Be Aware: Using TripWow Widget Boosts TripAdvisor on Google

TripWow Slideshow – Does it Wow You?

TripAdvisor launched “TripWow” recently and has been riding a wave of social media and travel blog publicity since.

On the surface, it’s a means for people to create their own slideshows and embed them in their websites. To quote from TripAdvisor:

TripWow is a widget application which allows individuals to post their traveler photos and share a slideshow of their photos with friends and family by posting it on various sites including embedding it on their own personal site or blog.

TripWow Demo

TripWow does look impressive at first sight. But in my view, once you’ve seen a couple of examples they all start to look the same due to the lack of options and the introductory graphics that take ages before showing your actual photos.

But regardless of the aesthetics and features, is this a genuine freebie without any catches? Or like a Trojan Horse, is there a nasty surprise hidden inside it?

TripWow #1

I’ll keep this short.  The terms of use for the TripWow widget forbid you from altering the widget in any way.  They begin:

TripWow is the property of TripAdvisor, and its affiliate and parent companies (“TripAdvisor”). By downloading TripWow you agree to be bound by the terms set out below (the “TripWow Terms”).

TripAdvisor’s “TripWow Terms” for the TripWow widget go on to state:

Clause 1.2 You will not cause, permit or authorize any modification of TripWow, which includes separation into component parts or creation of derivative works

The trick for TripAdvisor is that the widget contains keyword-rich hyperlinks back to the TripAdvisor website.   As you can’t remove them, this means everyone who uses the TripWow widget gives keyword juice to TripAdvisor, in the same way that TripAdvisor sucks up SEO juice from sites via its review display widgets.

So be aware – if you do use TripWow on your own site, you’re assisting TripAdvisor in its quest to top the search engine results.  If you have an interest in your own site appearing for those results, don’t use it!

TripWow #2

Finally, you should be aware that any pictures you use on TripWow can be used by TripAdvisor for its own purposes, e.g. to make up their own travel guides.  They don’t make this clear, but you automatically hand over the rights to use your pictures to TripAdvisor when you use them on a TripWow show.  TripAdvisor terms of service include this clause:

You grant TripAdvisor and its affiliates a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to (a) use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter devised.

Be aware!

Related articles:

Should Hotels Use TripAdvisor Widgets

TripWow could use a little more “Trip” and a little less “Wow”


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