Monday, March 23, 2009

Cruise Critic Crawl

Even through bumpy weather and our other activities, we enjoyed the opportunity one evening for a get-together with fellow contributors to Cruise Critic. We subsequently took a couple of private tours arranged by other Cruise Critic posters.


Anonymous said...

Is RCCL Manipulating (owned by TripAdvisor)

From Jaunted (Conde Nast):

Royal Caribbean Cruises Has Web 2.0 Viral Infection

No surprise here: Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has a viral infection. For once, however, it's not the Norovirus but that new-fangled byproduct of Web 2.0, the viral marketing infiltration. According to Consumerist, a group of fifty "Royal Champions" was outed by their own creator, the Customer Insight Group, as being a successful project whereby frequent positive cruise commenting on sites such as CruiseCritic was rewarded with free cruises and other perks.
So what's the big deal? Well, it seems that the "Royal Champions" weren't always up front about their status as compensated reviewers, effectively misleading readers of CruiseCritic forums with their positive comments. Add to this the fact that CruiseCritic admins assisted Royal Caribbean in choosing the fifty, with one of the stipulations being quantity of posts, "with many having over 10,000 message board posts on various Royal Caribbean topics." From here, the hole just gets deeper.
Now that many RC fans feel slighted at not having made the ranks and most everyone else is disgusted at the covert trade of cruising for happy juicing, the trustworthiness of such forums is under fire.
Due to CruiseCritic's ownership by TripAdvisor, which is in turn under the Expedia blanket of travel sites, a viral marketing stunt gone awry could possibly continue to negatively ripple. Does news like this affect your ability to trust good reviews on travel sites, or do you already consider yourself an excellent shill-spotter enough to weed out the solicited from the unsolicited? While this whole ordeal is mired in serious muckety-muck, let's hope it serves as a lesson for future viral marketers and as an argument for transparency.

Kathy and Brian said...

We did our own research before publishing this comment, one that was probably generated automatically through the inclusion of "Cruise Critic" in the post title.

It's apparently quite true (see our subsequent post entitled "Caveat Emptor")and is another reminder not to take at face value whatever one reads, whether newspaper article or anonymous Internet posting