I know why so many bloggers have blogged about Bluebird and Vanilla Reloads. It was already pretty obvious and some had even discussed this on FlyerTalk and Twitter, but I now have hard evidence to prove it.
I’ll use my stats from 11/20/12 as an example. My main referrer was Google, and here are the top 5 search terms used to get to my site: Vanilla Reloads, CVS Vanilla Reload, Bluebird Vanilla, CVS Amex Vanilla Reload, Hungry Bear Subs. Okay that last one was kind of a fluke, but you get the idea.
In fact, aside from my post on the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai (which the international readers love btw), the words “Bluebird” and “Vanilla” are the words that drive the most traffic to my website aside from Twitter. I find this extremely interesting because I’ve only written about Bluebird three or four times.
I’d be willing to bet that many bloggers look at these statistics and feel the need to write more about the topic. Whether it’s purely to increase traffic to their website or because they legitimately think their readers want more on the topic, the sheer volume of these articles is likely driven because of the statistics.
Update: Gary Leff of View from the Wing was kind enough to note his top search terms DO NOT include Bluebird or Vanilla. Thanks go to him for taking the time to comment on this blog with his experience!
I have a couple of things to say about this. First, the fact that every blogger writes about the same topics over and over. I’m not a fan of this. If View from the Wing is the first to post on the 25% off British Airways Avios sale, do The Points Guy, One Mile at a Time, Ghetto IFE, New Girl in the Air, Live from a Lounge, and Travelsort, among others, also need to post? Most didn’t add any extra information – it seemed to basically be a repeat. MileValue, on the other hand, did some extra analysis and added value with his (long) discussion of Iberia.
To their credit, many popular bloggers decided not to mention this sale, or did so only in passing. I very much appreciated Million Mile Secrets’ post giving credit to One Mile at a Time and not overly analyzing anything. He clearly recognized that it had already been done and there was no use repeating it. A simple mention was enough.
To the argument that each blogger has different readers and thus needs to post on everything separately, I say this: I think that is unlikely. I think most people in the points game are smart enough to realize that reading just one blog is not good enough, and so I think the audience reads multiple. Even if you do have a dedicated readership, a simple mention like Million Mile Secrets made is plenty sufficient, in my opinion.
I don’t want to blow that out of proportion though – it’s more of a pet peeve. There are bigger issues in the points blogging world! (See Travel Blogger Buzz for more on that)
Item 2: It seems like a vicious cycle has been created regarding Bluebird and Vanilla Reload cards. The Frequent Miler did a great service to the points world by providing us this information. Every other blogger recognized the true value of this new points-creation system and decided to write about it as well. The result is that more people have participated in this deal than any other points deal that wasn’t giving away free stuff. Everyone knows about Bluebird and Vanilla, but not everyone knows every detail about them. They do know, however, that since it’s already been written about so many times, an answer to their question must be out there somewhere. So they Google it.
Googling it leads to them finding answers to their questions, whether on my blog or on the dozens or hundreds of others that have written about it. As I mentioned before, bloggers see the source of their traffic. I’d say it makes many of them inclined to write about it a little more than necessary, and then the process repeats itself.
I think this is our new reality. Word spreads too fast now, and if there’s a deal to be had it’s likely going to be very short lived. Given this new reality I wouldn’t be surprised if, when the next amazing deal arrives, people go all-in and max it out as soon as they can, leaving little or nothing for the late-comers. Perhaps the late-comers will leave the points game at that point, leaving a smaller, stronger group. Or maybe the points bubble will finally collapse. Either way, winter is coming.
Yes, this is the post-apocalyptic points world.
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