Tripadvisor, as useful of a resource as it can sometimes be, is begging to be ignored.
If you use social media, such as Facebook to log into your Facebook account, Tripadvisor correlates review activity with your Facebook friends. Whenever a friend posts a new review, or if they receive a “helpful vote”, you get an email. The subject line of this email is “Joe Blow just shared travel updates with you.”
Is that so? Did Joe Blow really actually specifically tag me to notify me he had completed a review? Or that, hey look, he got a helpful vote? Unlikely. In fact, I received the email because Joe Blow and I are friends and nothing more. Many people have a significant number of Facebook friends, many of whom also actively write reviews for Tripadvisor. Combine those two factors and you have emails that are neither targeted nor helpful.
And worse for Tripadvisor, they train the recipients of the email to ignore them, because readers after a while will realize the emails they’re receiving are not useful to them. Enough useless emails and recipients will either unsubscribe or cancel their account.
How can Tripadvisor make this better? By actually notifying users when their Facebook friends post something useful to them. For example, let’s say that, because Tripadvisor knows where you have traveled if you write your own reviews or mark places as visited, it can further correlate your friends’ travel activity with yours. If I had visited New Orleans I might be more interested to know that a friend had reviewed a new restaurant to which I had not yet visited and might want to try. Or maybe that I had and would be eager to discuss our common experiences.
Tripadvisor could could one step further by allowing users to create a travel wish list of places we want to visit. Whenever a Facebook friend posts a review of accommodations or an eatery in the locale in which we want to visit, we would get an email notification. That would actually be useful information.
But right now, Tripadvisor is simply contributing to our horrid signal-to-noise ratio in life. And I’ve turned them off until they can figure out how to actually help their users without spamming them.