Interesting article about online review sites at the NY Times.
Many of the reader-generated reviews of hotels, restaurants, destinations and other travel services on the Web may have started their lives as independent blogs by travel buffs. But they have consolidated into major online businesses, taking an ever-growing piece of the market from print guides.
The major sites are TripAdvisor.com, owned by Expedia, and IgoUgo, owned by Sabre Holdings, which also owns Travelocity. Both Expedia and IgoUgo staked their first Internet claims as sites where travelers could research prices and directly book trips. They now operate the review sites as separate businesses.
TripAdvisor acknowledges that an occasional review or forum can be manipulated by a crafty hotel or restaurant owner. But it says the sheer volume of offerings — and the growing sophistication of Internet travel site users — mitigates the problem.