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Sep 6, 2013 01:18 AM

Trip Advisor

I very much appreciate the Chowhound forums on restaurants - both for specific suggestions from others, general info - and also like to respond to requests for info. I do the latter mainly for helping others - but there probably is the element of noting that one knows something someone else might not - probably a facet of being human hard to avoid.

I also use Trip Advisor and find its forum and input on restaurants generally good - and often useful.

But I recently got an email from Trip Advisor saying I only need two more reviews to get some kind of badge - but then it also encouraged me to SHOW EVERYONE HOW WELL-TRAVELLED I WAS!!!!!

Good grief - has the world turned THAT narcissistic? That's probably a naive question as Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Rolex wouldn't exist otherwise.

In any case - personally - I will post reviews on TA with an entirely different feeling.


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  1. It sounds to me like TA is doing all they can to get more free content from users. The "badge" sounds as prestigious as being able to score some "genuine" Rolex batteries for a Rolex watch.

    1. I tend to use Tripadvisor for hotels and don't even look at the restaurant reviews there; I use chowhound for that with much success. I have the feeling that the restaurant reviewers on TA aren't as much "like me" as the reviewers here, while my requirements for an acceptable hotel room are not that different from most people. I will admit that I have earned a few of those highly coveted badges (for my hotel reviews).

      1 Reply
      1. re: DGresh


        I've only posted one review of a restaurant on TA (to go along with a hotel review from the same trip), and it was only because there were so many reviews contrary to my experience.

      2. The TA badge is a marketing tool. Their forums useful. I'd rather earn guest perks directly through hotels booked. I never use the restaurant reviews.

        1. I don't have so much of a problem with the idea of a 'badge' (does show if someone has perhaps some kind of experience) as with the idea of writing a review and thus SHOWING everyone how well-travelled I might be.

          I've never run across anyone sporting a pretentious status symbol that I wanted to know anything more about - from whatever forced encounters I've had with them they invariably number among the least interesting people,

          14 Replies
          1. re: jounipesonen

            I don't follow you.. Are you saying that you feel forums are just bragging spaces?

            TA is a site specifically for people to recount their travel experiences. Are you calling that bragging?

            If so, do you feel the same way about a food forum designed for people to share their dining and cooking experiences by a company who also give out the occasional CHOW T-shirt?

            1. re: HillJ

              TA told me that I should want to be SHOWING PEOPLE HOW WELL-TRAVELLED I WAS.

              That is repugnant to me - as would be wearing a Rolex, etc. to relay my so-called status. I go to a forum to ask questions, start a discussion and/or to help someone who has a question.

              I resent TA thinking I or anyone else uses their bloody forum to impress people!

              Use the word 'bragging' as you wish above.

              The 'badge' thing is only incidental.

              1. re: jounipesonen

                Given that the badges are simply a numerical count of your reviews, you could amass a huge number of "points" reviewing all the Hampton/Holiday Inns along I95 in Connecticut, if that happened to be where your business trips took you. I don't think *anyone* confuses a number of reviews with being "well traveled".

                1. re: DGresh

                  "I don't think *anyone* confuses a number of reviews with being "well traveled"."

                  Tell that to TA - that's the motivation they seem to be using! At least that's how they were trying me to write 2 more reviews.

                  Here was their text;

                  Get your Passport badge
                  Show how well-travelled you are! Review places in two destinations and collect your Passport badge on TripAdvisor.

                2. re: jounipesonen

                  It's certainly your right to be turned off. As it is TA's mission to attract travelers willing to write about their experiences. As a free site, you're free to use it as you wish. But in all the time that I have read TA travel reviews I have never thought about the motivation behind them.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    But now you know why TA thinks people write them :-)

                    1. re: jounipesonen

                      you've def. given me a diff perspective and something to think about.

                  2. re: jounipesonen

                    They have a competition each year to see who has the most reviews. I got an email about it this year and checked out the winner, who had literally thousands of reviews. He'd reviewed everything from the public washrooms to the hot dog stand to the Ferris wheel everywhere they'd gone

                    There are people who get great satisfaction from being a top contributor, whether what they post is useful or not.

                3. re: jounipesonen

                  IMHO the whole point of the "badge" (which by the way is entirely virtual) is just to indicate that a person has taken the time to write a number of reviews, and thus is not a person who only joined TA to bash a one-off bad experience or laud a good one. Same as I'm sure many of us trust names we see a lot here vs someone who is posting for the first time and may be a shill for a new restaurant.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      My OP was nothing about badges - but about TA's obnoxious suggestion that I would write a review with the motive to show people how 'well-travelled' I was.

                      Yes - the badges are good in showing users that someone MIGHT have some worthwhile experience - but GETTING badges should not be thought of as a contest to impress people.

                      1. re: jounipesonen

                        You're obviously not in marketing--which is not a bad thing! I think, though, you're missing the point of what that TA solicitation was trying to do. They were hoping to come up with motivation in their verbiage would encourage someone to write more reviews. Obviously it missed the mark with you.

                        1. re: PegS

                          Sure I understand what they're doing - it's the same people that are in charge of Louis Vuitton and their ilk. Not for me, thanks - and I hope there are others who don't think life is all about showing the world how great one is!

                          1. re: jounipesonen

                            Okay, but I hope they write reviews anyway. I am constantly being emailed to write reviews for opentable and Amazon, and I feel bad because I find the reviews VERY helpful, but I don't feel like it.


                            I feel a little better after the "free content" comment.

                            Of course there is nothing like chowhound for planning your meals in advance, but when your standing hungry on a corner in some strange city, the "nearby" function on tripadvisor is much simpler.

                            Once staff at a hotel I stayed at went above and beyond, then asked me to give her a shout out on TA, and I did.

                            Was that bad? ;)

                4. It's a concept called "Gamification," taking the idea of rewards -- like badges -- from online games and applying it as an incentive for non-gaming engagement.

                  It really motivates some people, while others find it, like here, a little silly.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lsmutko

                    That was exactly what I thought when I read the post - frankly even on gaming sites the badges seem like such a juvenile kind of reward (you've won a GOLD STAR, Little Johnny!) that it makes me feel a little embarrassed to be playing games. I can't imagine how anyone would be motivated by the offer of a silly badge to post more reviews on a more grown-up site.