How Out and Out Makes Money

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There’s been a lot of talk in the blog space this week about monetization, affiliate links, and the lengths bloggers will go to make revenue, including from Doctor of Credit and Rapid Travel Chai – people I hugely admire and respect. It all got me thinking.

Now feels like the right time to talk about this. Not because anyone’s ever asked. But because I want to finally put it out there so peeps can make their own informed decisions.

I make huge piles of fake cartoon money

Huge piles of fake cartoon money

Out and Out makes money in 3 ways:

  1. Credit card affiliate links through CreditCards.com
  2. Ad revenue and clicks from Amazon
  3. Advertising from BoardingArea

I’ll go into detail about each one.

1. Credit card affiliate links

First of all, I am grateful to anyone who’s ever signed up for a new card via my links. Those hits here and there boost my self-confidence so much. In my writing. And it makes me feel that on some level, it’s worth it to put more information into an already saturated space.

I’ve always hope the “brand” I offer has some appeal. Whether that’s the voice and tone, the tips here and there, or because it’s occasionally entertaining, thought-provoking, or informative.

Producing new content has always come easy for me. And I’ve definitely refined my technique in these past 3 years of blogging.

Truth be told, I rarely get hits on my credit card affiliate links. In fact, I was almost shut down earlier this month because I didn’t produce a sale for over 60 days.

I asked for a second chance and rallied my friends to see if one of them wouldn’t mind opening a new card. A few days later, a sale was recorded and my 60-day clock reset.

So I need ONE sale every 60 days to stay in the program. Compare that to the revenue some of these big bloggers are bringing in.

When I say I’m a small fry, I really mean it. In fact, I’m an infinitesimal, non-existent fry.

I keep the links because on some level, they compel me to keep going.

And every once in a while, other people click the links too. I keep them because I figure it doesn’t cost anything extra to click a link – but it does mean a great deal to me. The meaning is more psychological than financial, obviously. But it does help. Everything does.

2. Revenue from Amazon

You’ll start to sense a theme here.

Amazon ads and links probably send me an extra $10 to $20 per month. Again, not a whole lot.

There is one Amazon ad in the sidebar. It’s based on “impressions” so the more I write, the more page views I get, and the more I make, theoretically.

I occasionally write about cool products to try. Not because I’m trying to earn extra money. But because I genuinely like the products – and write about them with my highest recommendation. So I hope that translates.

The ad revenue here is nothing life-changing, but it gets me an extra beer or two each month. I’ll take it – cheers!

3. BoardingArea advertising

This by far earns me the most. I probably can’t quantify it publicly. But just know I’m honored to be on BoardingArea and to have that extra source.

BoardingArea has given me a platform to write from – a place to make content – and for that, I am extremely grateful. The crew has been nothing but kind and supportive.

And the move to BoardingArea brought me more readers, some of whom have turned into friends, than I could have ever gotten on my own.

The future

I think I’ll start a new series called “Honest Reviews” to review card offers as they roll in. I’ll make a rating guideline and have some fun with it.

But I also want a strict code of ethics called the Karma Rule. That will mean I will always tell you where to find the best offers. It’s not like I have much to lose as it currently stands. And doing the right thing will, in the end, be more beneficial for everyone involved anyway.

So look for that series to be launched soon. In advance of that, I wanted to add this complete disclosure. I’m going to pin this page to the top menu under “About” so it will always be easy for peeps to find. And for complete transparency.

Bottom line

So that’s it. That wasn’t so hard. I needed to get that off my chest, and feel so much better.

I am here because I’m hugely passionate about points & miles. I’ve gotten so many trips out of redeeming them. And I honestly still think the best way to scoop up a lot of points or miles all at once is through credit card bonuses.

It’s a fact, and it’s become its own thing. But I know way deep down I have to do what’s right when I talk about them.

The overall space is getting more hostile toward “our kind” and the links are getting more scarce by the day. But I want to end on a brighter note.

Any and all support is always very appreciated and welcome. If you want, here are my links for new card offers.

I recommend choosing a little guy or gal, a blogger you like – and use their links when you open new cards. It’s a nice boost for them and a nice way to say, “hey, thanks for the info,” or simply, “good work.” It really does mean the world. And it costs you nothing, so why not?

A huge thanks to everyone who’s interacted, emailed, and said hello over the years. Feel free to ask any questions – I will do my best to answer as thoroughly as I’m able to.

Or add your thoughts on the topic. What’s your stance on monetization within the points and miles space? Should blogs try to monetize? Is there a “right” way to go about it? 

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. The opinions of the commenters are not necessarily the opinions of this site.

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Comments

  1. I enjoy your blog and wanted to show my support – just got approved for a new citicard with your links so hope you get credit. Also asked a friend to use your links as well..

  2. Harlan, I really like your writing style! You put a lot of heart into your posts, and that makes you special. It’s a shame that you got into this space a bit late because you probably could have turned it into a full- time gig otherwise. I hope you keep writing.

    On credit card links: I suggest you mention them now and again. In all likelihood, many readers simply don’t know you have them. There is a lot of shaming going on in the community when someone even mentions they have links. In reality, bloggers simply recommend products they personally find worthwhile. Well, at least, that’s the way it should be.
    As long as you put readers first, it’s no different than linking to Amazon product that you personally find useful. Congrats on being part of Boarding Area!

    • Oh, reading this tugged at the heartstrings, especially this part: “It’s a shame that you got into this space a bit late.”

      I suppose everything happens for a reason and what will be will be and all that good stuff.

      Thanks for the recommendations. I am going to launch a new feature to put the links more front-and-center – and I’m hoping I can keep my style, too, making it a win-win. Might as well try!

      Thanks for the compliments, too. Means a lot to me. 🙂

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