Holy cow I bet you all thought I had retired hah!? No such luck! Sorry folks 🙂
So I had a recent business trip over to Europe, once again went on one of my favorite airlines Virgin Atlantic (yes even with their horrible fuel surcharges) and while flying back I saw this story in the “newspaper” (it was the Independent, my fellow Brits will understand my snobbish quotation marks around the term newspaper) that I though y’all would find interesting. I don’t think I need to add any explanation as to why this piqued my interest, other than provide the context that the comparison sites that they are talking about are web sites that compare the cost of various utility companies available (water, gas, power, cable etc)
“The sites are accused of filtering out deals which do not earn a big commission”. Mmm, sounds like I heard this story before no?
Of course we live in the jolly good US of A – or at least most of us do, I seem to get a few hits from the UK and Canada and a whole bunch from Bulgarians entering SEO driven spam comments, but most readers are based in the USA which is a pretty capitalistic society. And frankly I have no issues with that. I think anyone using a large website needs to spend two minutes thinking to themselves who is calling the shots on that site. So take some random example like Edmunds.com. I am supposed to be able to get unbiased car reviews there right? Well just go there and see who is advertising. I get immediately hit with a Mazda “sponsored link”. Immediately I know that this site is run by the auto industry. Therefore the chances of me getting genuinely unbiased advice is slim to none. I don’t care about disclosures – disclosures are for people too stupid to make these connections themselves. I don’t think businesses need to be in the business of protecting customers from their own stupidity. In fact they are there to exploit it.
What does annoy me in this little space of ours though is the huge pretense of being there to help you. None of these bloggers are out to help you. They are in it for themselves, and themselves only. So when I see horseshit like bloggers saying that they will start selling credit cards but it “will never change the way they blog” (classic examples of this are Milevalue and View From The Wing) I find that kind of outright lie disrespectful. Those posts tend to get taken down eventually, and really they should have said “I have decided to capitalize on this site and going forward content will be concentrated around the products that I need to promote in order to earn a living”. Apparently the MMS dude – who I am sure is a nice guy and clearly a smart and entrepreneurial fellow – came up with some bullshit about not being in this for the money or words to that affect. I am not sure what is most comical – that he said that, or that this real popular Drew guy fell for that horseshit? I mean making money is absolutely fine. But pretending that you are just some altruistic saint that cares more about some crap about your mother in law is just deceitful. And now even George at TBB put up a page for CC links. I mean what kind of stupid joke is that!? Does he need the money? Does he really think he can get the real big money with the content he has!? Hell yeah George the banks are real desperate for someone who mocks them all the time when they have dozens of other puppets pimping their product all day long. I just don’t get it. I guess the financial advisory business just isn’t paying what it needs to.
When I started this blog I too fully intended to add credit card links, but I quickly saw I had missed that boat and focused instead on my day job and kept this as a hobby. If I do ever decide to go the commercial route, I will do exactly that – create a real, commercial site and make it clear it’s a for-profit venture and not me “just trying to help out friends and family”. Keep it real folks!
Meanwhile I hope to see some of you in Phoenix this weekend, I am sure it’s going to be blast!