As the title of the post implies, my longtime readers already know what I’m about to say. If you are new to this site, hopefully, you will learn a thing or two. So, what prompted this post was the fact that few weeks ago I provided free consulting service to someone who evidently found the blog on Google. The guy emailed back and asked me how he could support the site.
That made me realize that as obvious as it is to most people who follow miles and points blogs, it’s probably confusing to readers who find us via random Google search. So here is the short answer: you can find all the ways to support the site in my Support Me page. Occasionally, Nancy and I include our personal referral links in our posts, but only when it’s an organic fit in relation to our content.
The long answer
About 99% of our profit comes from credit card affiliate links. We certainly don’t make a lot of money, but it’s profit nonetheless. I’ve discussed potential pitfalls of this form of blog monetization many times. Let me give you the short version. It’s absolutely true that there is a conflict of interest when you “sell” credit cards, and only some of them pay commission. As much as I try to put readers’ interests first, I would be deluding myself if I said that I’m not influenced by incentive to a certain extent.
However, there is a flip side to this that is often ignored by all the anti-affiliate-link crusaders. The fact is that miles and points rigamarole is still very much a fringe hobby. Even though the number of interested people has increased over the last few years, it’s still relatively unknown. Think about it. How many of your friends actively collect miles and points? That’s what I thought.
Since miles and points industry occupies a tiny corner of the internet, it’s very hard to monetize, especially if like me, you got into it late. It’s even harder when you have a very specific topic, aka “miles and points for an average family.” It truly is a niche within a niche within a niche.
But what about AdSense and Amazon link? Once again, you are unlikely to make very much unless you have a huge audience. We don’t. I finally added AdSense few days ago, and so far the results are not encouraging. We rarely link to Amazon unless it has to do with family travel products. And even then, it earns a few bucks per month, at most.
Sure, we get offers to do sponsored posts on a regular basis, where we would get paid for including certain type of content on the blog. Some of them ask for a link to a gambling site (nope!), others have nothing to do with travel or miles and points.
Back to credit card affiliate links. In my particular situation, they have proven to be the best type of monetization. Despite all the problems and occasional headaches, credit card links have been a wonderful thing. Without them, I would make nothing. Scratch that, I would be using my own savings for blog expenses. This is where I draw the line.
I have no regrets, and if I went back in time, I would still apply to have them on my site. So, to all those who are looking for an apology, sorry, guys! It won’t be coming. Access to our content is free, so take it or leave it. I don’t know if it has to do with me getting older, but I have zero tolerance for nonsense these days.
That said, I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind. If you detest credit card affiliate links, you are not obligated to use them. We have a policy of not begging, guilting or manipulating folks into supporting the site. We hope you benefit from the content and feel compelled to keep us in business. Think of blogging as a consulting service where compensation comes in the form of tips. Only in this case, you don’t even have to spend any money.
Credit card affiliate scene is changing, and not for the better when it comes to small bloggers like me. The banks keep instituting draconian approval rules and restrictions, and the new trend is to have an exclusive on credit card offers with one specific blogger. As you can imagine, all of this negatively impacts our bottom line.
Very often I will get an email from a reader asking me how they can apply for this or that credit card. Over and over again, I have to tell them that it’s not in our affiliate network. BTW, thank you so very much to all who take the time to reach out rather than just Google the link. I seriously expect that the situation will only keep getting worse. But I don’t lose sleep over it because it’s literally out of my hands. Plus, blogging and helping readers is still fun (for now).
However, I would be lying if I said that I don’t care about making money. Regular blogging is a business, just like any other business. There is overhead expense, as well as time commitment. Naturally, it doesn’t mean that your business will be successful or add value, but the effort and sacrifices are very real.
What I hope you take away from the above rant is that things are not black and white when it comes to credit card affiliate commission and blogging. It would be nice if they were, but let’s face it, life is not always black and white. Rest assured, Nancy and I try hard to add value on a regular basis. We don’t always succeed, but we keep on trying to put you, the reader, first. And we often sacrifice commission in the process. Please remember that when you see someone ranting about evil affiliate bloggers.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.