Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Web 2.0 bites business

Gave two talks over the last two weeks to one of the world’s largest travel companies and the military. It struck me how Web 2.0 is starting to bite on real businesses and organisations.

Web 2.0 and travel
The travel industry is now awash in user-generated content with 21% of online travel users accessing TripAdvisor. There’s loads of review sites and blogs galore on trips people have taken. I never book a hotel without looking at traveller reviews and have even written a few. Travel has been revolutionised by e-commerce, it is now being revolutionised by user-generated content. Some companies are now embracing this by using user-generated content to communicate with customers.

As for the question of trust – how do I know that the reviews are honest? Well I know that much of the professionally written marketing is dishonest, or at least over-polished. I also think that experienced readers can spot the phoney reviews a mile off – then again…..

Web 2.0 and military
Look at the recruitment websites for the army, navy and airforce. Recruitment website ( starts with a 60 degree panorama of army employees. Cick on one and you get a videoclip of them describing their job. The next website, due this year will use real blogs, microsites with content generated by users with live chat to army careers advisors. The web 2.0 influences of YouTube, blogs and messenger are obvious.

( has a similar panorama with video blogs of personnel, written blogs, downloadable ringtones, wallpapaer downloads and some excellent short games. The web 2.0 influences YouTube, blogs, messenger and mobiles are again on show.

( has the richest set of web 2.0 resources. There’s videoblogs of personnel, audioblogs, textblogs, TV ads, a personality quiz, practice aptitude tests, interactive job roles live web chats and SMS reminders. So, in addition to blogs we also see the importance of mobiles.

So the outward face of the services seems to have fully embraced the need for web 2.0 user-generated content to attract new people. Why? Because they understand that two-way communication is expected with this generation (see also America’s Army in the US). They are also less receptive to advertising that lacks realism. They want to hear from real people doing real jobs in their own words.


Anonymous said...


I was wondering where the 21% statistic for TripAdvisor came from. Thanks.

Ambrish said...

I too had read that 21% bit before. Forgot the source - It was in the context of tripadvisor being acquired
- Ambrish
On Vacation