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Honor amongst thieves…

Blogging is a cut throat industry. Press “publish” a minute late, you’ve missed the hot scoop. Press it too early, you lose trust in readers with unconfirmed hearsay. Sharing deals is different. Every deal starts with someone finding it. Some deals are more obvious than others, but in this cut throat world, all the “real” bloggers share honor amongst thieves, by at least thanking the source that originally pointed out the great deal. One site that never has: SecretFlying. In our humble opinion only, SecretFlying have as much integrity as Milli Vanilli, less class than Harvey Weinstein and when questioned, behave like spoiled children in ways even the most spoiled and pretentious children would be offended to be associated with.

The Backstory

SecretFlying knows what many travel bloggers know: there are a few places on the internet where experts are generous enough to share deals. I, without hesitation, would consider myself one of the best flight deal finders on the planet, and regularly contribute to these sources. Sometimes I find first, other times someone else does, but regardless, it’s all give and take. Without fail, within an hour of a deal appearing on one of these infinite wells of amazing flights, SecretFlying will then write up the deal – claiming they found it and then profit from it. This virtually never ever happens before it first appears on another source. Need us to read between the lines for you?

SecretFlying doesn’t find deals, they steal them from others without so much as thanking their sources – and then use links they profit from to steer you to booking sites which may or may not be most beneficial for you.

Yep, they could potentially cost you an upgrade or better price. When we brought this very thing to their attention last week, they chose the 2001 AOL Instant Messenger route of solving problems, by blocking us on Twitter. Oh no! We won’t be able to see our own deals posted (eye roll implied).

The Ethics

Ready to call this a tantrum? How about I come to your job, wait till you finish your work, take it, pass it off as mine and then get a raise? Sound fun? It’s the exact same thing.

It’s no secret many bloggers are not best friends, especially in travel. I am absolutely no different. But regardless of personal feelings, I will always – always give credit where credit is due. Even if I despise a person who was the original source of information, I will always give the source at least the minimally ethical “HT: ________” which means “hat tip” or “thank you”. Mainstream news holds this code very dearly and in fact, outlets can shudder their doors with lawsuits if this code is not followed. If the New York Time unearths something in an exclusive investigation, it doesn’t mean others can’t write about it, the others just must attribute that the New York Times was the source of the information, and ideally link to the article where the information came from. SecretFlying has never linked to a source, or attributed where “their” information came from. They just pass it off as their own. They also attach the term “error” to the very best deals, when in reality the deals are rarely errors. Not only does this make things seem unethical, recent court rulings would say it gives the airline grounds to cancel tickets, if they were issued in error.

The Ask

We’re not asking you to do anything at all. We’re just saying that some people, such as ourselves spend tireless days and nights following the exact advice we dish out to others, to source the very best flight deals. We then share them in the places where others share deals as well, to make sure there’s a give and take within the flight deal community. Frequent flyers and deal hunters don’t like bloggers who just take, take, take. In the immortal words of Tracey Jordan on the show “30 Rock”, “I don’t believe in one way streets – not with my friends – and not when I’m driving”. You can decide for yourself how many clicks SecretFlying deserves, but perhaps it may be worth frequenting the sites (and blogs like ours) where they actually get their deals from. Shame on them. And for the record, we sent them an email politely asking that they attribute information which they have clearly lifted. They never replied.

And SecretFlying, since you’re inevitably going to read this: it’s never too late to become an upstanding member of the travel community. Even for the likes of you…

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