Remember that kid in law school who never created his own outlines, was always lurking around for handouts come finals time, and basically annoyed everyone? To some degree I am describing myself but only to a limited extent. In law school I found it more efficient to share my work product with others by becoming a broker of information. I specialized in the area I was interested, others specialized in theirs, and the dissemination of information flowed freely. “I’ll trade you Descendant’s Estates killer outline created by X for my Prisoner’s Rights outline.” Then I’ll trade that for T’s Evidence outline. And on and on it went.
The unspoken rule was that the mooch of information would be frozen out of the mix leaving the bottom feeder to fend for himself. After all, grades were based on a bell curve and giving away all the shortcuts would put those who actively participated in the swap at an unneeded disadvantage. Those that were in the inner circle understood that having an inclusive outline did not mean they would automatically score the highest. They would have to compete with their peers and ultimately the best would score well by effectively parlaying their own skills with the shared information.
The metaphor pairs perfectly in the points game. A certain billionaire who can’t keep a secret loves to disseminate any and all information crassly and carelessly with no regard for those who do the research by finding ‘sweet spots’, ‘two browser tricks’, and travel hacks. Good bloggers pay their dues to the system by making their own mistakes and then share their results with fellow bloggers and avid readers. Opportunistic bloggers troll websites for content then post arbitrage opportunities in big bold letters openly mocking the banks, airlines, pharmacies, bird zoos, and anyone else who is offering something for nothing. The inevitable result is that transactions that used to go through are now hard-coded in registers as impermissible. Churning opportunities for the 49th state that were readily available quickly dry up. And everyone is worse off as a result. Everyone except for the billionaire who makes a killing on affiliate links and is oblivious to the tacit rules of collusion that we all followed in law school.
There is no solution to stop this from occurring apart from speaking in code in deep, dark forums. This would make everyone worse off as collaboration would cease to exist leaving readers who don’t have the time to peruse every thread at a decided disadvantage. At the same time, wouldn’t it be nice to eliminate the free riders? Wouldn’t it be nice to stop seeing pictures of a spouse covered with BlueBird Vanilla droppings? Make no mistake all parties that participate in the points game are aware of each other. Chase knows that you switched your Sapphire from Visa to MC just to get the sign up bonus. Target knows about your macaw parrot. And GiftCardMall knows you aren’t that nice to be spending 15k a month shelling out gift cards.
They let these activities transpire because these institutions have a ledger that dictates when an offering goes from profitable to unprofitable. Seemingly this coincides when someone decides to flaunt his success stories via blog post after blog post.