Monday, August 17, 2009

Why Facebook Connect Fits Strategy

I have some additional thoughts about what I see as the positive step that took when it began requiring that its consumer reviews be penned through Facebook Connect.

It's great that's user-generated content won't be created anonymously and this adds to review credibility.

However, using Facebook Connect is a limited solution because so many potential review writers don't use Facebook or even other social-media websites.

From a business perspective, that's OK for while it wouldn't work necessarily for businesses like TripAdvisor.

That's because TripAdvisor lives and dies by its traveler-written hotel reviews and the advertising money it takes in from the ads positioned "around the rails" of those reviews, while's business is based on journalist-written hotel reviews.

Unlike websites like Professional Travel Guide, which sees professional reviews as the end-all and be-all, is smart enough to know that it has to dabble in consumer-written hotel reviews and social media.

But, if doesn't attract a fraction of the user-generated content that TripAdvisor does when mandates vetting through Facebook Connect, then will have to live with that.'s differentiation in hotel reviews is through its journalist-written reviews.

And, that differentiation has a lot to do with the, well, differences between's and TripAdvisor's hotel review policies.

That is not to excuse TripAdvisor from its obligation to do more to ensure the credibility of its own reviews.

But, from a business standpoint, this may explain some of the differences between the two approaches.

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