There’s something I’ve noticed on travel blogs lately and while, this is not the kind of post I would usually write, it’s been at the back of my mind for long enough that I just feel like I need to call it out. That thing is a programme/scheme called Travel Blog Success (I refuse to link to it)  and I’m not going to beat around the bush here – I really don’t like it!

I didn’t start blogging to have a go at anyone or have general rants, I started to share places, things and experiences I like however, seeing something like this which I feel takes advantage of people, makes me really want to speak up! Before I carry on, I would like add a few caveats:

1.) I have never used Travel Blog Success so I’m not the best qualified to speak about it. I have however had conversations with other people who have used it and read reviews from non-affiliates who have bought the course.

2.) While I dislike Travel Blog Success, I have no problem whatsoever with the bloggers who are trying to sell it. Indeed I read quite a few of their blogs and even though I cringe whenever I see the Travel Blog Success posts, some of these bloggers are still some of my favourite Travel Blogs to read.

What is the problem I have with Travel Blog Success?

I think it takes advantage of new bloggers. Blogging, whether it is intended to or not, helps foster a community of like-minded individuals and seeing as only last year, I was just starting out as a new travel bloggers, seeing schemes like this which charge around $1,000 for tips and tricks to start your blog is ludicrous. They are capitalising on the hunger and appetite to grow your blog by offering unrealistic shortcuts to success.

I think the biggest drawback I have seen on the internet is that the only people who have anything good to say about this are people who make money off the programme. They are also early-adopters of travel blogging and so have had years of getting their blogs to become as successful as it is (mind you, without using Travel Blog Success). The very fact that this programme/scheme is touted as some kind of blogging equivalent of a ‘get rich scheme’ (except you pay $1,000  for the privilege) is deeply frustrating.

I know blogging is sometimes a popularity contests. I honestly never started blogging to get popular or get paid by it yet I was pretty much bouncing off the walls the first time our blog hit 6 figure traffic numbers each month. I understand the drive to want to build something popular. I also understand what it’s like to start a new blog and I dislike the thought that someone would want to take advantage of other people’s enthusiasm.

What I love about blogging is that it is a FREE way to express yourself and while you can choose to pay for extras, it’s infuriating to see the Travel Blog Success people actively putting barrier to entry for new bloggers by promoting their course in a way that makes it seem like if you don’t have it, then your chances of success are very limited. It’s not true and there are too many fantastic and established bloggers out there who are testament to the fact that your path to owning and running a successful blog is unique to you and not prescribed by someone trying to see you a course!

How do I think Travel Blog Success could work properly in the future?

1.) For one, they need to stop making promises they can’t keep. Blogging in general takes time and effort and sometimes for very little payback. Even the most seasoned bloggers will tell you that they still get surprised by what posts end up becoming popular and those which don’t. The point is, there is no magic cure or tool to help you automatically grow your blog overnight. There’s hard graft, some skills, a bit of patience and a whole lotta dumb luck which can to where you would like to see your blog in the future and for these guys to market it as anything other than that is just wrong.

2.) I’m all up for people trading their expertise and knowledge to make money. I get it! Money makes the world go round and even travel bloggers have to eat (and buy expensive equipment 😉 ) The problem I have is that the false advertising means that they can charge exorbitantly high prices for very little payback. They should still feel free to charge (they have put in the work after all in building something that people will find useful), they should however make those prices more in line with the real value they’re delivering which means it should be A LOT lower than what it currently is. Most of the stuff they’re charging close to $1,000 for in total is already free on the internet (including these secret Facebook groups).

Long story short, I think Travel Blog Success is a something of a scam in how it’s promoted as something akin to a magic love potion and I really hope new bloggers (and even more established bloggers) don’t end  up falling for their scheme.

And to put my money where my mouth is, I promise to constantly look for ways to help fellow travel bloggers (especially new bloggers) by collating free and hopefully useful information to help your blog look and feel like it’s a true reflection of you. That in itself, is really one of the most under-rated measure of blogging success available!

 



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  • Haven’t done the Travel Blog Success program and no plans on doing so but from a discussion in a Facebook group, a few people were saying that the real value in the program lies in being a member of the private Facebook group and the discussions had within the group. Of course many of these travel bloggers are also in other free Facebook groups for travel bloggers, so not sure I’m buying that argument. Either way, thanks for your honest assessment. Most people seem to think that there are shortcuts to blogging success and really, its all about being consistent over a period of time (most likely years) before it all begins to pay off.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’re totally right – thanks for the insight too. I don’t think we’re buying the argument for it either! 🙂

      Thank you for your honestly Ursula. 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

    • Hi Ursula, I couldn’t agree more. Persistence, consistency, and hard work are the hallmarks of all the travel bloggers I know who’ve been able to make a part or full time living from it.

  • Thanks for this post, I was considering the TBS course but I keep running across the same information for free all over the web!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Exactly! Honestly, the blogging world is filled with people that’ll share as much info as they can… for FREE. We’d never want someone to feel that this is the only way to ‘succeed’ as a blogger.

      If you do need any tips Jen, just pop us an email – we’ll happily help if we can. For free! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

      • I’ve been blogging for about 3 years and it never crossed my mind to make money from it. However we decided to quit our jobs and travel full-time, so I may make a go of it. Fortunately, I am already retired from the military and self-sustaining so the pressure is off! I would love to hear any advice you may feel like freely giving if you feel like looking at my blog. http://www.jauntingjen.com

        • HandLuggageOnly

          Wow, you’ve been to some epic places!!! Travelling full time is uh-mazing! So glad you’re enjoying your travels. 🙂

          Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Ana P. Wildgust

    It’s funny because I’ve always read about TBS on other blogs as if it was the “Bible” for blogging success; your take on TBS is pretty interesting, and it only confirms my feelings towards it. I know it takes money to make money BUT $1000 is a bit cray cray! For someone such as myself, with less than a year of blogging, I would rather spend a few extra hours searching the web for free info. Thanks for the straight forward, non-sugar coated assessment 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      No problem at all Ana! So glad you found it useful and you’re so right, the info is available for FREE online.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

    • Hi Ana, I agree $1000 is “a bit cray cray” however Travel Blog Success has never cost that much. At the most, it was $447 in late 2016. Our current regular price is $297 and we run several sales during the year so many of our members join for less.

      That said, the internet is a big place and we’re well aware there’s a TON of information available for free on every subject under the sun. Some people come to us because it’s too overwhelming, actually.

      By no means do I want to imply success will only come to those who join. If I could go back to 2009 when I came up with the idea, I’d have chosen a different name like “Travel Blogging Academy.”

      • HandLuggageOnly

        Again, Dave – you are still charging $997 for your ultimate bundle…

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b2d7329958b69e9b11baa62734d38f8adc4cf789ef2a20d6973d515b2bbbf265.png

        • Please see my response above at http://handluggageonly.co.uk/2015/09/05/dont-fall-into-this-travel-blogging-trap/#comment-3450012701

          You’re defending language you used in an article you wrote in 2015 with bundled products we did not make available until one month ago (July 2017).

          And those bundled products include membership to Travel Blog Success AND several additional courses. The price is higher because the overall value is higher.

          I get it. You don’t like my business model and you think we charge too much. Ultimately, the market and customers will decide.

          However, I think they should be able to do so based on accurate information. And I don’t believe they’re getting that from you in this article and these comments.

          • HandLuggageOnly

            Again, we repeat:

            Dave, you’re trying to justify your exorbitant prices by looking to dissect different elements of it but at the end of the day, you’re selling ‘training’ to new bloggers, (most of which is already available on the internet for free, I might add) for huge prices. This article is talking about the training you offer and that training is still very expensive (same as it was back in 2015).

            We’ve never labelled you personally as a scammer – those are your own thoughts and we’d never want to do that to someone. We do think you are preying on new bloggers to make profits for yourself.

            As we’ve said, it’s literally taking money from budding new bloggers to give to ‘bigger’ or more ‘successful’ bloggers.

            • “Huge prices” is subjective. Ultimately, the market decides what a product is and isn’t worth and the seller needs to either adjust the pricing or improve the value proposition.

              Your entitled to your opinion on our prices, but when you’re spreading factually inaccurate information, I take issue.

              You can’t have it both ways.

              You may never have said I as the owner am a scammer, but the business doesn’t run itself. I’m 100% responsible for it. If you’re labeling the business a “scam” then how are you not implicitly saying to your readers that the people running it aren’t scammers?

              The impression readers are left with is what matters, and your word choice has left them believing TBS is a scam as evidenced by some of the reader comments. It’s kind of hard not to see how that doesn’t reflect poorly on me, as well as my team, and our partners, affiliates, and customers.

              The reason I chose 30% as a commission rate for memberships is that I wanted to reward bloggers with a meaningful amount of money if they recommended just a single person to us.

              Yes, it’s true that more influential members were able to make more money because they had grown their audiences over the years, but I can count them on a single hand. Most of our affiliates have much smaller audiences, so you’re less likely to have seen them write about us.

              • HandLuggageOnly

                Hi Dave,

                TBS was (and still is charging) around $1000 for the courses. (As you said it was about $900 before and now $997. This was and is true till now. That’s how much you were and are charging.

                Can you not see the issue in charging new bloggers these type of fees to reward more ‘established’ bloggers? It’s problematic.

  • Lauren G

    Thanks for sharing your candid thoughts on this. As a newbie blogger who works in content marketing (who ironically struggles right now finding the right voice for my blog, go figure), stuff like this rustles my jimmies big time. There’s a lot of this in the fiction writing world too, and it does feel a bit snake oil-like. It seems like it’s the sort of thing that preys on the impatient who want quick results, really.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Exactly our thoughts too… there’s so much of it happening right now and we hate the idea of people spending so much money for information that is not worth the amount they charge.

      You’re totally right Lauren, it really does prey on the impatient, with no guarantee!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Joella

    Thank you so much for this. As a new blogger I am very glad I came across this. While I did not start my blog with the intention of making a paycheck from it it is still nice to know what scams are out there.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Really glad you found it useful Joella. Hope you’re enjoying blogging too! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • I know this is an old post, but I was reading your newer ones and one thing led to another and I got here. All I can say is: YESSSSSSS! I’m so glad someone had said it! The only good things I’ve heard about TBS were from the bloggers benefiting from it or that the Facebook group was the best part about it. Seems like a hell of an expensive club, if you ask me 😉 I don’t write about blogging but I’m sure all the necessary information can be found for free on the internet. New bloggers should know that you gain followers with a lot of patience and hard work 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Vlad! You’re totally right – it’s a rather expensive club and we hate to use the word exploit but the whole system does come across to exploit new bloggers – this type of information can be found for free online.

      So glad you felt the same way Vlad! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya

  • Although I frequent the blog, I’ve never commented before…but all of this is gold!
    Love it when you describe things in such a simple way!

    Many know when they get on the path of blogging that it isn’t easy, it takes time and it’s novices that fall prey!
    Cheers Lloyd & Yaya for pointing it out!

    Lavina

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much Lavina! So glad you agree too…

      … and you’re so right, it’s so easy to fall prey when you’re just starting out.

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • AnonymousVeracity

    I have had five (5) separate clients request that I review the content in the TBS course for them after they had purchased the course…5 exceptionally painful experiences.

    About 1.5 years ago, the SEO module linked to a ridiculously 4+-year dated Forbes article and instructed members to download and employ Yoast. That was the thrust of the 2 or so paragraphs on SEO.

    One module argues: be creative to stand out! as a strategy for building great content. WTF?! Be creative? 1) What the hell does that mean? and 2) for a $400 instructional product, it must be articulate and employ a sound pedagogy for instructing its students on how to be and/or achieve X, Y, and Z. Be creative … Take a shit and ponder Confucius then write about it and enjoy enviable ROI.

    One clarification for your readers is that the main course is $400 and the supplementary courses range from $200 to $300…oh, wait: minus 3 US bucks per each.

    TBS pays a 30% commission on affiliate sales, and at those prices any blog with traffic pandering the course’s alleged bravado is positioned to make some cash. Ahh, but of course, lest we forget: those opinions are their own and the prospect of badass returns in no way influences those opinions.

    Doesn’t anyone else here find it interesting that no one from TBS, whether management or membership, offered a response?

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much for your comment! So so interesting to hear and we can’t agree more with you! You’re so right! We’d be really keen to hear from TBS too.

      Thanks so much for detailing your experience too and taking the time to offer your input into this discussion, we just hope it dissuades fellow new bloggers that may fall for this trap.

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

    • Hi “Anonymous”, this is Dave, the owner of Travel Blog Success.

      Thank you for pointing out the pricing mentioned in the article was more than double the actual cost at the time. To that I would like to add we have lowered our pricing in 2017.

      As I write this, the regular price of membership is $297 and we offer a monthly installment plan now too. We’ve dropped the prices on several supplementary courses as well.

      You’re right, some of the information in our courses had grown stale. Over the last 3 months, we’ve audited and re-written the two courses included with the membership, as well as audited and made improvements to many of our supplementary courses too.

      I saw this article in Sept 2015, but made the mistake of not responding to it at the time. Given the harsh tone, it was upsetting, and in retrospect, that was a mistake. It was recently brought to my attention again, and I more clearly see the need to address the concerns being raised directly.

      Given you’ve worked with 5 clients who requested reviews of my products, if there’s anything you’d like to discuss further, you can reach out to me directly at dave@travelblogsuccess.com

  • Molly Wooders

    I love this post! I have seen so many posts about Travel Blog Success, and its true, they made me think that without this, you would not be able to succeed with blogging. When I saw the price I was really shocked, yes I will be a small amount for social media courses but not that sort of figure. I have worked more on my social media to engage with more bloggers and network and my followers have grown. Even though im not doing blogging to become popular, i love the engagement I have got from it and meeting new people. It is also true that the people who do Travel Blog Success are those who are already experienced. It is very sneaky. Love your posts guys!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much, Molly – we’re so glad you thought the same too (and that it wasn’t just us). We really don’t like the whole process – you’re right, it’s very sneaky! Lots of the bloggers that do it get a hefty commission for selling the course (hence their recommendation).

      Thanks again, Molly. 😘

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

    • Hi Molly, this is Dave, the owner of Travel Blog Success.

      I’m sorry that any articles about what we do have made you feel as if you can’t succeed without us. That’s simply not true, and it’s not the message we want to send out.

      Going forward, I will looking for how we can do a better job communicating what we offer and why we think it’s worth the cost (which is far less than the $1000 figure mentioned in this article).

      While it’s true that some of the bloggers in our community are very popular today, many joined years before they were so well known. We’ve had beginner bloggers recommend us too, it’s just you’re more likely to hear from the bigger names exactly because they have bigger platforms.

      • HandLuggageOnly

        Hi Dave,

        It’s great to hear from you. We understand that you say the costs are lower but we just checked and you are still charging $997 for your ‘Ultimate Bundle’ (see screenshot) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b2d7329958b69e9b11baa62734d38f8adc4cf789ef2a20d6973d515b2bbbf265.png.

        Whilst we don’t agree with lots of the principles of how TBS is being ruthlessly (and carelessly) marketed by lots of affiliates we appreciate you addressing these concerns now.

        The fact of the matter that the matter is still that paying a hefty amount of money under the veil of ‘Travel Blog Success’ and profiteering off new blogger’s enthusiasm is still exorbitant and unfair.

        Lloyd & Yaya

        • ***** In sharing this screenshot you’re trying to defend your argument from 2015 with a product that didn’t exist more than two months ago. *****

          You’re correct that TODAY we offer a bundle of ALL our products priced at $997, however we just made that available in July 2017.

          When you originally wrote your article in Sept 2015, we did not offer any bundled products nor did we offer any single product that costed more than $397.

          My concern is that you misrepresented the cost of joining Travel Blog Success by making vague statements to shock your readers and label my business, and by extension as the owner, me, a scammer.

          Instead of stating the price of membership as $397, you added together the total cost of all three products we offered at the time, plus an extra $109 so you could use a nice round number like $1000.

          In doing so, you’ve created confusion about what we offer and our ethics, which is causing unknown harm to my business and my personal and professional reputation.

          The “Ultimate Bundle” is a *new* product we began offering a month ago as an experiment.

          We have customers who’ve purchased all of our products, so we made an easy way for anyone interested in buying everything we offer in a single transaction. This represents a savings of 20% (or $230) off the regular price.

          This is a normal thing to do for e-commerce stores with multiple products. If the customer who chooses to spend $1000 buying our entire catalogue isn’t happy, he/she can request a refund within 30 days.

          To be crystal clear, the “Ultimate Bundle” is one of many products we offer. The cost to join Travel Blog Success today is a one-time fee of $297.

          • HandLuggageOnly

            Dave, you’re trying to justify your exorbitant prices by looking to dissect different elements of it but at the end of the day, you’re selling ‘training’ to new bloggers, (most of which is already available on the internet for free, I might add) for huge prices. This article is talking about the training you offer and that training is still very expensive (same as it was back in 2015).

            We’ve never labelled you personally as a scammer – those are your own thoughts and we’d never want to do that to someone. We do think you are preying on new bloggers to make profits for yourself. As we’ve said, it’s literally taking money from budding new bloggers to give to ‘bigger’ or more ‘successful’ bloggers.

  • I couldn’t have said it better. For people like us who are just starting blogging about our travels and looking for new ways to monetize our blog/travels, we can definitely say: “there is no get rich scheme about true blogging”
    Thanks for your tips and good stuff on the travel vlogs – very well done! 🙂 cheers!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much. So glad you agree too. Anything that promises success for huge fees should always ring alarm bells.

      Big hugs,
      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • Shreta

    Amazing!! I am so glad to have read this. Yaya and lyod I love your blog and take so much inspiration from you both. You are what I see my travel blog as in the future. And this post shows me I am not the only one!! (So much pressure 😁)
    Please see this (so really looking right now) my upcoming site http://www.roadsandroutes.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ah, thanks so much for your really kind comment! You made our day. Thank you! 🤗

      Ps. LOVE your post on Goa’s quieter side… we’d love to visit! ❤️

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • I wish you every success and hope you continue in progress.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much! 🤗

      Lloyd & Yaya 😊

  • Julie

    You reminded me on my early stage of travel blogging, another travel blogger I met on twitter encouraged me to sign up for the TBS course because he is affiliating with the program. I told him I was taking another travel writing program and I am still working my way up through finishing the program. He only finished 10% of the course and aftter my refusal, he still recommend it and told me that he could share the commission with me so I dont lose money, but it is not where the problem is. I also seen many bloggers recommend TBS online saying we need taking the course to succeed. I dont know what in the course that makes lots of blogger recommend it, but after I read your post and other comments, I think I made the right choice of not taking the TBS.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      We think you made the right choice too, Julie. It really is problematic when someone if offering you financial incentive to join a program… it’s obvious the other blogger just wanted to make money from you. That’s so sad, I mean, blogging is a supportive community and should always be like that.

      You definitely made the right choice.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

    • Hi Julie, this is Dave, the owner of Travel Blog Success. I’m sorry that one of our affiliates approached you so aggressively.

      Your feedback points to the need for me to do a better job communicating with them about how to talk about our products. I’d rather someone not recommend us than make anyone feel uncomfortable or pressured.

      The same goes for how affiliates write about us on their blogs. It’s not our intent as a business to suggest you cannot be successful as a travel blogger if you do not join our community and read our courses.

      Do I think they can help speed up the learning process and help you network? Yes, and I’ve seen the positive impact we’ve had in those respects. Do I think they are necessary? No.

      You’ve gotta do what’s best for you.

      • Julie

        Hi Dave, thanks for your reply. I understand that you start TBS with good intentions, but I have come across many travel blogging tips and most of all they recommend TBS by marketing it, without saying too much why they recommend it. I also found that some of the programs are teaching by other bloggers? The affiliate marketing taught by a blogger who started serious about affiliate marketing in 2015? In the travel writing program I am currently taking, I work with experienced editors who published books and on NGO, not other travel writers who started writing 2 years ago.

        • Hi Julie,

          Yes, in 2015 we began partnering with other travel bloggers to create additional courses.

          I appreciate your concern around the level of expertise and authority our partners have. That’s something we took into consideration when deciding who to work with.

          We do not make any false claims about her experience in terms of earning money through affiliate marketing. In fact, we were purposefully direct and clear about how much she’s earned so as to avoid any assertion we’re trying to dupe people.

          Ultimately, it’s up to the consumer to decide whether they want to purchase a course from us that was created with that blogger.

          We titled the course “Affiliate Marketing for Beginners” and priced it at $97 because it truly is aimed at people starting from scratch. That said, we’ve received positive feedback from people who’ve taken the course (none of whom have promoted it as an affiliate to my knowledge).

          One customer review from March 2017 which is visible on the product page says “While labeled “for beginners,” I actually learned quite a lot from this course and have been doing affiliate marketing for a few years.”

          Most of our customers who buy individual courses previously purchased from us. If they’re not happy, we have a clearly stated 30-day money back guarantee we ALWAYS honor.

  • I would too Scarlett. I just want to correct the notion that Travel Blog Success ever costed $1000, because it didn’t. At our highest, the cost was $447 in 2016 however we realized that the price had gotten too high. It’s currently $297 and we’ve introduced a monthly installment option for those who can’t pay in a lump sum.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Again, Dave – you are still charging $997 for your ultimate bundle…

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b2d7329958b69e9b11baa62734d38f8adc4cf789ef2a20d6973d515b2bbbf265.png

      • Please see my response above at http://handluggageonly.co.uk/2015/09/05/dont-fall-into-this-travel-blogging-trap/#comment-3450012701

        You’re defending language you used in an article you wrote in 2015 with bundled products we did not make available until one month ago (July 2017).

        • HandLuggageOnly

          Repeated for you, Dave.

          Dave, you’re trying to justify your exorbitant prices by looking to dissect different elements of it but at the end of the day, you’re selling ‘training’ to new bloggers, (most of which is already available on the internet for free, I might add) for huge prices. This article is talking about the training you offer and that training is still very expensive (same as it was back in 2015).

          We’ve never labelled you personally as a scammer – those are your own thoughts and we’d never want to do that to someone. We do think you are preying on new bloggers to make profits for yourself. As we’ve said, it’s literally taking money from budding new bloggers to give to ‘bigger’ or more ‘successful’ bloggers.

  • Hi Olga, that’s certainly one perspective.

    What if I shared one of our members was able to earn $10,000 in freelance work from a connection she made within the Travel Blog Success community? Would the potential networking opportunities that joining private communities can provide change your mind at all?

    I’m not saying that’s the norm for people who join us, but it’s an example of what’s possible if you view a membership fee as an investment to get in front of the kind of people who may need your services.

    I pay $600/year to be part of a private entrepreneur community and I’m sure many people would find that unnecessary. There are plenty of blogs about being a digital nomad and entrepreneur, so why pay?But I’ve received some wonderful advice, made value friendships, been motivated and inspired to work on my business, and enjoyed myself, so I continue to renew.

    • Hey Dave!

      But you explain it all very well yourself now: you don’t pay for knowledge, you pay for being part of a fancy network group that monetizes itself on other people. It’s like paying for a very expensive MBA that is useless in terms of the knowledge it provides, but helpful in terms of the network you build, making friends with people from important places lol.

      This has nothing to do with ‘blogging’ as such.

      • Hi Olga 🙂

        I agree, partially.

        Some of our customers purchase a membership because they want to learn from the two courses and 40+ hours of webinars/interviews that are included. They never join our Facebook group and that’s fine. If they’re not satisfied, they request a refund, which we honor and we wish them good luck.

        Some of our customers join specifically for the Facebook group and being able to connect with people there that they might not otherwise have access to. Some of these people may never read the two courses included with a TBS membership as of today.

        We’ve tried to create the best experience possible for those who choose to join TBS, whether they learn better reading a course, watching webinars, or engaging in the Facebook group.

        My challenge when it comes to copywriting and advertising has been to accurately describe what people get so they can make a well-informed decision.

  • I humbly disagree with the sentiment that buying a course from TBS is “…not going to change anything for anyone.” I’d be happy to share feedback from some of our members who have benefited from joining.

  • Hi Prudence, I agree about the importance of investing time and effort in quality content. I don’t believe in shortcuts either, having started blogging 10 years ago. It’s clear from the feedback here that our copywriting is giving the impression that joining TBS is a shortcut to success. That’s not at all the message I want to send out into the world, so I will be looking at how we can do a better job going forward.

  • Hi Yaya, I know this comment was left two years ago, however if this still bothers you, I’d encourage you to consider sharing your feedback directly with those bloggers you like and follow so that they know how you feel.

    I know all of the top TBS affiliates personally, and I know they write honestly, so if they benefited from being a part of TBS, I feel like they can be taken at their word. I also know they care deeply about what their readers think and if their promotion is rubbing some readers the wrong way, I know they’d take that into consideration.

    As a blogger myself, I feel the same way about reader feedback as I’m sure you do.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your reply. We have spoken to some of them directly but I think it goes beyond that. I appreciate you addressing the concerns that people have about your course and the way it’s been aggressively pushed by some affiliates.

      Yaya & Lloyd.

      • You’re welcome.

  • Hi Kate,

    Actually, when I began Travel Blog Success in 2010, I wrote the original course from scratch. I re-wrote it and doubled the length in 2011 to further improve upon it. And we’ve been working ever since to ensure we deliver a valuable experience to our customers.

    I’ve been blogging about my travels since 2007 and I’ve always done so in an ethical manner. I’m a founding member of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association and an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers.

    I would never source someone else’s content and repackage it to sell people. That’s unethical and not at all how I operate.

  • These are individual products, and they’re priced individually. You misrepresented the cost to join Travel Blog Success in your article by repeatedly suggesting a $1000 price tag.

    As an influential blog, you would do well to be more precise with the way you speak about other people’s businesses. The fat that Sarah had to clarify points to the confusion you caused amongst readers. I’d like to request you edit the article and note the correction at the bottom.

    You may disagree with the business I created (despite not being an actual customer), but that doesn’t mean you have the right to spread false information.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      This is not a misrepresentation – it clearly states you charge $997 for the”Ultimate Travel Blog Success” Bundle on your website.

      As stated in the article, I don’t disagree with your business of training bloggers. I just disagree with charging exorbitant prices to new (enthusiastic) blogger for courses available out there for free. It is predatory marketing solely for profits.

      Here’s the proof of your “Ultimate Travel Blog Success” bundle you clearly charge $997 for:

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b2d7329958b69e9b11baa62734d38f8adc4cf789ef2a20d6973d515b2bbbf265.png

      • Please see my response above at http://handluggageonly.co.uk/2015/09/05/dont-fall-into-this-travel-blogging-trap/#comment-3450012701

        You’re defending language you used in an article you wrote in 2015 with bundled products we did not make available until one month ago (July 2017).

        As of today, we offer 10 different products at various price points. Our flagship product remains a Travel Blog Success Membership which as you see in the screenshot is currently available for the regular price of $297.

        Our Travel Writing and Affiliate Marketing course are priced at $97 each. We recently dropped the price of two other courses, as well as our membership.

        Yes, we are experimenting with bundling together multiple products and offering those at a discount. This is common practice for e-commerce stores.

        The “Ultimate Bundle” is an option if someone wants to buy EVERYTHING we have for sale. Less than 1% of customers will choose it. And those that do will evaluate for themselves whether the value was worth the cost. If not, they can request a refund.

        My concern is that you are making these accusations when you:

        1) DON’T know me personally
        2) NEVER reached out to me publicly or privately to voice your concerns or clarify information before writing about my business
        3) NEVER bought one of our products, choosing instead to rely on second-hand feedback from unnamed parties

        Yet you’re repeatedly saying I operate a business in a predatory fashion that exploits people.

        That’s NOT okay. Words matter. And your choice of them may not only be damaging to my business, it’s potentially damaging to me as a professional travel blogger.

        • HandLuggageOnly

          Dave,

          You’re right, we don’t know you personally and this isn’t about you as a person. We really have no problem with you. It’s about the ethics of TBS and also how its been marketed by unsavoury affiliate tactics. This is your responsibility to get right.

          We have every right to call out something that we think is exploiting new bloggers into parting ways with substantial sums of money for ‘Travel Blog Success’ which lines your pockets and other more established bloggers. It’s unethical.

  • Hi Claire,

    To clarify, the current price to join Travel Blog Success is $297. And it was never $1000 as presented in this article.

    The most a membership ever costed was $447, however we recognized the price was getting too high and dropped it in December 2016, and again in April 2017 so that it’s more affordable.

    • HandLuggageOnly
      • Please see my response above at http://handluggageonly.co.uk/2015/09/05/dont-fall-into-this-travel-blogging-trap/#comment-3450012701

        You’re defending language you used in an article you wrote in 2015 with bundled products we did not make available until one month ago (July 2017).

        • HandLuggageOnly

          Dave, you’re trying to justify your exorbitant prices by looking to dissect different elements of it but at the end of the day, you’re selling ‘training’ to new bloggers, (most of which is already available on the internet for free, I might add) for huge prices. This article is talking about the training you offer and that training is still very expensive (same as it was back in 2015).

          We do think you are preying on new bloggers to make profits for yourself. As we’ve said, it’s literally taking money from budding new bloggers to give to ‘bigger’ or more ‘successful’ bloggers.

  • Hi Isabel,

    I’m not sure if you’re referring to me, as the owner of Travel Blog Success, but I’ve been blogging since 2007 and I was making enough from my travel blogs, Go Backpacking and Medellin Living, to support myself while living in Colombia and continuing to travel.

    It’s true that I began Travel Blog Success in 2010 to supplement my income, but trust me, charging a one-time fee of $75 to join that first year didn’t make me a millionaire. And I’m still far from it.

    For me, blogging has never been about trying to get rich, it’s been about creating freedom to travel and encouraging others to do the same if that’s what they want in their life.

    TBS did grow bigger since that first year, which is the goal when you try and build your own business.

    However, I’ve always tried to run it in an ethical manner, putting as much money back into the travel blogging community as possible. I did this by making a generous affiliate program, partnering with a friend for 2.5 years, and always hiring people from within our community.

  • Just to reiterate, the cost to join TBS has never been $1,000 and is $297 as of April 2017.