Loyalty Lobby slams MilePoint and Mr. Petersen

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by tondoleo, Oct 11, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. tondoleo
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    tondoleo Gold Member

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    (HOM please move this if it is not in the appropos forum)

    One of the blogs I read is Loyalty Lobby. It has good info and is thorough. The owner does not constantly tout cc's either.:)

    This morning he posted about the current MP Premium membership that was revealed yesterday evening.

    http://loyaltylobby.com/2013/10/11/...quires-milepoint-premium-purchase/#more-10101

    I knew all of this of course but continued to read. I was curious about his opinion of the deal. Which I think is a very good value to a FF.

    What caught my eye and appeared to me to be jealousy was this:

    Milepoint is basically a failing FlyerTalk clone that was started by the founder of Flyertalk after he sold the website to Internet Brands and the non-competing period run out. He thought that he could basically move the traffic away from FlyerTalk to Milepoint and likely ca$h out again. Doesn’t seem to be happening.

    The blogger criticizes the "meager" offerings. One critique is that one can fast track to HH Gold with as little as 4 stays and linked to his posts about this offer. He does not mention that paying $ 49 Washingtons gets you the Gold which you can use on your 4 stays. You save money. It is value to you. Along with the UAL miles and other things. Sheesh.

    Sour grapes? Butt eczema? Envy?

    FWIW, I am glad to be part of this community of a failing enterprise. I have always fought and rooted for the underdog. I will continue to be a part of MP and let the haters hate.
     
  2. Terry Yap

    Terry Yap Gold Member

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    I have subscribed to john's blog for the past year and must say it's an excellent source of information without affiliate links. and he gives good advice It's amazing how he gets hold of the many hotel and flight programs on offer, many a times faster than other blogs. I've been on MP for about the same time as the duration i subscribe to John's blog

    but i must say some of his comments in his blog today were uncalled for and inaccurate and basically these inaccurate remarks should just be taken with a large pinch of salt or ignored althogether
     
  3. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Questions after reading his blog:

    1. Does this blogger have a presence/affiliation/relationship with Flyertalk?

    2. Are the views reflected on this particular blog tainted by some former history?

    The blog reaks of past resentment.
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Love or hate him, I tend to agree with many of the observations. I don't actually think the MP Premium is a great deal for myself and I think that it is just OK for many others. Beyond that, MP was started almost immediately after the non-compete with IB expired so that is factually accurate. Whether it is failing or not is up for debate. I know that Randy is proud that the growth pace is faster on MP than it was on FT but that's like comparing apples to dress shirts. The market is very, very different today and simply looking at page views as a metric for success is probably not the best play.

    This data is from June, but it is an interesting look at the numbers:
    [​IMG]

    Here's a look over the past year from another analytics site:
    mpstats2.PNG

    Contests and giveaways cause spikes in traffic but it is not clear that much of it is sticking around long term.

    An a bit more from that same site:
    mpstats.PNG

    It is decidedly not all good news.

    So the tone and tact might not be so spectacular, but I'm not so convinced that the facts are all that off. At least not all of them.

    n.b. - I am friends with the owners of the site and have a business relationship with Boarding Area, another property owned/operated by the House of Miles; thoughts here are my own.
     
  5. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Regardless of the graphs dissecting the relevance of the corpus of MP, in my estimation the greatest "metric" achieved by MP is the creation and maintenance of a high level tone of respect for diversity of opinion, outreach to others and friendliness.

    Two years after launch, Randy and the team have succeeded in creating a new and improved culture of respect, diversity and friendliness above average for BBs. That is an outstanding feat and deserves high recognition.
     
  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Factually, those of us who are here constantly have quite strong vested interest in the success of Milepoint so we don't really like to hear contrary news, valid or not.
    Still,
    1. Milepoint has a vastly disproportionate level of commitment to social causes, with the Milepoint Kiva team as an extreme example. There is no question that no other similar online community appears to show such a high level of commitment.
    2. While gross demographics data probably does not show outliers very well, it certainly seems that Milepoint has a seriously overweighted small population of high travel spenders, which skews value and partially explains the high eleemosynary inclination of active members.
    3. On the face of it it seems evident that Milepointers are more likely to accept Milepoint commercial blandishments than are members of other similar sites.

    So, except for my first point I know I have no valid data, but only anecdotal observations which cannot be relied upon. It would be msot interesting were we able to do serious outlier analysis of MP vs otehr similar sites and the odd other highly committed online communities. Examples that quickly come to mind are Porsche Club of America
    http://www.pca.org/ and Winnebago Club http://www.witclub.com/. Both of those are strongly linked to their commercial products but also show astonishingly high response rates for linked offers and other indicators of member commitment.

    More than four decades of affinity marketing experience :eek: tells me that gross response and visit metrics only tell a gross story. Important, yes! Still, careful analysis reveals that in the vast majority of online activities, affinity based or not, a tiny percentage of active customers/members account for nearly all the profit. It is not an 80/20 rule. One of my clients, a retailer everyone here knows, has 92% of net profits from .8% (eight tenths of one percent) of their customers. That type of concentration is neither widely understood because in most analysis outliers are removed. idiotic but true.

    Milepoint, I am quite convinced, is an unusual case in point, in part because it was opened by and with the support of, a few thousand outliers who had passionate attachments with a particular attitude and way of doing business.

    Thus, Wandering Aramean has this correct in my opinion. The facts from Loyalty Lobby are certainly not accurate in conclusion. "failing" probably is not true, for example. However, the gross numbers and generic DM reach metrics are not attractive nor is the small UV data. OTOH, the more strongly divergent is customer value the more UV data diverges from the norm. Just check out demographic data by activity deciles for a gross idea of what value that represents. Given the particular topic we are here for checking out the travel spend per member by activity deciles would be illustrative too, and surrogates such as CK, GS and similar memberships ought to be compelling too.

    I'd really enjoy knowing the facts. I trust my hypotheses on these issues but only the data tells the story.


    Finally, some products that were designed using these principles were:
    American Express Centurion
    American Express Reserve
    Feadship and several other LVMH products (not a single product but their entire product lines)
    a fairly long list of specialty services including personal shoppers at several major nominally-mass market retailers.

    Sorry for the long post, but people who say things that may be true, draw incorrect conclusions and ignore material facts irritate me almost beyond civil words. Lots of people believe their conclusions, which can make a self-fulfilling prophecy.
     
  7. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    This is pretty much on target.

    Yes, to this day TOBB still is the place to go for hard fast answers via google. but there is little that would get me to ask a question over there.

    MP is still youngish, but I'd tend to agree with WA on that excuse growing thin. Nearly 3 years in and a different market.

    That all said, I love MP and the environment (most of the time) for an online home.
     
  8. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    If this
    was meant as a disparaging remark, then it failed miserably in my book for the simple reason that it pits one Randy Peterson creation vs. another Randy Peterson creation, a "contest" which Randy Peterson will always win because either way he deserves credit!

    Equally important is the fact that because FT was created by, yes, Randy in 1998 and MP, also by Randy, in 2011, pronouncements about how MP is a "failing Flyertalk clone" make little sense due to the 13-year age difference. How would MP be like if it were 13 years old rather than barely 2years?

    I, like most folks who have become loyal members of MP, had started out as a FT member and contributor, but I am now full time here because of this sentiment, which I fully agree with:
    ...not to mention the fact that MP is technologically a slicker site (the following is from a USA Today piece published a few months after MP launched):
    LoyaltyLobby's John, in fact, admitted as much:
    ...just give it time and "lack of content" will be addressed!
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  9. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    Plus one!

    And the importance of this is hard to overstate...
     
  10. tondoleo
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    tondoleo Gold Member

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    How am I supposed to properly read your cogent post if you force me to go to my dictionary? You know I did not answer that word correctly on the SATs.

    The above is an example of the collegiality and high calibre humour on MP as opposed to TOBB.:)
     
  11. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    Just highlight the word and the MP dictionary will tell you what it is. :D

    (funny because the update seems to have broken that feature.)
     
  12. tondoleo
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    tondoleo Gold Member

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    I did. A laughing gif appeared on my screen.
     
  13. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Well said, NYCUA1K
     
  14. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Sure. And if that's your metric for success then MP is winning huge. That usually doesn't help for paying the bills though.
    Maybe, maybe not (and I'm not as convinced as you on that stat). But why does that matter? Are those customers going to generate more revenue for the site because they spend more on flying? That's what actually matters for the success of the site.
    I'm not so convinced. So many gamed to get Gold and now see no ads, further limiting the revenue they generate for the site.


    But, in your experience, does that apply to this sort of market? I don't think it does, certainly not as cleanly.
     
  15. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    A vast many of the gamers to get gold and therefore adfree, are those buying a package that offers adfree just to support the site.

    I know this because i'm one of them. :D
     
  16. KENNECTED
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    KENNECTED Silver Member

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    This is the same penis envy convo all like business have

    Glarring examples
    Google+ vs. Facebook vs. Twitter
    Apple iOS vs Android OS​

    Look how popular Google+ is today. Look how Android is the worlds most used OS and frankly more innovated than Appie iOS

    To bring it closer to home
    United vs. Delta vs. American Frequent flyer program
    Hyatt vs. Starwood vs. Hilton frequent stay program​

    Flyer talk is older but is the quality of the members and posts better? FT at the moment has more historical data.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  17. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    That matters because if one can prove the expenditures of a selected number of proven active customers the cost per reach for those people rises, often through direct marketing (rather than broadcast like banners, etc.). If such offers are made on an opt-in basis, so much the better. Essentially the big value is to pre-qualifying the typical offers. A possible case in point is the possible UA offers with SMD5, which may have been being (haven't used that tense in a while in English) made based on claimed multiple external status.
    Of course you're correct. These comments only apply to the core active members. If their value is not demonstrable our friend from Torrance might actually be correct.
    Zero question about it, the tighter the affinity the higher the value, otehr things remaining equal. In general online affinity is far weaker than physical ones, and specific shared high affinity values (e.g. my two product examples, religious groups, old school ties) are more valuable than are shared general interests. However viewed Milepoint is lower on the scale than are those. However, among the active group who make purchase behavior based on Milepoint the connection and value is higher, and those who travel to physically meet otehr Milepointers are more valuable yet. Those things said, your general statements are inarguable. The clean connection is among those who actually behave in a manner like those whose connections were physical to begin with.

    Your questions IMHO, are precisely the kinds that should be asked. Unless Milepoint can monetize it's differences and translate them into more valuable experiences for members it cannot be financially sustainable. For those of us who have a vested interest in seeing that happen we need to keep encouraging movement towards those experiences that we personally value. I suspect you might agree with that?

    Realistically none of that will translate into high numbers of UV any time soon, if ever. Generic adolescent popfests will do that one. High value per reach is an entirely different proposition, and that is about quality of activity more than it is about quantity, even though both are quite important.
     
  18. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Are you thinking of direct marketing like that "Buy a million miles" pitch from Wall & Main a few months ago? That certainly seemed to target a more affluent audience, but at least from my perspective it was a bad move and I promptly unsubscribed.

    I don't have scientific evidence (the owners of the site are hopefully tracking this closely), but my gut feel is that the growth rate of useful (for me) content is shrinking. It could just be perception, but whenever I looked at the What's New page I saw predominantly long-running chit-chat and game threads and a plethora of Boarding Area feeds (those seem to be gone now?).

    Take a look at the forums for the major US-based airlines, sort the threads by creation date and count the number of new threads since Monday:

    American: 3
    Delta: 4
    United: 6
    US Airways: 2

    For hotels:

    Carlson: 1 (the newest thread before that was created on Aug 16!)
    Hilton: 1
    Hyatt: 1
    IHG: 1
    Marriott: 2
    SPG: 3

    Perhaps an indication that everything that has is worth discussing has already been said or fits in existing threads (I looked for new threads, leaving counting messages in existing threads as an exercise for the reader). But since there are no moderators on thread merge patrol, where are all the threads from newbies asking questions that have been asked many times over?

    Personally, I drastically cut back my active participation here when I realized that the ROI just wasn't there for me anymore. Doesn't mean I have gone back to spend more time on FT, but it remains a more effective research tool for me.

    Does that mean MilePoint is failing? I don't know if it's a success financially or by some other measure for the owners. Only they can know that. Is it failing for the community? Folks have to decide that for themselves as everyone is probably coming here with slightly different goals. I don't come to play games or partake in random chit-chat threads, so those threads are of no value to me. Doesn't mean it's not valuable for others.
     
  19. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    It is unclear to me what determines traffic here but there are definitely various factors. You have the perception that traffic has decreased here, one way to determine whether the impression is correct is to compare it to other sites. Could the government shutdown be having an effect? I tend to post much less while on the road, could it be the same for other regulars who might be traveling or may be catching their breath after having been on the road during the summer? Who knows?
     
    KenInEscazu, bez7, uggboy and 3 others like this.
  20. endodoc79
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    endodoc79 Silver Member

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    Randy is a true luminary in the Travel loyalty business. This thread makes me think of David Neeleman ex-Southwest executive who left and started JetBlue after his non-compete was up. People with vision will continue to innovate. We are lucky to have Randy with us..
     
  21. Terry Yap

    Terry Yap Gold Member

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    Hi WA,
    great stats presented, but my view is that the stats only tell part of the story. As several MPs in this thread mentioned, there are areas that if it could somehow be measured, i'm pretty sure MP will do pretty well, for example, being a congenial and friendly forum, or forum that actively contributes to social causes. Amount of traffic is not the be all and end all i believe in quantifying how successful a site is

    What i do take some issue with are the accompanying commentary which i believe are subjective :
    1) "Milepoint is basically a failing FlyerTalk clone" : I'm not sure how 'failing' is defined. As for being a FlyerTalk clone, again, not sure if the founders intended for it to be a clone or something different. If MP is a clone, it would be great if someone could tell me how much Flyertalk has contributed to social causes since launch

    2) "He thought that he could basically move the traffic away from FlyerTalk to Milepoint and likely ca$h out again" : It may be a long term view to build up the MP community and contributors, but i'm not sure it is that was the founders' intent on traffic movement, and to imply a future intent, objective, and goal of the founders in cashing out is a little presumptuous unless John has access to a secret safe on the 10 year plan of Randy and Co ?

    3) "Milepoint seems to have these yearly premium membership drives that maybe worth participating even if you don’t care about the website at all" : this is the 2nd year as far as i know, not "yearly" in that sense, and one point to emphasise, Randy and Co were not obliged to have these premium memberships out. They took a lot of time to work with partners to come up with packages that will benefit members, frequent flyers, and charity....and as for the last bit, i think there are many of us that do care about the website..How many other sites can one post about ponies, giraffes, and unicorns and have a good laugh and have the founders and Co chime in without moderating or deleting the posts ??

    4) "Note that Milepoint will start spamming you weekly and sometimes with really horrible offers, so you are better just to classify their emails as spam on the email client that you use. That’s what I have done" : I don't recall receiving weekly spams and really horrible offers (i think he was referring to one sent out on a MP newsletter which he felt was not worthwhile and that MP should not be pushing in the newsletter, perhaps there are others that i am not aware of, maybe involving sale of unicorns and ponies?). To recommend that everyone classifying MP newsletters as spam is again too sweeping in my view.
     
  22. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    Seth, as i think you know it' always a good idea to measure any comment/observation against a background or benchmark—part of great research or any believable comment. Measuring the term "failing" is pretty broad here. Since a comparison was issued, why not add the same chart you did for Milepoint against a benchmark comparison. I'll help, here's the chart. What does this one indicate as compared to Milepoint assuming you were observing trends? As for LoyaltyLobby, please don't read anything in to it. I'm respectful of the effort and in fact invited John to a conference which BoardingArea sponsored to help bloggers learn more and network with other bloggers. So Seth, what are the trends for forums which it looks like Milepoint is being charted?

    flyertalkCompete.png
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  23. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    Yeah, that one showed me right off the article was hateful. Milepoint certainy doesn't spam.
     
  24. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    It's always easier to gain attention with something negative. That's sad, but it's reflects the world we live in very well IMHO. Shall MP prevail as a friendlier place where people who enjoy travel and looking for real insights into this "hobby" will congregate and keep up the high standards which have been already created.
    Let MP grow, and it will be a message to many that TOBB isn't the only game in town. Cheers and Safe Travels. :)
     
  25. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I get the occasional newsletter, but chances are it has info that I've already checked out on the site. But calling it spam is definitely a stretch.
     

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