Blogging the Line by Frequent Miler. Wouldn’t the blogosphere be so much better if there were no affiliate links in the body of blog posts? Yes it would. Will it happen? I doubt it.

The Definitive Guide to Free or Very Cheap Access to Airport Lounges. By the Lazy Traveler’s Handbook. Some good advice here.

Get FREE Credit Monitoring from Target. By DansDeals.

Easy SPG Promotion Take a Spin. Enter daily until February 7. By the way, my wife (I entered for her) won a Replay XD 1080 Video Camera courtesy of Java Monster ( I was trying to win a trip to Hawaii & had to settle for the camera #firstworldproblem)

300 Free La Quinta points (HT to too many to mention so I won’t bother).

The best US Air credit card offer from Barclays remains the one found on this Flyer Talk thread with its very first link marked “Newer 35k Link”. You get 35k US Air miles after the first purchase, 10k US Air miles at anniversary and no annual fee. Don’t believe the hype around the other blogs. And if you see the “30k offer” out there proposed, run away like hell, do not be a mule :-)

While every blogger tries to get paid by continuing to justify getting the AMEX Platinum card, PFDigest wrote this:

NO!

Just… no. They’ve gutted that thing. The party’s over.

Move on, people. Just move past this and get on with your lives.

That is all.

[Please see link in the PFDigest post leading to the Miles Abound post about still getting value out of this card...but you gotta work it a bit. And thanks to TBB reader Steve for inspiring bloggers who put the reader first while others continue to make absurd statements in order to sell this card which pays the highest commission by the way just in case you did not know that. Prior sentence was a mouth full, wow!]

 

What is it with airlines landing in wrong airports lately? I hate to be the pilot of planes who do this, not sure it is a good thing for their resume.

Earn 50% more American Airlines miles on US Airways, register here. And earn 50% more US Airways miles on AA flights, register here.

This link leads to a document explaining FTC Disclosure Guidelines for Bloggers. And let me quote (bold font for emphasis is mine) : ” You still need to disclose material relationships with brands, in a clear and conspicuous manner proximate to your endorsement, and both you and the sponsor have an obligation to be accurate in your claims about a product… As far back as 2009, the FTC was already publicly recommending that disclosures not be buried at the bottom of a post or on a separate page…Takeaway: Do not put your disclosure solely at the bottom of your post. Recommendation: Include a brief disclosure at the top and if necessary, provide additional details at the bottom. Note that the FTC also explicitly stated that the form of the disclosure should match the content. If it is a video or sound file, the disclosure should be done in the native format — ie in the video or recording, not simply included in a post or annotation on a social site“.

I will let you all ponder about the paragraph above a bit. And may I direct you again to my Blog Reviews page and remind you that disclosure practices is one of the criteria the esteemed TBB staff considers prior to making the final determination judgement! Thank you to esteemed Flyer Talk moderator Oliver2002 for featuring the link in the Flyer Talk thread: “Bloggers Taking Comps“. He went on to state something else in the same post #48: “Our hobby is a very very small niche with very educated frugal consumers. Money can only be made via credit card referrals…” TBB confirms this as this site continues to hit it big with Google Ads and Amazon shopping links trying to break into three digits after more than a year. It’s okay to laugh about this, it’s a learning process and as long as you enjoy the ride and making a difference…it’s all good.

 

30 of the most brilliant and effective print advertisements of the last few years. By the Blog of Francesco Mugnai.

cemex concrete ad

Cemex Concrete ad

 

Free Diving with Tuna Fish. At Twisted Sifter. Wow, this is mesmerizing…

Free diving with tuna fish

In this breathtaking underwater photograph by Kurt Arrigo, we see a woman freediving (i.e., no breathing aid) with a school of tuna fish. This is not a composite or digitally manipulated as many may be quick to assume. The model in the photograph is Saho Harada, a two-time Olympic synchronized swimmer for Japan, and the photograph was taken at a depth of approximately 18 meters (59 ft).

 

Amazing finger-paintings of icebergs. At the Blog of Francesco Mugnai. I see TBB as my own version of artistic expression. And now let me tell you about the best credit card to use at gas stations…Ok, that was a joke, come on!

Iceberg Zaria Forman

Creating iceberg art

 

The Modern Motorcycle Diaries. Found at Johnny Jet. Wow! “503 days. 82,459 miles. 22 countries. That’s the epic journey, in numbers, motorcycled by traveler/filmmaker Alex Chacon, who covered the distance between Alaska and Argentina during his trip. The footage above, filmed and cut by Alex, really makes you want get out there and explore like Alex.

10 Money Lessons From Elderly Americans Who Have Seen It All. By Motley Fool. This is a fantastic article, please take some time to read it! For the most part, I like to keep the personal finance passion part of my personality separate from my travel miles/points addict part (even though it makes commercial sense to find a way to blend them).

 

Funny Google search terms that led to TBB:

“smisek has taken united down the exact same road” – This is why blogging is so entertaining at times, free laughs!!!

“home improvement deal” – Seriously?

 

You can support TBB by clicking/forwarding any of our referral links and starting your online shopping at our NEW Amazon affiliate link (or click on the Amazon Banner in the right hand side of the home page).

Check out my updated blog lists: Blogs I Love, Blogs I Like, Blogs I Ignore

Thank you for reading my blog!  Please pass my blog link to your friends and family if you think they will enjoy it too.

 

George
travelbloggerbuzz@gmail.com

Join over 2,300 TBB followers on Twitter @ FlyerTalkerinA2 and add TBB on Google+

 

P.S. Not sure I can have a Buzz post on Wednesday but feel free to keep checking. Good for my ratings and if anyone checks them please let me know too lol.

 

82 comments on “Blogging the Line, Lounge Access, SPG Spin, US Air 35k credit card, AMEX Platinum, FTC Guidelines, Cement ad, Tuna Fish, Icebergs, Money Lessons

  1. Did anyone else catch this? It is about a man who finds himself seated next to an autistic three year old during a flight:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shanell-mouland/dear-daddy-in-seat-16c_b_4585865.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

    I could not help but remember Gary Leff’s blog about the child who kept kicking his seat and the parents who did nothing but fight. His blog and the comments left me feeling frustrated – hard to do much in that situation although MommyPoints did have some good ideas – but this story left me feeling uplifted.

    The world needs more such “daddies.”

  2. There’s a targeted 100k signup bonus on the Amex Platinum. (I know because my dead mother got one in the mail.) I think it’s worth for a year with that kind of sign-up bonus.

  3. “Wouldn’t the blogosphere be so much better if there were no affiliate links in the body of blog posts? Yes it would.” I don’t agree with this actually. I don’t think there is harm in putting links in the body, per se. Yes the way it’s done, with thousands of irrelevant links rammed down the throat, is wrong. But I put (non affiliate) links in the body of posts and it makes for better flow and easier for a reader to use.

    • I agree with MA. I very seldom put affiliate links in the body of a post, but I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically wrong with doing so, so long as (a) it’s disclosed (b) it’s not overdone and (c) it’s not misleading.

  4. George: Your turning into a “Pimp”

    Enough with the “Use my Amazon Referral Link” Everyday every post George?

    Disgusting. The Blue Ink is blinding my eyes.

    What a hypocrite

      • I can get George to censor a comment any day. What we seem to be having trouble with is Georgie admitting he is not special and just like all the other bloggers.

        He censors comments and now he is filling the Internet with blue links and “pimping” to monetize. Remember he was going to show us all how to do it? George get those amazon pimps on a back page and keep your word will ya?

        And to think he has you guys thinking he is above the fray. You should be watching the hypocrisy from the outside.

  5. Cool paper using computer modeling to figure out how fish swim in schools, as pictured above:
    http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(13)00920-2

    Freediving is like base-jumping; you’re just asking for trouble and I won’t be doing either anytime soon.

    And I agree with PW above; I’d apply for a 100K Amex Platinum and hold it for a year. I don’t know whether I’d use it for spending beyond the bonus much, however. I’d also wait to see what Centurion lounges open up; I’m not in Dallas or Las Vegas often.

  6. @ Shaun: It’s okay, it happens to us too :-)

    @ TWA44: Wow, what a feel good story, thanks for sharing.

    @ Raffles: Great story. Pics appear way too “white” (or maybe it’s my monitor). The pics of these ladies reminded me of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders honestly :-)
    ” I stood in the ocean, wriggled my toes into the sand, looked up & thanked whoever’s up there looking out for us.
    They say “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” and I couldn’t agree more.
    I have never felt more alive in my entire life.”
    Probably the best ending on a trip report!

    @ Nick PFDigest: I will get my intern (unpaid of course) Julio to get right on it on the next blog project: ““Blogs That Need to Beef Up Their Compliance Departments” post.”. It may be a long time before he is done. In the meantime please check out the http://travelbloggerbuzz.com/blog-reviews/blogs-i-ignore/

    @ PW: For 100k it sure is worth it ;-) I never get these things from Amex for more than 50k. I think it’s because I don’t put much spend on my amex cards. This is changing with my (old) Blue Cash card ;-)

    @ Miles Abound and Nick PFDigest regarding affiliate links: I stand by my statement that the blog world would be a much better place if there were NO affiliate links. Of course I live on Planet Earth and that would never happen.
    “(a) it’s disclosed (b) it’s not overdone and (c) it’s not misleading.” – I absolutely agree! And content and adding value to the reader should always come FIRST. It can be done but it’s just awfully hard imho. This is why you see so many bloggers just turn into “evil mules” ;-)
    I also think the world would be a better place if there was complete transparency and all financial compensation fully disclosed up front. Hey, it’s my blog and I can say what I want. I of course always appreciate reader feedback and value your opinion. We don’t disagree much actually…I am just coming from an old school romantic totally impractical point of view lol.

    @harvson3: I am not doing any free diving either any time soon :-)
    Centurion in New York and San Fransisco are being built I think. I asked the Amex rep for more locations and would not say. Bottom line is that the card’s main benefit has been demolished and trying to sell it makes a mockery of bloggers. For 100k yes I am in of course :-)

    Please ignore the trolls.

      • George Remember the good old days when you used to preach “Do no harm” ? Sure you do that was also part of your schtick.

        Now you are asking your readers to forgo the rebates from Ebates, Mypoints, BeFrugal and Fatwallet to use Your Links????? What is that about George?

        How could a guy with such a high moral fiber, go back on that word as well?

        “Don’t censor”, but does
        “Don’t pimp” but does (and even begs to go along with it)
        “Do No Harm” but does

        And you call me and other bloggers out. Readers come out of the ether will ya?

        He is a censoring, pimping, harming blogger.

        By the way George, What is your commission rate on the Amazon links?
        Remember your other Schtick: “Full Disclosure”

    • I dunno, it’s pretty tempting to write 6 word posts in response to his angry rants, thus causing him to write another angry rant (and continue said cycle….)

  7. Congrats on your Amazon link, glad you got it set up. I’m not sure how long it takes to be paid, maybe one month after the previous month ends. I think the majority of my blogging income comes from $1 Plink referrals, woo hoo!

  8. George,
    Your readers’ usage of your Amazon affiliation may surprise you! It’s amazing how people respond if you provide them with an outlet to do so…and don’t ruin their credit and cause them to go homeless in the process.

    • We appreciate that the monetizing he does on his blog (like Amazon and Ebates referrals) doesn’t drive his content

      When he starts writing content about Amazon the way bloggers trip over themselves justifying their links (“yes the Amex Platinum lost almost all of its useful lounge priviliges, but it’s worth it because you get SPG Gold!!!!!”), or does 16 part series on the greatness of Amazon, then he’ll be rightfully called out on it

      Until then, the haters will have to pretend that George says blogs shouldn’t monetize

    • $2.64 today. Should I start lining up support for the TBB IPO soon or what? :-)

      Should I do a youtube video pimping my Amazon link?

      The most bizarre misperception in the latest trolling attack is that I have never been about blog monetizing per se, just the way, you know, it tends to drive content. Now excuse me I need to learn more about which cards are best to use for gas :-)

  9. First line in the body of Georges post today:

    “Blogging the Line by Frequent Miler. Wouldn’t the blogosphere be so much better if there were no affiliate links in the body of blog posts? Yes it would. Will it happen? I doubt it.”

    And then he goes ahead and pimps in the body of his post with Amazon links and begs people to use them.

    I doubt too George can’t even conform to his own wishes.

  10. And don’t forget to change your disclosures page which indicates “no advertisements”

    Oh yea and as for how to disclose: looks like you missed this wording in your post today as well:

    “…….the FTC was already publicly recommending that disclosures not be buried at the bottom of a post or on a separate page…”

    Now where is YOUR disclosure again???? Bottom of the page and a separate page?? Huh????

    And you are compensated at this point unlike your bottom of the page disclosure says. You’ve got so much work to do buddy. Wow!!!!

    • Dear Ingy:
      How is retirement? Are you and your wife spending quality time together, reaping the benefits of the sale of your website? I hope so. It would be sad if you were spending retirement being crazy and posting the same comments on people’s websites over and over again.
      Kisses!
      The Saner Half of the World

      • Retirement is great. Two beautiful grandchildren, lots of free time and a chance to continue to see the world. And in case you haven’t noticed I’m giving George back just a little of what he freely dished out to others for over a year. Over that time George (in his mind Siskel and Ebert) trashed others for

        Full Disclosure
        Doing No Harm
        Pimping Affiliate links
        Censorship
        and lastly Blue Ink

        It is just a reminder to you guys of all the awful things you all piled on for over a year has no come full circle. For those of you that drank George’s Koolaid look at the truth now.

        His credibility is gone with his actions. His platform on such shaky ground that all around see the fall and George won’t and can’t defend his actions.

        As I said many months ago, George is just another Bozo on the Bus like the rest of us. He knows it. I know it and now hopefully you can all see it too.

        When the slamming of others stops, so will I. Until then, I’ll just keep reminding you of the full circle and line of crap you all got fed.

        “If you can’t say something nice, Don’t say anything at all”

        “Let he without sin, cast the first stone”

        • I understand your substantive point, broadly, though I disagree with it. (I emailed you three or four years ago to tell you I had ethical concerns about some of the advice you doled out on your blog, and you responded telling me to pound sand. George’s posts have in no way reached the same degree of encouraging unethical behavior.) The tone of your comments is abusive and unbecoming of an adult or a businessman.

  11. TPG: Amex Platinum Global Entry benefit is worth $100 a year.
    Umm, sure… ;)

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone pushing the Mercedes-Benz Platinum yet to promote the devaluation.

  12. Regarding “10 Money Lessons From Elderly Americans Who Have Seen It All”, point “2. Money is often at war with time. Balance them appropriately.”

    How’s your heavy hitting going with the new CC? You’re going all out on your MS?

  13. Dear George, This will be my last comment post on TBB. I will pass my position and the gavel of TBB Fan Club President and part time entertainment comment er to our good fiend Ingy. I can not compete with his non stop deluge of entertaining comments. This is internet gold. Better than watching a train wreck!! Good bye to all and thank you Buzz for everything…………..I leave you now to concentrate full time on my Luminosity Brain Training. God Bless……PS apologies to Agenda Guy, I busted your b@lls as Agenda Girl, but in the end you were right about MMS and I was wrong. Mea Culpa masked crusader.

    • None taken. And it was quite evident with writing style, and I think a lot of us knew.

      This blog was always about reading Steve’s, Harvson’s and other good comments from time to time. I could go very long on a anti-TBB rant but it will not serve any purpose. I still think it is great that I can write this without even the slightest fear that my comment will be deleted. This is the only blog you can say that.

      I do not want to compound to the negativity spewed by Ingy here too, though the good points he raises gets masked by incessant trolling. Everyone man his age and stature should have more self respect.

      • AgendaGuy: Thank you for posting. I do respect your point of view; we do not always agree and that is just fine. And it is okay to go on anti-TBB rant. I mean how worse can it get, I heard it all lately :-)
        As long as readers are entertained, learn something and maybe get inspired rarely and read/comment it’s all good.

        TBB Bozo :-)

      • “though the good points he raises gets masked by incessant trolling”

        Actually, they’re masked by the fact that 6 years has elapsed since he was making good points

  14. @Grant: Thanks. I still have not figured out how to list the Plink referral link in my Referral page. No big deal. I got enough in there already for my Staples visits for a $20 gc, not bad.

    @PW: I am sure the staff will get right on it.

    @ABC: Starting sometime tomorrow, I am pretty much all 5% going forward.

    @Steve & Adam: I think the entertainment value of feeding trolls has diminished as the trolling decibel levels have surpassed my wildest imagination. Please do not feed the trolls. Thank you

    @Ramsey: Please don’t go. I hereby appointed you the Honorary TBB Fan Club President for life…so you are welcome anytime.

    @bluecat: My son appears excited about this camera, it looks good…so I think we are going to keep it…when it gets here

    • You are welcome. U going to Fincon14? I know it’s early but I am certainly thinking about it. Looks like Brazil is a no go, my brother has not done a thing for tickets…and it’s getting late in the process.

  15. As someone with direct experience, I’d like to point out that credit card affiliate links are not the only way to generate income with a blog, according to your quote from Oliver2002. In fact, they’re less than a quarter of what HMT brings in. The bulk of it HMT’s revenue is from display advertising, which, though annoying, can be blocked with widely available browser plug-ins. I don’t try to stop this. I also provide a full RSS feed (not a truncated RSS snippet that requires you to visit the site) and daily email for those who want to read without the ads.

    The problem with this method is it only works if you have a lot of readers. And that usually requires good content. Not every day, I admit, but often enough they keep coming back. I’ve had lots of arguments with my affiliate manager about this when they suggest pushing the cards harder because they don’t seem to realize that aggressively pushing on one lever could jeopardize other revenue sources.

    • Interesting observations, thank you. Would your statement change if you were not part of Boarding Area?

      In my very limited foray into this monetizing thing…I must admit I agree with Oliver so far. My target reader market will never be large enough to generate those ad numbers.

      Now if I can figure out how that darn Amazon banner can fit in the right hand side of my homepage? :-)

      These affiliate managers all get paid by how much the blogs generate and have short term target numbers. In other words, the conflicts of interest vs long term goals are not in the same page. Therefore, the cc pumping and the wide differences between all bloggers. What I have always believed should hold true is…the quality of the content. You bring on quality content and some pumping is excused (DD, VFTW, your site). You bring crap and just pump…well, you end up in my Blogs I Ignore list :-) I actually prefer my other two lists, you know, being positive and all.

      Affiliate links sure is a touchy subject!

      • It’s not touchy at all – it’s fairly straightforward

        The credit card affiliate links generally cause bloggers to essentially become employees of Chase, Amex etc. rather than provide quality content

        If you are one of the few who are able to maintain a shred of objectivity (i.e. FM) while having that affiliate relationship, or at least put together some high quality content while pimping the banks cards, great!

        If the 3 most important things to you are affiliate clicks, affiliate clicks and affiliate clicks, and “provide quality content” is somewhere around “have pretty banner” on the importance scale, then you should get called out on it

        It really is much simpler (from the armchair commenter/blogger position you’re in) than you make it out to be

        • It is touchy when you raise the issue with the bloggers who fall in that camp “if the 3 most important things to you are affiliate clicks, affiliate clicks and affiliate clicks, and “provide quality content” is somewhere around “have pretty banner” on the importance scale…”

          In the meantime I am making a killing on the Amazon links, just passed $5. I will give my loyal TBB readers free stock options for the eventual IPO LOL.

  16. How fun would it be to have one of those affiliate managers go all “Edward Snowden” on their company? I would enjoy that even more than reading about toilet options at the Las Vegas Centurion lounge.

  17. I love FTG (the blog)’s Howie. I sure hope he’s getting a big cut of the affiliate commissions from Internet Brands though. Because it takes cajones to pump out those “travel challenges” (I think they used to be called “churning challenges” maybe the marketing guru didn’t think that sold well enough?) Today he tells us we can get the Citi Hilton Reserve card, put a bunch of spend on it, and stay at the Hilton Austin!

    Or we could save the annual fee on that card, manufacture the required spend on a Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express, and Priceline a couple of nights downtown. But that wouldn’t put anything in Internet Brands’ pockets, or fund any remaining residuals to our favorite senior citizen now would it?

    • It has nothing to do with the affiliate links, that was just a coincidence. The credit cards in no way drove the content.

      They just truly wanted to show readers that you can use a Southwest card for flying Southwest, and a Hilton card for staying at a Hilton. Maybe next week they can tell us what hotel chain you recommend with a Marriott card

    • The banks do not like promotion of churning. I have no insider insight, but would say I am 99.999999999999% certain that is why the name was changed. Rick will correct me if I am wrong :)

  18. Speaking of Residuals, I’m wondering if George is putting aside a 3% slush fund to cover the 3% Ebates rebate you could all earn using that shopping portal link to Amazon instead of HIS link that he is pimping at the top of his page. I’m sure he is, as George is big on “Do No Harm” Just email him to get your share of that slush fund I’m sure he has to cover all your losses.

    ” Your credibility is one of your most important assets”

    PS: I liked today’s Travel Challenge

    • Are you saying I can use Ebates to buy any product from Amazon and get back 3% and not bother use George’s link? Are you sure?

    • Hey bud I thought your credit was one of your most important assets? :) Wish you guys would chill out. Ebates only gives you cashback on a handful of shitty categories so yes Amazon is a pretty “safe” affiliate link. Frankly not sure why they pay so much to affiliates but refuse to give anything to the big affiliate aggregators… oh wait as I am writing I am thinking to myself “creating exposure to states we don’t charge sales tax in and might have to”

    • (I may be late to the “party” but) *I* will buy through George’s Amazon link to REWARD George!

      Making 3% at Ebates or wherever is not sufficient remuneration to NOT give a financial tip of the (wee-small) hat by buying through his Amazon link.

      Could you not consider value instead of pennies? TBB provides value to me, and if I can reward the GIFT George gives me by providing all this cool stuff to read — why would I mourn (or get snarky?) over 3% of, say, a $100 purchase at Amazon? Especially since I don’t pay the Amazon vig. $3? Do I think TBB is worth $3 to me? Why yes, (not) amazingly, I DO!

      • As Miles Abound has indicated, the 3% ebates rebate only works in a few crappy categories (baby items, “clothing”, and Amazon local “experiences”).

        Thank you Elenor for the support! The Amazon revenue gets the Revenue line of the tax return for the TBB venture to justify the expenses (and the valuable tax deductions). Showing two years of losses and no revenue is enough, time to show some revenue in 2014 to keep this baby going.

        As long as readers are entertained, get a little educated and rarely inspired I feel good about what I do here.

        Breaking News: A reader just emailed me that Delta Points lost the Chase links.

  19. If anyone still cares, the UFBdirect AA debit card account does indeed earn 1 mile for every $2 in spending, including online loads to BB, MOs at the grocery store, BB loads at Sam’s place, and Square Cash transfers to a friend. And their smartphone app accepts MO deposits. It ain’t bad. YMMV.

    • Yes UFBdirect debit card has been around for a while. I never got into it. Great that it works for you and others. If the darn thing was 1 for 1 I would be all over it :-)
      I am now all 5% cash back on my Amex Blue Cash card going forward. Testing Amex Financial Review territory, it will be good for my experience. I can blog about it and start pushing a crapload of Amex credit cards (genius move!) lol.

      • Assuming you might buy some plastic with that AMEX and then turn it into paper, by putting that paper into UFB (without any trips to the bank) and then moving it through Square Cash to your regular account, you pick up half an AA mile along with your 4 cents per dollar…

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