Thursday, 16 August 2018

So much for independent travel blogging

Anticipating a huge growth of visitors ;-), I was looking into ways to incorporate affiliate marketing in this blog. In other words, I was checking if it were possible to get kickback fees from travel websites. When signing up for one of the travel industry's larger company's affiliate program, I went through the trouble of reading their affiliate agreement.

As expected, I found a clause about the affiliate partner not allowed to say something negative about the company. Whereas I understand that they want this as part of the contract, of course in a normal advertising relationship there would be a Chinese wall between the advertisement department and the editors. It's a clear sign that independent writing and affiliate marketing are not a good combination.

With paid content as an endangered species, the question is where independence on blogs should come from. I don't have the answer. My esteemed colleagues at InsideFlyer have Norwegian as a sponsor, leading to a rather disappointing newsfeed about Norwegian's growth of 11% in January and its schedule between Amsterdam and New York. I understand it, but I do not endorse it.

Yes, I sometimes watch the video reviews of airline cabin products. And yes, I wonder who pays the bill for those trips. Is it the airline? Is it advertisements in YouTube? Or the vlogger, who just likes to do reviews? Anyway, I do not intend to do only shiny happy reviews because of this, just so you know.

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