TripAdvisor Partners Facebook “Instant Personalisation” Feature
TripAdvisor has joined Facebook’s “instant personalization” service – a feature that highlights your Facebook friends’ interests as you visit participating sites. Other Facebook partner sites include Yelp, Bing, Clicker, Rotten Tomatoes, Docs.com, Pandora and Scribd.
TripAdvisor’s partnership with Facebook is an attempt to tap into Facebook’s 500 million-plus membership base. This follows TripAdvisor’s ill-fated attempt to start a social network site of its own back in 2008 – do you remember that? No, I thought not!
There has been some controversy over this Facebook service, as the feature shares your Facebook public information on all partner sites. Public information includes your name, profile picture, gender, networks and other information shared with everyone.
Three US senators asked the Federal Trade Commission to look at Facebook’s information sharing policies earlier this year, questioning whether it should be allowed to share its user data with these other websites.
Furthermore, the feature by default allows TripAdvisor and the others to email you directly at your Facebook email address. Facebook is facing concerns over the fact that users must “opt out” rather than “opt in” to this feature. My advice would be to opt out of the emails if you decide to link your Facebook profile to your membership on these other sites, unless you like receiving email spam.
Is this feature really useful, or is it just a gimmick? Hard to tell at this early stage. But as the Wall Street Journal noted :
… while travelers’ social networks might be great for sharing YouTube videos, witty status updates and little blue thumbs of approval, that doesn’t necessarily make them top-shelf sources for travel advice. Facebook, of course, has no control over the advice its users dole out. But the ability to reach out to so many people at once can make the already fraught dynamics of asking friends for advice even stickier. What, for instance, happens when a contact follows up to ask what you thought of that recommendation you ignored—or worse, hated? What’s more, as any Facebook user knows, the idea that you actually have anything in common with (or even know) all your “friends” on the site is questionable; take Goodson’s Prague adventure. Her advice came not from an actual friend, or even a friend of a friend, but from a high school classmate’s girlfriend’s cousin—whom she’s never met.