This is our 3,000 post, of which 2,800 were actual flight deals. As we mark this milestone, here is what you can expect from us in the near future:
Enhanced Site Performance
We had a bad run of site reliability this month. Part of that is attributed to the growth of the site and a significant technical challenge with our hosting vendor last week. We have grown about 3,000% since we first launched in August 2011. To support this growing traffic level, we will do more from an infrastructure standpoint to ensure we have adequate capacity. As part of the process, we have implemented a better network monitoring system with faster notification to our team when the site is down. We will also significantly upgrade our hosting plan.
Recently, Google announced they are shutting down Reader. The whole RSS ecosystem is a challenge. We currently use Feedburner, another Google service, to provide RSS and daily email delivery. With the imminent shutdown of Google Reader, we do not anticipate Feedburner to survive. We are currently researching alternatives to provide RSS and e-mail delivery services.
We are still working on providing coverage to additional cities but progress has been slow. From an editorial standpoint, we have always maintained a 6 cents-per-mile criteria but other factors affect our decision to post — deal density and diversity. Deal density is important because who wants only 1 or 2 deals a month? Being diverse faces similar challenges; we don’t want to constantly provide deals to the same city pairs. Cities that we currently do not provide coverage for face all three challenges – lack of deal flow at 6 cents-per-mile or less nor any real deal density or diversity.
But we believe we have a solution that will provide some level of deal flow while still maintaining our 6 cents-per-mile criteria. We are way behind schedule on this aspect of the project but we hope to have it out the door in the 2nd quarter of 2013. Stay tuned!
Expanded Travel Coverage
We have always been a deal first site but we will ramp up posts related to travel. From an editorial standpoint, they are in line with the articles that we have posted earlier in the month — articles on saving with international data roaming and visiting Shanghai and Beijing without a visa for up to 72 hours.
In order to do the above, we will need to monetize the site because costs are becoming more than just beer money. Since our launch in August 2011, we’ve had minimal monetization elements on our site. We’ve had Google adSense for a short amount of time and occasionally, we throw a TopCashBack link into our deals. But we haven’t had a real monetization plan for the site. To provide better uptime, deals, and content, we will need to bring:
- Display ads
- Affiliate booking links for airfare / hotels
- Limited credit cards affiliate links (and we do mean very limited)
- What started as a joke on Twitter might become a reality – The Flight Deal Logo T-Shirts! Our creative team is on it!
The monetization elements will roll out slowly in the 2nd quarter.
We want to thank you all for your support. We wouldn’t be here without everyone’s kindness and generosity in spreading our deals. Feel free to leave us any feedback in regards to our upcoming site plans.
The Flight Deal Team (M, J, J, E, W, K, L, R, J, J, R, and V)
The Flight Deal does not sell travel products or services. We provide you with information about third-party travel suppliers’ offers, and link you to their sites. The information posted by The Flight Deal is valid at the time of publication. However, we have no control over the suppliers, and we therefore do not warrant or guarantee that their offers will not change or become unavailable. Nor are we responsible for their products, services or site content. Please see their sites for their most up-to-date offer information and all applicable terms and conditions.