Mooch around the TripAdvisor forums for a few minutes and you’ll come across posts by people whom TripAdvisor has designated as “Destination Experts”.
Putting aside how expert some of the “experts” are (the main criterion seems to be to post a lot and regularly – many do display good local knowledge but others seem to rely mainly on Google!) it is surprising that TripAdvisor lets some of them get away with regular, open advertising and self-promotion of their business – something that is explicitly forbidden in TripAdvisor’s own forum rules.
The most obvious example is the placing of links by forum Experts to their own commercial websites.
The identical link at the bottom of each of these posts (and there are 3 787 posts to date by the Loire Valley Expert) goes to a blog which promotes a company specialising in tours of the Loire Valley – a company run by the same TA Loire Valley Expert.
Is there one rule for “TripAdvisor Experts” and another for the rest of the forum members? Or does no-one at TripAdvisor ever bother looking at their own forum?
I suspect the latter – a case of TripAdvisor not caring enough to look at its own forum, relying instead on other people not only to generate content but also to police it for them.