Credit Finances & Money

Is this site “One giant credit card advertisement”?

In my post “42 Credit Cards with a 0% Purchase Offer”, a commenter asked that question. The comment got snatched by Spam Karma, and while I could have retrieved it, I preferred the tone of the second comment instead:

It does appear that you are pushing the idea of credit more and more lately, and advertising it.

It IS true that I’ve been providing links to credit card offers, and yes, I do get affiliate income from completed applications, but I want to show some stats. First, though, I will say that I promote cards that I would (and have) applied for myself. I don’t promote secured, pre-paid or “poor credit” cards because I know they shaft you with fees.

How much do I write about credit cards?

Ok, prior to July, 2007, I didn’t promote any credit cards because I was not an affiliate. But let’s look at some numbers:

Since site inception (June 2006), I’ve written 746 articles. Of ALL of those articles, only 147 have the words “credit card” in them. The first article with the phrase was “Got too much credit card debt? Rotate it!“, which is how I got through my $20,000 in credit card debt and barely paying any interest for 5 years.

Since July 2007, only 97 of the 746 articles had the words “credit card”.

And since starting to promote credit cards, only 20 articles out of 746 have promotional links. Here’s the breakdown: July 2007 (4), Nov 2007 (2), Dec 2007 (3), Jan 2008 (3), Feb 2008 (1), March 2008 (2), April 2008 (2), May 2008 (2).

Final Verdict

I write about credit cards; my use of them, their dangers, their benefits, etc. However, I haven’t increased my promotion of credit card offers since starting last July. The “42 offers” article was in response to a reader’s direct request for a 0% card that she could use for her tuition.

I’m not sure where the view that this site is “one big credit card ad” came from, and I apologize to those of you that think so, but I intentionally try to minimize the amount of promotions (compared to some other sites). I made a few grand last year on affiliate referrals of credit cards, but I’ve only earned 1 referral ($52) so far this year. Other bloggers make WELL over $10,000-15,000 per year on card offers alone, and while that would be nice for me, it’s not my intent.

I have a couple links in the Resources area of the site, some paid text links in the sidebar, and you might see some ads for cards come up in Google Adsense (which I don’t control. They’re contextual), but other than those, you really shouldn’t see any credit card ads very often. You’ll continue to see credit card promotions though, including in the next few days, but I promise not to go to the dark side and push them in almost every article!

About the author

Clever Dude


  • “Ok, prior to July, 2007, I didn’t promote any credit cards because I was not an affiliate.”

    I appreciate your honesty. Many PF bloggers claim that they do not let money affect their content. It is refreshing that you are acknowledging that you are for sale for the right price. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It is good that you will admit it, and it is important that your readers realize it.

    Most PF blogging sites are the same. Do you *really* think it’s a great idea to open online banking accounts at 4 or 5 different sites, just to get a $20 kickback from each? Of course not. But it is in the bloggers interest to get as many of his or her readers to sign up as possible.

  • @anonymous: I wouldn’t say I’m for sale for anything at the right price. There are certain things that would simply ruin this site. On the other hand, I guess if someone offered me a million to post a sex video (not of me), I wouldn’t turn it down, but I’m being realistic about the “right price” thing.

    As for opening multiple accounts to take advantage of intro offers, I tried it and while the little amount of time it takes to earn up to $200 a pop can be worth it, the maintenance of all those accounts was too much for me.

  • To me, if you are in debt, and can manage it, moving money around from card to card can be beneficial. My wife and I have done it in the past to pay the minimum interest on debt we owe. If you owe quite a bit of money then these cards with 0% interest can be very helpful, we’ve saved literally hundreds of dollars in interest using these methods.

    Also, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sites making affiliate income as long as it doesn’t interfere with the integrity of the articles there and so far it seems that CleverDude is doing just fine.

  • What does “integrity” mean?

    To me, it means that the affiliate links do not impact what the blogger chooses to post.

    For example if a blogger blogs for a year, never thinking that Iams dog food is worth blogging about, and then suddenly decides that Iams *is* worth blogging about as soon as Iams offers him $5 per posting, that tells me that the blogger is for sale.

    That’s why reputable magazines separate their advertising from the editorial departments.

  • @anonymous, I understand what you mean, but I’m not a magazine. I own a blog and there’s no “editorial department” vs “advertising department” here. With magazines, you rarely get a chance for discussion on articles or even input into what you’d like to read (or not like to read). You get that here. You get a real person, not a corporate entity.

    A blog is not a magazine. It’s not a newspaper. It’s not cable TV.

  • Totally agree. A blog is not an unbiased news source nor should it claim to be or pretend to be. That’s why i appreciated your honesty about this issue which stands in stark contrast to many PF bloggers who claim, in my experience falsely, that their affiliate links don’t impact what they post.

    I was taking issue with this quote:
    “Also, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sites making affiliate income as long as it doesn’t interfere with the integrity of the articles there and so far it seems that CleverDude is doing just fine.”

    I believe that demonstrably the affiliate links *do* impact the integrity of the articles, at least as I would define integrity in this context (not impacted by outside financial influences).

  • I appreciate your credit card posts… I like to see what’s out there so I’m glad you will continue to post them.

    I think you have certainly established yourself as a trustworthy source of financial information, ideas, thoughts, etc. and everyone’s gotta pay the bills, earning money are part of the blogging world now.. It’s come a long way from the days of online journals… We are all grown ups and can read the fine print to see if it’s something that would be beneficial to our current situations… So hooray for kick backs! 🙂

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