Friday, August 17, 2007

Tech site thinks TripAdvisor is daft

UPDATE III: TripAdvisor in the US told us: "This is untrue. Beyond that, we do not have any comment."

Influential blog Mashable has reacted with barely disguised astonishment today after discovering TripAdvisor has bought a Facebook application for $3 million.

The Where I've Been tool - yes we've tried it out - has around 2.3 million "users" (or those that have installed it on their Facebook pages) and simply allows people to plot locations they visited on a world map, which can then obviously be shared with friends.

"INSANITY", screams Mashable. [Full post]

"We say users in a relative way, however, since these surely aren’t as valuable as the users on an independent site: they’re “borrowed” members of Facebook who could ultimately decide that they’d like to switch to a different travel app.

"Monetizing them, meanwhile, is also a challenge. No doubt TripAdvisor was wise to tap the youth demo through acquisition, but justifying that price seems impossible."
They've got a point.

We understand travel search site Sidestep recently snapped up the services of a university-based Facebook application developer to work exclusively on these kind of projects for them.

Anyway, congratulations to Where I've Been creator Craig Ulliott for trousering the $3 million.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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Dan G. said...

Nice use of the verb "to trouser", Kevin.

Joe Buhler said...

Another sure sign of Facebook-Mania taking hold. Newsweek has Zuckerberg on the cover - nuff said!bu

jebworks said...

Follow-up: Just read a denial by TripAdvisor here:

So, who's right, I wonder?

Travolution Blogger said...

As our updates show, confusion reigns somewhat. no word from TA in the US or UK yet.

Sean Dodson said...

It doesn't matter is the story's bollocks or not. Sooner all later, if not already, someone will pay that amount for a application on Facebook. I heard an interesting speech by Eric E Schmidt, cheif exec of Google, he says that the future belongs to "lightweight applications" spread through viral networks.

we could and should start thinking of it like this. In the old days television channels used to make all their programmes in house. Now they are made by outside production companies.

With Facebook, the independent production companies are the ones making the widgets or lightweight applications, while the websites themselves behaving more like channels.

Travolution Blogger said...

Sean: thanks for the comments. i believe you are referring to this speech from Eric Schmidt.

See it here

Travolution Blogger said...

Sean: "It doesn't matter is the story's bollocks or not"... shurely shome mishtake for a leading national newspaper to be making such comments??! :-)

Sean Dodson said...

hahaha. very funny and i hadn't realised that i was actually a leading national newspaper, how silly of me. To clarify: It doesn't matter if Tripadvisor has bought the application or not (and you published the story not me), the point is it will happen. Just take the other story from the Ottawa Business Journal. It says that over 700 people an hour are adding its Facebook application to its page every hour. At some point it becomes more useful to focus your development on that, rather than building your own network.