Should I join the BoardingArea blog network?

I have a decision to make and I need your help.

Last week, I received an unexpected call from Randy Petersen, an old friend who runs one of the most successful travel blog networks. He asked if I would be interested in joining him.

The network, called BoardingArea, handles advertising sales and offers technical and marketing support for its bloggers. It does not exercise any editorial control.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance. Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

If I joined BoardingArea, the only visible changes to this site would be that my ads would be served by the network and a footer that points back to BoardingArea. Everything else would stay exactly the same.

The benefits:

✓ BoardingArea seems to understand how to monetize electronic content. That could allow me to stop worrying about ad sales and focus on assisting consumers. (This site makes almost no money from ads; I practically give my inventory to AdSense.)

✓ The technical support would help me ward off any future denial-of-service attacks or hacks and potentially bring in additional visits.

✓ I could reach a new audience that probably really needs to hear my message of fairness and respect for all consumers.

The drawbacks:

✓ BoardingArea is associated with some of the most rabid pro-mileage rhetoric on the Internet. I’m America’s number-one loyalty program critic. Can you say “culture clash”?

✓ There might be a perception — however untrue — that I’ve sold out to the other side, even though the network can’t dictate what I write.

✓ BoardingArea is so closely tied to air travel and loyalty programs that it might hurt my efforts to expand my advocacy practice into non-travel cases.

On a personal note, it’s no secret that I’ve had my differences with several bloggers associated with BoardingArea in the past. I was heartened when several bloggers reached out to me last week to say my voice would be welcome on the network.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I’m closing this poll after 24 hours (10 a.m. Monday) and I’m making the decision by noon.

[poll id=”719″]

Update: (10 a.m.) After 24 hours, the “ayes” have it with 54 percent of the vote. I’m joining.