Experimenting with a Little Less Cranky


You guys know that I love writing Cranky, but there’s one problem. I’m spending too much time writing it and not making enough money in return. So, I’m going to do a little experiment between now and the end of the year. Instead of daily Cranky, I’m going to cut back a little and see how things go.

Beginning next week, I’ll write posts Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday (with Saturday having “Cranky on the Web”). Wednesday will now be dark, and I’m going to try something a little different on Friday. Instead of writing a post, I’m just going to put up an open thread. Quite the community has developed around this site, so I figure that every Friday, it’ll be a good place to get together and talk about anything you’d like in this industry in the comments section. For example, want to talk about Star inviting Avianca-Taca and Copa to join? Start the thread down below. Besides, sometimes the comments sections is far more interesting than the post. (Look at the body scanner radiation thread this week for proof.) I’ll certainly jump in, but I won’t be leading the discussion on Fridays as I usually do with my posts.

Let’s see how things go until the end of the year and then I’ll re-evaluate to see if it’s something to continue.

As I mentioned, though I love writing Cranky, it’s not easy to make much money directly from the site. (I really hate ad sales.) Though I have no doubt that nearly all of my success in writing, consulting, and Cranky Concierging (let’s pretend that’s a real word) has stemmed from writing the blog, I just can’t commit to writing as much as I do without being able to, frankly, make more money. I need to spend more time focusing on things like Cranky Concierge (and I have some exciting stuff in the pipeline over there).

That being said, I can’t imagine simply abandoning the blog. I love it too much. I could try charging readers, but let’s be honest, 99% of you wouldn’t pay. I don’t blame you. That’s how things go in the age of the internet. And if 99% of you leave, then this stops being much fun.

So let’s see how things go between now and the end of the year. I’m going to try to put together a reader survey in the next couple of weeks to get some feedback from you, so I hope you’ll participate. But for now, consider this the first open thread. Start your comments below.

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47 comments on “Experimenting with a Little Less Cranky

  1. No hard feelings. Hope you can profit from some more free time. Looking forward to the new open thread Friday.

  2. Hey Brett,
    I always enjoy the posts but “you gotta take care of business first”. Totally understand where you are coming from. I’ll look forward to your future posts and the open thread on Fridays. Thanks

  3. Well if I may be the first to start the thread, couple of thoughts.

    Now that British Airways is pulling in Kingfisher to oneworld, what are the chances that they will reroute the Kangaroo route over Delhi or Mumbai instead of BKK? Will the have 5th freedoms, etc.?

    Do you think because of Avianca/TACA, GOL will eventually go to SkyTeam?


    1. I dunno. Bangkok has been there for a long time, and Kingfisher is a mess of an airline. Been losing a lot of money and having trouble, so I would want to see some more stability before I started doing that. Not sure how governmental rules work, but it would seem that BA would have rights to fly between two members of the commonwealth. Could be wrong though.

      As for Avianca/TACA, I don’t know about Gol. Avianca/TACA have such a tiny presence in Brazil that it’s possible there’s room for both in Star. Or it could go to oneworld. I still think LAN will try to stay in oneworld and TAM may try to stay in Star. For SkyTeam, well, there’s always Aerolineas . . .

  4. Something that has been bugging me about the new “advanced pat downs” from the TSA is how are they handling minors? I haven’t seen any statement from the TSA about it. A child is much more susceptible to the effects of radiation, so they shouldn’t be going into the AIT machines no matter the dosage levels. Does that mean we are letting TSA fondle small children in our society in order to keep up the illusion of safety?

    1. I wonder how many people will refuse the machine because they WANT to be fondled by TSA in a pat-down search in front of a bunch of strangers. That could slow things down even more…….LOL

      1. I’m 17, and when I fly they clearly mark my boarding pass as a minor (MS or something they write). When it comes to minors, sometimes they just let us through after we go through the regular metal detector. No touchy feely arms out or anything.

    2. Hmm, that’s a good question. We’ve seen them frisk old ladies, so it wouldn’t surprise me to have minors get it as well. Maybe they’ll be able to request a frisking from another minor. ;)

    3. For a bit of tongue in cheek humor on this, check out despair.com’s t-shirts:
      “TSA: Your naked photos are safe with us”, and
      “TSA: We’re making air travel a touching experience”. Not a bad commentary.

  5. No worries Brett. Although it’s true that most would not pay to read a blog, I think many of us loyal followers are game to support you in other ways (i.e. your book) if we can. Even though your blog may not be the ticket to financial riches, I have no doubt that you’ll find your success (and hopefully you can continue your blog as a hobby – it’s an enjoyable read, and look at the network you can draw on for moral support and the airline bennies you get!).

  6. The one thing about not having an actual blog with a theme, is that some people may not want to read a bunch of comments looking for something they might be interested in to join the conversation.

    Brett maybe try a week where on Friday you post just say three or five (whatever) topics and see what happens with comments on those topics. Like for example: JFK, Delta, Star Alliance, Bad Weather, Inflight service. That would be quite to post and give people a start and give others a guide as to what the comments might be about. Just a thought.

  7. Not much I can add that hasn’t been said already, but know that you have my support and readership (for what that’s worth). I hope you’re able to find ways to pay the bills and keep the blog alive, too. All the best!

  8. How much time can it possibly take to write a blog? Don’t you just wake up, pull something out of your you-know-what and post it? Oh wait, that’s Swelbar. :-)

    I’ll miss starting every day with your spot-on analysis but know you have to make an income.

  9. Add a theme and I’ll pay attention; contribute, if I can. I will surely miss the fewer opportunities to poke fun at Alitalia and others, for seeing child-like stick figures and annotations. Thanks for the daily notes. I’m a regular reader.

    1. Or perhaps the same number of Alitalia posts per year, which would translate into a higher proportion of the overall!

  10. Perhaps try a semi-paid model. Three days a week can be paid content (with appropriate teasers) and three days (including Cranky on the Web) could be free. Even just a moderate charge, say $25/year, would probably get a good number of subscribers.

  11. I read your blog religious.. every day.. and I really look forward to all your posts, because unlike many other news outlets, you actually put analysis and insight into a simple piece of news. I wish that you will still write your blog, knowing that many people reading it and is making a difference. In terms of financial, why don’t you start a “donation” box, or sell google ads, I just don’t want to see money coming in the way of good content.

  12. So now all I get to look forward to daily is my Groupon?
    Kidding – Makes sense. Maybe you can cut out your trip reports. ;)

  13. I wouldn’t pay, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love Brett–I’d just seek out the next best alternative. I support your move, bud. Its hard to make a buck blogging. However, if you can parlay it in to a book.. well now that’s a different story.

    Part of Brett’s biggest asset is his passion, a passion that many of us can noticeably detect and share.

  14. Give it a rest! I’m surprised you hadn’t cut back a little bit some time ago. Twice a week, or 3 times, would be fine. Truth be told, I simply can’t read you every day as it is.

    I would hope somehow this blog continues to represent you, above all. Gosh, we all have our issues we love to spout off on, but I’m not here for that. There are other blogs/forums to do that. And, I’m not here to read stuff the guest hosts want to make. You first, although your commentors are great reads, too. I think that’s a tribute to you.

    I would pay something to keep you going. I’ve paid to post on A*net, and other sites I’m rather not mention, so why not here? But, please, no pledge week, no calls for “will you support our troops/the local police/Alzheizer’s/what have you!” I have a enough of that already.

  15. How about a post on Wednesdays that solicits discussion topics for Friday, and then you pick one of them for the open discussion on Friday? Not significant effort, but would channel the discussion towards one topic… And there would still be something to do on the site each day :)

  16. Gotta do what it takes to pay bills!

    Try not to let the forums get out of whack though. Talk to Holly H over @ Plane Business.. she had a message board for years and had to take it down because it was just taking up too much time to moderate, plus it always had some very heated debates going on there, some that went a bit too personal.

  17. Do what you need to do. We’ll stick with you.
    Odd question: How is it that the press reports on every rivet out of place on an airplane, but nothing about how a cruise ship manages to have a disabling fire? No redundancy in their engines? No fire supression that limits damage? No word on who screwed up? I am glad aviation is kept on its toes, but wish other transportation was monitored as well. Shucks — that would be more big government intervention!

  18. Thanks for all the comments, guys. I am working on some good ideas here, one of which might enable me to come back to spending more time on this. But I need the holiday season to be more free so I can figure things out. Stick around!

  19. Personally, If paying for cranky is what it is, I will pay. I love reading to much. I do understand where you come from, money does not grow on trees. By the way, what happened to the “donate” button?

    1. I actually pulled down the donate button because it wasn’t getting used often (thanks to those who did donate, however). It went away when I re-did the sidebar. It may come back in the future, but that remains to be seen right now.

  20. As a flight attendant for a major carrier, I love your analysis Brett. I have felt free to “contact” you on many issues. Hope you will soon take up the union issue….
    Delta voted the AFA down for the THIRD time since 2002.
    They called for an election two years ago, then when NWA flight attendants realized they would never win, they went crying to the Obama-heavy National Mediation Board (that consists of the former president of the flight attendant union and another union insider appointed by Obama).
    Next thing we know, they decided that the rules for election that have stood for 70 yrs. were not “democratic”. So they cancelled the election, and changed the voting rules.
    Fast forward to Nov.3rd.
    We won AGAIN….even with the cards stacked against us.
    Now guess what? The union has asked for an extension to prove interference by Delta mgt. in the “new democratic” election and now want to resort to a THIRD voting method, called the “Key Ballot”.
    On this ballot, we are ALL considered YES unless we go on the computer and vote NO.

    GEEZ….to all my passengers out there…..can you help a girl out?
    We don’t want a union at Delta! We are pressuring our Republican Senators, but the current news cycle isn’t helping us.
    If you have time to write YOUR senator and let them know you think the AFA is full of it, and the Delta Flight Attendant Election SHOULD STAND AS IS, your next drink on Delta is on me!

    My never ending thanks to Brett for his informative and lively blogs and thanks, too, to all my fellow readers!

  21. I understand your need to make money. I wish there was a way for you to make more money writing this blog, but obviously you have to spend the lion share of your time on tasks that bring in more revenue. Have you written a book about the airline industry? If so, my credit card is waiting to go. Just tell me if I can purchase a copy at Barnes & Noble, or download one to my Nook ereader. Good luck to you.

  22. Why not have other regular contributors? This is one of the most intelligent air travel blogs out there. When you are away, you have had good guest contributions. Have you considered recruiting a couple other people who might want to write once a week or once every other week?

    1. I agree… guest posts provide different perspectives so I’d think it may be a better approach to use someone else’s content a day or two a week. Although probably easier said then done because you’d have to edit/coordinate. My fear is that if you start going “dark” your readership may suffer as the blog becomes less of a routine place to visit. But no better way to find out than to try ;-)

      PS – Your trip reports are awesome. Keep those coming because there is always a nugget or two in them that I enjoy!

    2. I’ve certainly thought about it. I love the guest posts, but you might be surprised at how much work actually goes into those things from my end. I’m a stickler for quality (despite my occasional typos), so I would expect the same from a regular contributor. Usually that’s hard to come by without heavy involvement on my end.

      It is something I’ve thought about and would entertain if the right opportunity came up.

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