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Thanks for checking out our blog, we really appreciate it.

However, our blog has moved to

Sorry that you have to visit another site to find us, but it is worth it...we have all of our 'classic' posts and comments on the new blog, plus a ton of new thoughts and ideas.

Why are we moving? Basically, Blogger failed us and never responded to our emails and requests. A clear example of poor customer service...too bad, we liked Blogger.

Come over and see us on the new blog.

Troy and Mo

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

User-Generated Content Is Dead

The proliferation of user-generated opinions on various Web sites is increasingly being challenged.

“In short, the expert is back,” writes Newsweek.

“People are beginning to recognize that the world is too dangerous a place for faulty information," said Charlotte Beal, a consumer strategist for the Minneapolis-based research firm Iconoculture. She adds that choice fatigue and fear of bad advice are creating a "perfect storm of demand for expert information." >>Full Story

Thoughts// This type of story is the reason why I started the Travel 2.0 blog. The headline, from travel news site Travel Mole reads 'Tourists saying ‘no’ to user-generated opinions.' The 'story' goes on to quote the original Newsweek article that discusses the growing popularity of 'expert' sites. And, if you were just to read the headline and some of the article, you might think that the entire UGC trend is collapsing around us...which is not the case.

The article on Travel Mole does cite a few references of these new expert sites (, Mahalo and, however none of them have very much relevance to the travel industry, let alone that headline. The article goes on to say pretty much nothing and probably leaves most readers even more confused about UGC than they were in the first place.

Typically, I am not this direct in an opinion, I try to give the benefit of the doubt, but it is this kind of lethargic journalism that is partially responsible for the out-of-control UGC buzz in the first place. And now you are telling me it is over?

Not so fast. No facts, no evidence, no proof that TripAdvisor has seen a X% of decline in travel reviews. Unless you have some evidence, don't make blanket statements that scare most VPs and CEOs into running down to the interactive department and ask them what happened.

Just stop it.

Now, about that Newsweek article. It is fair, but not great. True, there has been some significant growth in the 'expert' advice area with sites such as, but that should not come at a surprise. Everything in the online world (if not the entire world) is cyclical...constantly moving back and forth...too many vague, random opinions on which can-opener works the best, let's get some experts in here to tell us the truth.

And it should also come as no surprise that the founder of Mahalo thinks the site is a great idea. I would hope so.

Let's show a little restraint here.

Personally, I have been asking the question for a while if consumer interest in UGC will decline (see our comments from October on Will Human Laziness Burst The Web 2.0 Bubble?) . However, I think we can agree that UGC is not going away. Consumers know the power of their opinion. There is some balancing that will occur between 'amateur UGC' and 'expert UGC', but either way, user-generated content is here to stay.

So, how does a DMO fit into this puzzle? Who better to be an expert on your city, state, country, etc. than you?

Now, how do you start communicating with those consumers using UGC?

That is the real question.


Travolution Blogger said...

interesting post.

Travolution has given this quite a lot of attention in recent months, arguing that "Content is King" is dead; rather, User Experience is King.

Here is our analysis

Mo said...

Well put Troy...I could not agree with you more.

Much like many things in life, "UGC" cannot exist in one extreme (all UGH all the time) or another (top down, experts only. I've always believed that a perfect mix of expert content plus UGC that's presented in a user friendly and intuitive manner is the "sweet spot" for content.

MyFlightBlog said...

Great post Troy. Glad you called them out for not supporting the claims with facts. I don't think the power of UGC to influence travelers has diminished in the past few months. I think it will only continue to grow as more and more niche social networks sites continue to grow their user base.

Keep up the great work on Travel 2.0.