Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Matching of TripAdvisor and LinkedIn photos outs Accor hotel executive as shill

Travel industry news site Tnooz has the story on an executive of the Accor hotel chain who was posting reviews of hotels on TripAdvisor.com without mentioning his affiliation.

Tnooz mentions that this violated TripAdvisor's rules. What may be more important is that it appears to have violated the FTC's rules requiring online endorsements to disclose of any "material connections" with providers of goods or services being endorsed. We'll see what action, if any, the FTC takes.

Online shills are nothing new. As the Tnooz story notes, I wrote about it as an organized feature of the travel marketing industry in 2006, and was interviewed about it in a segment on the Today show in 2011 that also featured on-camera interviews with a professional hotel shill.

The unusual feature of the latest incident is that the shill was outed to Tnooz by an online "reputation management" company on the basis of automated matching of TripAdvisor and LinkedIn profile photos. It's unclear whether this company's harvesting and use of profile photos violated either LinkedIn or TripAdvisor terms of use or infringed the copyrights in the photos.

Link | Posted by Edward on Tuesday, 28 May 2013, 06:46 ( 6:46 AM)
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