Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Travel "shills" back in the news
I'm quoted in a lengthy story in the Guardian [U.K.] newspaper yesterday about the accuracy of hotel reviews: "Why TripAdvisor is getting a bad review". The focus of the story is on some U.K. hoteliers' threats to sue Tripadvisor.com for libel, but it mentions that:
Not only is there a slew of information, it's not clear how much of it is reliable. Travel writer Edward Hasbrouck reported that at a marketing conference in 2006 a top advertising agency publicly declared it had a division "devoted to seeding online forums and bulletin boards with targeted content".
My original report got little notice at the time, but this is a story that won't go away -- and each time it come back in the spotlight, I get more questions like these from the BBC in 2009. And the problem isn't limited to hotel reviews: there have been questions raised about cruise reviews as well.
Look for more news on this issue shortly.
[Update: Here's another report on paid third-party hotel shills, from a recent European travel marketing conference.]Link | Posted by Edward on Wednesday, 26 January 2011, 16:41 ( 4:41 PM) | TrackBack (0)