20 Years of FlyerTalk

It was twenty years ago today
Randy Petersen had led the way
Start a board for the frequent flier
Raise the discussion level higher
So he had introduced to you
The current standard for miles and points
FlyerTalk, now owned by Internet Brands.

20 Years of FlyerTalk

With no apologies whatsoever to Paul McCartney and John Lennon with this song parody of the 1967 song Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, today — which is Saturday, May 5, 2018 — marks 20 years since the current iteration of FlyerTalk was launched by Randy Petersen.

Although the current iteration of FlyerTalk was founded on Tuesday, May 5, 1998, its first iteration was actually launched in 1995 — at the same time Randy created WebFlyer. “In the early days of FlyerTalk, we were so far ahead of the curve that many of the ‘first adopters’ of FlyerTalk were from the Scandinavian countries which were somewhat ahead of the U.S. in online activity in 1995/1998 and were just surfing the new World Wide Web for ‘conversations’. And I somewhat sheepishly also hate to admit it but as i recall, the second post was also deleted as it contained profanity. Boy, did we get off to a ‘not so much’ start.”

Unfortunately, too many hours were spent deleting inappropriate sexual messages and profane content which constantly filled up the virtual bulletin board; and the first iteration of FlyerTalk failed after only four months.

“Many people claim that I invented social media,” Randy has said to me more than once over the years. “But I still thought I was right.”

From FlyerTalk to BoardingArea

In the early months of 2006, Randy Petersen thought of introducing something quite unique on FlyerTalk: a weblog for the FlyerTalk community. No fewer than 22 interested FlyerTalk members answered the call for writers of this weblog; and trials were underway with each person writing articles for a generic weblog to help in trying to determine the member or members who can contribute towards the proposed weblog to be a good daily “newspaper” on FlyerTalk — resulting in FlyerTalk becoming more interesting and usable as a supplement to the TalkMail newsletter, which is released twice per month.

After the trial period concluded, the quality and consistency of the content written by the contributors was reviewed; and two FlyerTalk members were chosen as the official contributors to this weblog, which was featured on the front landing “page” for FlyerTalk and linked to elsewhere.

That weblog became known as The Gate; and it helped to pave the way towards the creation of BoardingArea, of which The Gate was one of the original weblogs of BoardingArea when it was launched to the public in a ßeta version in December of 2007…

…and yes, I was one of the two original FlyerTalk members chosen to write for The Gatewhich has had a rather strange history during its greater than eleven years since it was founded.

Summary

Since it was first launched exactly 20 years ago today on Tuesday, May 5, 1998 FlyerTalk has approximately 713,000 members who have posted almost 30 million times in greater than 1,640,000 discussions. The Internet bulletin board devoted to the discussion of miles, points and travel even underwent a complete aesthetic makeover back in March of 2018, of which your constructive criticism and suggestions are welcome…

…but no official commemoration or celebration has been planned — so this milestone will simply pass quietly, unfortunately.

Unlike a number of people who author weblogs, I remain active as a member of FlyerTalk and committed to being of assistance and service to its community; and although FlyerTalk has matured over the years, it remains as one of the Internet web sites to which I still visit every day.

From the number of people I have met to the amount of money I have saved on travel; from the accumulation and redemption of miles and points to the earning of elite level status; and even with my decision to pursue a graduate degree and becoming a founding writer for The Gate, FlyerTalk has changed my life for the better in numerous ways.

How has FlyerTalk changed your life? Please post your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Thank you in advance — and happy birthday number 20, FlyerTalk.

Source: Internet Brands.

4 thoughts on “20 Years of FlyerTalk”

  1. Miles says:

    FlyerTalk has enabled me to see the world, by showing how FF miles and hotel points can change international travel into a trivial expense.

  2. Flyertalk has always presented a huge amount of information, but I thought and still think it to be very difficult to find the info I need through all of the extraneous posts on any subject. So I created my website, FreeFrequentFlyerMiles.com as a systematicially organized source of free miles opporunities. Still alive after 20 years. Randy supports it by hosting the site for me.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Congratulations on 20 years of providing valuable information over the years, Gary Steiger – FreeFrequentFlyerMiles.com!

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