This seems to be a hot topic lately, so I am happy to share my thoughts. When a “secret”, “hack”, “loophole” (whatever you want to call it) is discovered, what is the fine line between sharing it publicly and keeping it a secret? This also goes for people who post in a forum amongst friends, friends of friends (and friends of friends of friends, their aunts, uncles… you get the drift). I personally do not think that there is an obvious answer to this dilemma. If there was a ‘one size fits all’ answer, no one would ever need to bring it up, but I’d still like to list the Pros and Cons of this topic for the sake of discussion.
Sharing a Hack
There are 2 main pros in sharing a hack. The first positive is for the consumers, because then everyone can benefit from the information being shared publicly. The second benefit is for the person sharing, who will gain more credibility and trust to those he/she have shared, and in the context of sharing in a blog/forum, the person will generate more views and visitors and the likelihood for people coming back for more. Everyone is also expected to contribute something so that everyone can take advantage, and that’s how you can help each other and build a tight community.
From this perspective, it’s a clear cut win/win scenario.
The downside of sharing a secret is that it could close the loophole very quickly once financial institutions realize that too many people are taking advantage of the strategy. I am sure that many of you probably agree that is exactly what happened with the American Express Gold sign up bonus. Too many people were churning the credit card; thus, putting an end to it. As a result, probably the person sharing will get blamed for letting a secret go viral?
Not Sharing a Hack
By not sharing a hack, it will have better chance of surviving, which means that the people who have figured it out can continue to take advantage of it to their own benefit (and their benefit only).
The disadvantage is that no one else can benefit from it and in the world of travel blogging, bloggers will not generate as many ideal views and visitors to his or her site. Forums will not generate much traffic, making the forum less attractive for returning readers. Does this mean a Poster will get blamed for being selfish for keeping all his or her secrets?
Contrasting above, this sounds like a lose/lose situation to me.
Regardless of whether to share or not, here’s what I can say for sure: The more effort you put in to do your OWN personal research (this includes not seeking travel hackers for help), the more you will discover and not have to depend on anyone else. However, there is always a balance to be made. Share with discretion and do not go overboard, because when it gets out of hand, ultimately you are the one who loses out.
What are you thoughts on this matter? Would you share a secret to everyone or just to people close to you?