So, LeWeb ’10 is coming up. Let’s say you’re looking for some good ideas of where to stay and what to do in Paris while you’re there. Where are you most likely to turn on the web? Google. A search for “paris vacation” yields TripAdvisor as the top result. You click on that link.
Oh. My. God.
You’re greeted at the top by a banner ad. Below that, you get 10 sponsored links. To the right of that, affiliate links. Below that, hundreds more affiliate links. And more banner ads. There is not a single piece of actual content on this page. It’s one giant ad. And there are 76 pages of this.
This is basically the state of trying to do research online for travel. It’s one giant SEO play which drives the winner a ton of traffic that they then monetize the hell out of with ads and affiliate links. It’s more or less then worst experience in the world for an end user.
You’re doing research on a vacation, you want to see big, beautiful pictures of the place, some reviews, recommendations from people you trust. Instead you get hundreds of links that are bought and paid for. It almost seems like a joke.
Google search results for hundreds of cities around the world are no better. Maybe this is exactly why we do need something like Blekko. Maybe we need humans, who can’t be gamed, helping with results. And if they are being gamed, we need transparency to see how and why and by whom. I don’t know. All I know is that this current system is really broken.
And shame on TripAdvisor for putting such garbage out there. It’s enough to make you want to go to a travel agent.
Did you get this far? Impressive.
TripAdvisor is a free travel guide and research website that offers reviews and information TripAdvisor operates sister sites in other countries (the UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland, Japan and India). Apart from the obligatory reviews of hotels and other attractions, TripAdvisor has some nifty features. Users can quickly and easily post their vacation videos and travel marketers can showcase their properties by featuring their videos on TripAdvisor for free. They also offer a personalization tools allowing users to save...
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...