The shine has come off TripAdvisor's share price recently...
The question we are asking ourselves is 'Is the market beginning to realise that independent review sites may have had their day?'
We are not asking this for any other reason than to be able to take an educated guess about the future influence of these sites on behalf of our clients.
Let's look at Yelp (the biggest general review sites on the planet - market cap $4.2 bn):
And the oldest review site of them all, Angie's list, now quoted, and off a frightening 53% since listing (and an even more from its peak of nearly $20 in February) :
...is that independent sites will struggle against the might of Google. Yelp and TripAdvisor (at $10.4 bn) look massive until we remind ourselves that Google is currently capitalised at $369 billion.
And this 'struggling' may lead them to do some interesting things to placate their shareholders. probably in terms of increasing commissions and fees. We will keep an eye out.
We are advising all our clients to take Google reviews seriously. Businesses cannot afford to ignore the power of Google reviews: to drive business or deflect business. A positive presence there is, in our opinion, bound to become more and more influential as the months pass.