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 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)

Thanks for the info ! I enjoyed your post !

Posted by: Mike, 3 February 2011, 09:58 ( 9:58 AM)
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"Don't believe anything just because you read it on the Internet. Anyone can say anything on the Internet, and they do. The Internet is the most effective medium in history for the rapid global propagation of rumor, myth, and false information." (From The Practical Nomad Guide to the Online Travel Marketplace, 2001)
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