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The "Trip Advisor Contributors"---what really is happening

Sterling, VA
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
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12,168 posts
141 reviews
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The "Trip Advisor Contributors"---what really is happening

Lost in CEO Kaufer's thread is this comment regarding the "contributors", that I think bears repeating. So---for lack of a better expression---here it is, straight from the horse's mouth:

"Regarding the 'anonymous contributors' for restaurant reviews from FaceBook... We found that the FB community will write reviews on FB, but if we make them join TA, very few will continue and give us their viewpoints (scores and text). We've opted to collect volume, even though some of them may not be as valuable as the ones collected directly on tripadvisor. Now, at least, we often have dozens of reviews on a restaurant, whereas before, we only had one or two. Not a perfect solution, but the best we've come up with so far.

For hotels and attractions, we still require full membership."

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Tattoosydney, I hope you see this because I want to let you know you were spot in with your comment. You said:

"TA Jane says:

I'm sorry that I cannot confirm that a change is expected in the immediate future. I can only confirm that the complaints registered in this forum about the restaurant comments from "A Trip Advisor Contributor" have been read and discussed by a variety of staff members, and that I will continue to forward links regarding this issue to the appropriate department heads for review.

I translate as:

Yes, we know that you don't like them, but we don't care because we have decided that FaceBook is the way of the future, not you boring old contributors who actually try to create interesting content. However, one of us will drop in every now and then and make placating noises in the hope that you will all get sick of harping on about this.

Am I close, Jane?"

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Jane then goes on to answer and basically say that TA does care. Plus she asks us members to click on the report inappropriate content link to report the useless "one-liners".

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So...All this time, TA made us think that something was going to be done about the "contributors" without telling us exactly what that would be. On top of that, they wanted us to go through restaurant reviews and report the useless ones. Now, we find out that all along they had no intention of doing anything about this issue but still expect us to help them clean up the mess.

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Well...now that I know that TA has opted to go with quantity versus quality regarding restaurant reviews, I will no longer hold out hope that any changes are in the works.

Instead I've opted to leave my restaurant reviews on Zagat and every now and then on Chowhound. Also, I'm going to look into Yelp. At least in these forums, there are no "contributors"--- everyone has to be a member and use a screen-name. Thus everyone is on equal footing.

Since the "contributors" thankfully, won't have access to the hotel and attraction reviews, I will continue to leave reviews in these categories.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
44,162 posts
1,100 reviews
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1. Re: The "Trip Advisor Contributors"---what really is happening

Yep, SueFee, quantity NOT quality.

I admit to being *very* disappointed by TA deciding that it's better to "pack 'em in" with oft-useless reviews rather than have fewer reviews with substance.

I believe that the long-term effects of this policy will not be beneficial to TA in any way.

No doubt some of the useless reviews are a direct result of the average [young] age of facebook users, whereas I'm guessing if TA did a complete survey of members who contribute regularly, they would find the average age to be twice that of the facebook folks.

To be fair, a small percentage of the anonymous reviews are helpful. But it's a mighty small percentage!

I do appreciate that the TA staff seems to be responding to TA members reporting "inappropriate" reviews when they contain absolutely nothing useful, or consist of only a word or two. Several have recently been removed.

However, I agree with you - they seem to expect members to do all the cleanup work! None of which would be necessary if ALL users were treated equally . . . all contributors should be TA members!

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Family Travel
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9,215 posts
168 reviews
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2. Re: The "Trip Advisor Contributors"---what really is happening

Thank you suefree

I certainly will not be recommending the restaurant reviews to anyone....in fact will suggest they be disregarded as they are worthless at the mmoment...

The link for anyone who's not seen it

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12104-k2411886…

Tenerife, Spain
Level Contributor
17,549 posts
183 reviews
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3. Re: The "Trip Advisor Contributors"---what really is happening

Thank you SueFee

I too will not be recommending contributors to check out the official TA restaurant reviews but instead directing them to our own Inside Page where we have lots of suggestions for each tourist resort in our tiny island.

Thanks for the information.

San Francisco
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36,629 posts
26 reviews
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4. Re: The "Trip Advisor Contributors"---what really is happening

Well said, SueFee! I too noticed that comment of Steve's and thought "yep, they're going for quantity." TA likes to boast about the number of reviews they have and they're inflating their numbers in this manner.

I won't post any more restaurant reviews (Chowhound is good and, in my area anyway, so is Yelp). If all that's left on TA are reviews from these so-called "contributors" the restaurant area will soon become meaningless.

Sterling, VA
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
Level Contributor
12,168 posts
141 reviews
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5. Re: The "Trip Advisor Contributors"---what really is happening

half-brit---I started going through the "contributors" useless reviews and reporting them to TA but that was when TA had us thinking that something would be done about the situation. Now that I know they are not going to do anything, then I will no longer help them clean up their mess! I suggest that other posters not waste their time doing this either.

RamblingSal---I just signed up with Yelp. They have quite a few restaurant listings in the DC Metro area and I already left one review and plan to leave many more. Also, I noticed in my area, that some restaurants post stickers on their windows/doors telling people that they are listed in Yelp.

Aguilas---The idea of an inside page, IMO, works well if others aren't constantly changing the content. I'm not sure (can somebody tell me?) but I think "go lists" can't be edited? If I'm right, maybe that's the way to go.

Mikey--thanks for your comments. Last time I wrote a substantial trip report, I let other posters know that I refuse to leave another restaurant review on TA and told posters they were welcome to ask specific questions about restaurants we went to.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
44,162 posts
1,100 reviews
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6. Re: The "Trip Advisor Contributors"---what really is happening

Will agree on that, SueFee. I reported a couple of dozen at first, but now I only report them if I happen to run across them looking something up, or if they are reviews on the same restaurants I review.

I think this is a problem that TA is just refusing to recognize, but oh well - it's their company and I don't own stock in it (joke LOL!). If ultimately they realize it was a mistake, I assume they can get rid of the anonymous reviews with a few clicks, so to speak.

detroit, mi
Level Contributor
130 posts
39 reviews
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7. Re: The "Trip Advisor Contributors"---what really is happening

I will keep posting restaurant reviews on Ta for those I feel really strong about and want to tell other travelers about, including those in my home State.

I too use other sources and am getting pretty good at discarding the "OMG, LOL, Party in my tummy,Yum, Luv Dem Big Azz Corned Beef Samwiches", type of review.

However on other sites I have found similar strange one line reviews. Such is the internet.

Sterling, VA
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
Level Contributor
12,168 posts
141 reviews
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8. Re: The "Trip Advisor Contributors"---what really is happening

Yes, other sites can have some useless reviews---no argument there. However, I don't know of any other site that allows "contributors" to post like TA does. Other sites require that anyone who wants to post a review sign up as a member.

detroit, mi
Level Contributor
130 posts
39 reviews
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9. Re: The "Trip Advisor Contributors"---what really is happening

You are right about the TA contributors, as I stated in an earlier post their reviews are mostly garbage.

However I still believe that we can post and maybe even make fun of their silly reviews.

Since I discovered TA I have found wonderful people to help me with my travel, good but not always great reviews, and friends in Ft. Lauderdale who helped me with travel problems.

As with any review, be it NY Times, or some internet chat site with 14 year olds reviewing a cafe where they would not even be able to pay the bill, let alone get a table, we have to take this with a grain of salt.

I hope TA only alllows it's registered members to post. If it does not and the qualitity goes down then less people will use the site and the booking area. It will lose it's credibility and go the way of 1,000,000 forums on the web.

Remember, pets.com, Sabre, and all of the other defunk web sites. There's a graveyard of bad managed websites out there and a lesson to be learned by TA.

Have a good night.

pat b

San Francisco
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36,629 posts
26 reviews
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10. Re: The "Trip Advisor Contributors"---what really is happening

I agree with pkbroch that there are some wonderful people here who share their knowledge. And the forums and the member reviews are very good (yes, there are some issues) and truly a community. So, what *is* TA thinking about letting these namelss, faceless types pollute the waters?

I use opentable.com quite a bit and they've started having reviews available but none have user names associated. I immediately emailed them and told them their reviews were useless until they required login names. It's evident their reviews aren't going anywhere fast.

I post frequently on the SF forum and I now tell posters not to pay attention to TA restaurant reviews unless their pretty savvy TA users.

I'll bet TA's advertising revenue is based upon the number of reviews they have. They don't really care about the quality of them ... it's numbers that driving them.

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