Myths About Travel Blogging: Bloggers Are Experts You Can Trust

You shouldn’t believe everything that you read on the internet. Crazy, right?

There are definitely bloggers who know what they’re talking about, and there are some I trust for the most part, but you should not take what bloggers write as gospel. There are extremely low barriers to entry, so anyone can become a “points/miles expert” overnight (see the Friday interviews on Million Mile Secrets as examples). As a personal example, while I like to think that I generally know what I’m talking about, a reader smartly pointed out that Aeroplan offers even better rates for intra-Asia travel than Alaska Airlines in one of my recent posts. I fully admit that I don’t know anything about Aeroplan, which is why you shouldn’t trust me if I write anything about the subject.

More perniciously, there are no journalistic standards within the points/miles blogosphere. In the past year or so, we’ve seen several major blogs write about supposed devaluations without full investigation, which has justifiably caused people to freak the eff out and do stupid things. And since these are the big players in the space who are sparking these fires, almost everyone assumes that they know what they’re talking about, so all of the smaller blogs repeat the same false information until everyone thinks it’s true even if there’s no actual confirmation.

Larger bloggers also have different incentives from their readers: namely, their primary job is to market financial products to consumers in the form of selling credit cards. Other people have done a much better and more comprehensive job delving into this problem, but know that there are serious sums of money flowing through some of these blogs. (I believe that smaller bloggers are less prone to conflicts of interest because they generally get all of their compensation, if they’re generating revenue at all, through page views, and the incentives for driving page views seem to be more aligned with those of the reader).

All of this is just to say to read everything with a grain of salt. For sensational news or predictions, ask yourself if they make sense; for any credit card links, ask yourself how the blogger is getting compensated.

6 thoughts on “Myths About Travel Blogging: Bloggers Are Experts You Can Trust

  1. Breeze

    Credibility is strained by too many bloggers who either don’t proof read their posts for typos or syntax or don’t know enough of the king’s English to get the spelling correct or differentiate words such as less and fewer. They’re painful to read.

    Reply
    1. Tom euflyer

      As a native English speaker I have a little bit of sympathy for, for example, the Euro bloggers who write in sometimes slightly dubious English. They are of course writing in their second (third, or fourth…) language, and you can rest assured their posts would be flawless if they were writing them in Dutch/Finnish/German or whatever.

      What is unacceptable is when the native English-speaking bloggers write poorly in English (as, for the record, EAM very definitely has not done in the very articulate post above). The only obvious defence I’d give to this is sometimes in the rush to get something out, proofreading takes a bit of a back seat. I’ll often find a few typos get picked up when I’m reading a post after publication.

      Reply
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