Site Update – Credit Card Affiliate Links

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We are only months away from our milestone 3 year anniversary of providing daily flight deals. In that time, we have published over 5,800 deals and have hopefully saved you or someone you know some money on travel.

For over 2 years, we did not monetize the site because costs were small and it was a distraction to our core focus on providing the best deals possible. In late August 2013, we went down the path of seeking opportunities to monetize the site because costs were becoming significant. We then decided to start with display ads from Google and affiliate links for airline and hotel purchases.

Our goal for this initial set of monetization efforts was to allow for us to be cost neutral and, in most of the months that followed, that has proven to be the case.

Our continued growth has now brought us to a new crossroad. As we are committed to stepping up the user experience that we provide to our growing fan base, we likewise need to increase our revenue by adding credit card affiliate links. We’d like to share some of the ways we plan to improve The Flight Deal:

  • We will introduce better emailing capabilities for our daily newsletter. At the moment, we are using a free service called Feedburner, which we can’t complain too much about although there’s room for improvement.
    • We want our daily newsletter to be more timely. At the moment, we send one mass mailing that gets distributed around 3PM EST every day. Moving forward, we’d like to provide readers with real-time deal alerts throughout the day as they become available.  Based on our existing subscriber base, here’s what typically happens with traffic when our newsletter goes out:

2014-04-07_email

    • We want to have individual city-based newsletters. Our current newsletter may or may not have deals relevant to your region. Moving forward, we’d like to better target the emails so that you will receive the ones that affect your departure city.
    • To provide these two simple features, we need to migrate from a free service to a paid service. We have a lot of subscribers and the cost of migrating to a service that allows us to provide better alerts will be costly to us.
  • We will expand our coverage. Combined with Fare Deal Alert (our sister website), we currently cover 22 cities. Adding new cities to this list is one of our largest costs because we have to develop new code to find the best deals on the web. On top of that, there are added ongoing costs of maintaining system capacity to keep up with finding deals on a daily basis.

Credit Card Affiliate Links

We are not going to sugarcoat the fact that credit card affiliate links pay significantly more than what we now earn with our current model using display advertising, airline and hotel affiliate links. Adding these links to our site will provide us with the chance for us to enhance our service offerings while continuing to be an ongoing viable commercial enterprise.

As we start to roll out the credit card affiliate links on our site, we will remain committed to these principles:

  • Best Offer — we will always promote the best offer, irrespective of whether or not the offer pays us or not.
  • Minimal Credit Card Posts —  you can expect minimal credit card related posts from us. We might post if the signup bonus is large or if there’s a significant change of benefits. But in general, we’d rather develop new techniques for finding the best deals than writing about credit card offers.

You may not have noticed but we have included the Barclays Arrival Card link with 40,000 bonus miles (worth up to $400 in free travel) in all of our deal posts. That will probably be the extent of our credit card links per post. Do not expect link fest posts from us.

2014-04-07_credit_card

Most of all, we want to take this time to thank you, our loyal readers, for your continuing support. We truly appreciate the feedback we’ve gotten from you in helping us better our service.

Onward,

The Flight Deal Team (M, J, J, W, E, K, J, L, R, J, R, V)

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8 Responses to "Site Update – Credit Card Affiliate Links"

  1. Graham says:

    All good by me! Appreciate the transparency, but I also appreciate a good credit card deal! 🙂

  2. bltn95 says:

    That sounds very reasonable. Real-time alerts will be a game changer, IMHO. Just please don’t forget the little people when this whole thing becomes really huge! 😉

  3. Cate! says:

    Good luck!

  4. Mike says:

    Thanks for complete transparency. You’re doing a great and free service and if a few links are required which also benefit the readers in terms of points/miles and you also get some revenue, then win-win. So long as you continue the best product and it doesn’t become a “link fest” as you’ve mentioned, it’s all good. Good luck!

  5. Jennifer Nice says:

    Looking forward to the improvements and expansion. Thanks for your honesty. Keep up the excellent work!!!

  6. OceanBreezes says:

    You are my go to place for good deals on flights. Many thanks for the great service! I look forward to the improvements and am happy to support.

  7. Sam Jackson says:

    I think, given the unique value-add you have (especially compared to others who are… a little spam-happy with their affiliate links… no finger-pointing), you could also have a lot of other alternative business models popular. Any consideration for those?

    Don’t forget to ask your customers to pay for some of your services 🙂

  8. HansGolden says:

    I’m glad you guys are taking this step! You deserve to be compensated for your work.

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