Site Update – And What Does It Mean Going Forward?

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It’s been a tremendous two years for us. When we launched this site in August of 2011, our hope and aspiration was to help our friends and families with travel deals and advice. Fast forward 2 years, we’ve counted hundreds of thousands of you opting to spend a few minutes with us every month, taking advantage of some great travel deals. We consider many of you our online friends that we banter with and offer invaluable feedback and advice. The feedback that you have collectively given us via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail have been amazing. It has helped us improve our product on a daily basis.

When we started, we had minimal intentions of monetizing the site. Costs were low since it was basically our friends and family visiting. Over the last two years, the site has pretty much been free of ads and affiliate marketing. Even though we had an affiliate referral link on some KLM and Air France deals with TopCashBack, the team has collectively funded the cost of the public facing components of the site for the last two years.

However, with hundreds of thousands of visitors on a monthly basis, our web hosting fees are no longer simple beer money anymore. To help us offset the costs of running the site and make this site a viable ongoing enterprise, we have been testing two key monetizing features on the site over the last two weeks:

Google Adsense

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We have opted out of a lot of ad type categories. However, we have no control over the ads being shown.  Google AdSense is the easiest way for us to monetize the site with minimal effort. It can be jarring to go from an ad-free experience to two banner ads. We hope, with the key categories that we have opted in for, that the ads are relevant to you.

Affiliate Marketing

We have joined a few affiliate marketing programs. They are all travel-related. On each post, where applicable, we will feature booking instructions with affiliate marketing partners vs booking directly with the airlines. As always, these deals can be booked anywhere. We will never feature a flight booking partner that does not give you the best pricing (e.g., we will unlikely feature a flight booking partner that charges a booking fee; in a scenario that we do feature a flight booking partner with a booking fee, it is because that is the only partner we could get it to price.)01_affiliate_1

 

01_affiliate_2

Using these affiliate links, we will receive a small commission for each of your bookings. At the moment, the monetization efforts will be limited to these two features. While we don’t want to limit ourselves, we also don’t really want to go down the path of aggressive monetization either.

What Does It Mean Going Forward?

The changes that you see today are the scope of our efforts. In addition, every Tuesday we will also feature one post highlighting hotel deals from our affiliate partners. In no month shall there be more than 5 posts pushing hotels. We typically average about 200 posts a month and hotel deals will represent less than 2.5% of that.

With these monetization efforts, we hope to be cost neutral so that we can continue to provide the best daily flight deals in the marketplace while continuing to expand the scope and depth of them. We would love to hear your feedback on our efforts. Please leave us comments here, Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail.

Thank you all for your continued support and generosity in helping us grow.

The Flight Deal Team

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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.

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26 Responses to "Site Update – And What Does It Mean Going Forward?"

  1. Ed says:

    That is all completely reasonable and kudos for your transparency. Well done.

  2. Rob says:

    Transparency appreciated. My only complaint is that I am no longer able to read your posts in my RSS reader (feedly). I understand that you need page traffic to drive your ad revenue, but it is still inconvenient since I read most blogs/feeds on mobile devices.

  3. SOLTATIO says:

    Completely reasonable. You shouldn’t be out of pocket so the rest of us can save money.
    Keep up the transparency on things like this though, especially if posts dealing with affiliate partner products/inventory increase.
    Thanks for a great blog.

  4. Ian Framson says:

    Sounds reasonable guys. Keep up the good work and keep the deals coming!

  5. Ted says:

    Thanks for letting us know!

  6. Josh says:

    Echo the thoughts above, I think it’s reasonable and I appreciate the transparency. I had wondered when I intially came across the site why there was no effort to generate any revenue because it’s clear your team spends time, money, and effort putting this site together for all of us. It’s only fair that you recieve compensation for the service you provide, whether that ends up being profit or just covering your expenses. Thanks for the work you do.

  7. janice says:

    Ditto!!! I find your newsletter very helpful and transparency is always welcomed and appreciated.

  8. Mofessor says:

    Completely reasonable. I am happy to support this site in any way I can given both the savings and the convenience!

  9. Deb says:

    Sounds like a good plan!

  10. linda says:

    Love the transparency! Sounds like a great plan here 🙂 Thanks for providing such an awesome site with deals that I’ve used many times! 🙂

  11. Mike says:

    Oh wow…my heart skipped a beat. I thought this was a “shutting down shop” post. Please do whatever you must for revenue, and I, like others, hope you makes bags and bags of money from it. This site is a great service for anyone, from leisure traveler to business. See you folks in Lima!

    • struckenapathy says:

      I thought it was a “shutting down” post as well! I fully support this website and I trust that you will continue to make smart decisions to keep this site up and running!

    • Jessica says:

      Same here!

      I really appreciate this site as you’re not just alerting me about any old price drop, but price drops that are really significant.

  12. Joseph says:

    Better than shameless plugging credit cards every other post.

  13. Grant says:

    I want to donate money to you guys thru PayPal. What email is linked to your PayPal account.

    Keep up the great work guys!

  14. Happyguy says:

    Kudos for being transparent. I have left so many good sites because they went aggressive on making money forgetting the essential reason they were there. You guys are awesome and we all fully support you because your content is fabulous. Rock on!

  15. Jerry says:

    I have saved thousands of dollars and scored thousands of points using your site. You guys are the best! My only suggestion is you pout the cpm cost in your summary posting.
    Congratulations on doing such a fantastic job

  16. Anil says:

    Thanks for being upfront. Actually, I do not mind advs. or affliate links which reduce my browse-time.

  17. Mike says:

    I did not even notice the ads until I read this post!

  18. Matt says:

    Thanks for letting us know! I will book hotels and air tickets through the affiliate links on your website from now on! 🙂

  19. Scott McMurren says:

    I think you do a great job with the site. Why wouldn’t you make some $$$ in exchange for your efforts? Rock on.

  20. Joshua says:

    Oh phew, you’re not shutting down! I love this site.

    I’m surprised you haven’t put up ads sooner — make that chedda!

  21. Jennifer says:

    Love this site. Ads not a problem at all. Thanks for letting us know.

  22. TFD says:

    Thanks everyone. We will keep on keeping on.

    @Grant – Thanks for the offer. Much appreciate. We do not have PayPal.

    @Rob – We made a commercial decision to have a summary RSS feed vs full RSS feed to drive pageviews.

    @Jerry – We have received a few emails asking for CPM on the title. We actually have been trying to shorten our titles because of character limitations on Facebook and our titles being truncated. So until there is a change on Facebook (where we drive significant traffic to our site), we will unlikely add more data points onto our post titles.

  23. Andrew B says:

    Do whatever you’ve gotta do to keep the deals coming!

  24. AAdvantage Geek says:

    You provide a great service to the frequent flyer community and if anyone deserves to earn revenue from a website, TFD does.

    Congratulations for reaching the 2-year milestone and wish you future success!

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