a combination of sources.

That is the beauty of it all: it is entirely up to you where you get your information — and at no monetary cost to you whatsoever.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

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