Transparency Tyranny

The non-competitive and the downright incompetent have very few stones left to hide under: never before have consumers’ purchase decisions been so strongly influenced by all kinds of transparency. In fact, TRANSPARENCY TYRANNY now rules:

“Old economy fog is clearing: no longer can incompetence, below-par performance, ignored global standards, anti-social & anti-eco behavior, or opaque pricing be obscured. In its place has come a transparent, fully informed marketplace, where producers have no excuse left to underperform. TRANSPARENCY TYRANNY for some, TRANSPARENCY TRIUMPH for others.” >> Full Story

Thoughts// I read the article above a few months back but was reminded of it again by two developments last week; 1) Wal-mart’s decision to allow consumer reviews online and 2) Trip Advisor’s recent launch of it’s traveler network.

This thoughtful article examines the impact of user generated content, customer reviews and ratings and makes some predictions about where it’s going. Some of the conclusions include:

  • “Sheer mass of reviews will lead to daily, and…even hourly reviews on any topic imaginable…mass postings will also unmask, outnumber and thus neutralize fake reviews.”
  • Ubiquitous online access from mobile devices and camera phones means reviews can be documented and posted instantly and on the spot. This also means that reviews will go “multi-media.” (For a classic example, check out the story of this WAMU credit customer who documented poor call center service)
  • “Star reviewers” that evangelize the brand through great reviews and recommendations could demand a “piece of the action.”
  • Web enabled mobile devices capable of capturing bar codes and performing an instant online/offline “price comparison” would make create ultimate price transparency.

Empowering consumers to share and interact with one another has been an important strategy for Travel Oregon; this spring, we sponsored the build of a travel community for Oregon that allows like-minded individuals to share/rate places; check it out at:

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.