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Michil Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Tripadvisor. Let’s welcome our guests and let them judge for themselves

It is the summer of 1998 and we are in Stanford, California. Brin and Page are two students, few pennies between them but joined by a great passion: to make available to one and all the entire knowledge in the world.
As students of informatics and dedicated followers of the web they know that once they are able to make ‘usable’ the vast quantity of information available on the web, that then they will ‘break through’. The early times prove difficult but they do not give up. Their project necessitates a new computer a day, but the machines they have are always too few and not powerful enough and there is never enough money available. The two friends however are not going to give up and the turning point arrives when Eric Schmidt joins the company. As a good administrator he is able to crystalise the ideas of the other two. And now moving forward to today we know that those two guys, blessed with a libertarian approach are amongst the richest folk on the whole planet.

I am not a big informatics fan but when I read the story of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, I must confess to being impressed and influenced. As the most widespread search engine in the world Google has lost something of its poetic aura but that is the way of the world. ‘Volens nolens’ is the phrase in Latin and it is with this logic that we must face up to present day developments. The new technological instruments are studied to make us feel less lonely – at least that is what they would have us believe. Publicity campaigns are ever more personalised, with smartphones it is possible to effect financial transactions from a mountain peak. Soon artificial inteligence will be available to all.
For many of us Tripadvisor is still unexplored territory. He who does not know it well and refuses to accept it does not understand that it is not by blocking the operation of this ‘review site’ of hotels and restaurants that one can escape from the opinion of clients. If this site were to close down then the the day after ten or even a hundred similar would emerge.
The system is more and more present and reviews are given on all tings – ranging from suppliers of raw materials to car concessionary traders. We restauranteurs should not fear negative opinions (defending oneself against false reviews is a different matter!). We need to realise that the phenomenon is part of the game and that the game is a serious one indeed. The client will understand by him or herself if it is worthwhile to stay or not in a certain hotel or to dine in a certain restaurant. There is of course the problem of anonyminity in the giving of reviews but I am sure that a solution to that will soon be found for that also. To us remains the task of updating ourselves, to be competitive, to operate in an honest manner, to propose ourselves to clients in all sincerity. In essence we must take part in the game and let our guests judge for themselves. So as Brin and Page would no doubt shout from the rooftops ‘Long live reviews’, ‘Long live freedom’!
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