let’s backtrack…get an opinion

Came across a blog TripAdvisor Watch: Hotel Reviews in Focus after I published my previous post “get an opinion…”. Since then I’ve encountered another site, Wallet Pop, whose post I read, “Is TripAdvisor.com one big joke?” Both had me rethinking my referral of TripAdvisor as the greatest pastime with a purpose, since the invention of hula hoops…which was suppose to decrease the size of my hips. Tongue-in-cheek humor aside, I never realized, in my naivete, that scammers would derail a system wherein people could share experiences so that others might avoid making the same mistakes, or get the best value for their money. It seems TripAdvisor is rife with competitors, or vengeful customers, faking reviews for their own benefit, whether to garner an increase in traffic, or deter bookings, or a combination of both.

Old postcards and a magnifying glass.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s been a few months since I’ve needed to use TripAdvisor. From here on out I’ll probably be dissecting their reviews with a scalpel and magnifying glass. But truth be told, I’m so anal about details that I already check to make sure all the “i’s” are dotted, and “t’s” are crossed. I recommend you do the same. Be thorough in your research, trust your gut instinct and common sense, confirm with other sources…like Rick Steves, and don’t hesitate to change your mind, and your plans, should something better happen along.

 

Group of American tourists encounter Rick Stev...

Image via Wikipedia

Blest with a vivid imagination, I can picture myself trying to turn around in a typical, small European hotel shower. Or I can see myself annoyed with the comings and goings of people getting on and off the elevator, if my room is adjacent to one. A sucker for hospitality, I like to bask in the warmth of a friendly, accommodating reception staff. 

 

Perusing the reviews, it’s as though I’d traveled with the writer. After painstakingly researching my topic of interest, I feel comfortable with my final decisions. All I can do is make the best educated guess with the facts at hand. Things may not always turn out as expected, but I don’t wallow in regrets, knowing I did as much as I could.

Image representing Yelp as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Evidently Yelp has also come under fire for manipulated reviews. All I can say is…proceed with caution. But don’t let a few bad apples ruin the good intentions of most reviewers. Rotten fruit turn up everywhere in life; that doesn’t stop us from living.

 

TripAdvisor Watch: Hotel Reviews in Focus indicated that Google is beginning to relegate TripAdvisor and Yelp to the bottom of their search engine heap. That’s because the internet giant is launching its own review community. Whether for personal gain or because of the bad press TripAdvisor has garnered, or both, Google has seen fit to attempt to beat TA at its own game. Hopefully, we Lilliputians will be the beneficiaries, and not the pawns in some elaborate game of chess.

Wallet Pop offers some sound advice when utilizing review sites, like TripAdvisor. As I scrolled through WP, I noticed it too offers articles meant to guide consumers through the maze of products and services available for purchase. Of course the question that immediately came to mind was “How reliable is Wallet Pop? Does it have an axe to grind, or a pocket to pad, or line, or whatever the saying is?

…wow!……..who can you trust these days?…trust me…you can trust me  …….hugmamma.            

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youtube…”to go, please”

YouTube Live

Image via Wikipedia

Have been having trouble adding YouTube videos into my posts for some time now. Thought it had to do with the fact that I wasn’t a subscriber, and YouTube was “cracking down.” No matter that I continued to do what I’d done before, following WordPress instructions. Something changed it seemed, and no one told me.

Thinking it might make a difference if I was a subscriber, I spent a couple of days recently trying to become one with YouTube. It was like trying to break into Fort Knox! Because I’d started on Google’s blogger.com, I already had an account. But I couldn’t remember my password. It’s been over a year since I went there. I guess YouTube is Google’s, so since the “big G” didn’t let me in, the “big Y” said “Sorry…no trespassers allowed.”

Determined to work at the obnoxious task before me, I kept jumping through the hoops. I even left my laptop, and went into the basement family room, which I dislike because it’s so dark, to see if using the computer where I’d signed up for Google made a difference. In fact, that was one of their prompts. No go. No amount of jumping through the same hoops down there made a difference. So I returned to my laptop, and jumped through one final hoop…and presto! I got lifetime membership into YouTube via Google. Don’t ask me how I did it. I couldn’t repeat it if I tried. And truth be told, I wouldn’t try it again if YouTube offered me a singing contract.

Thinking I now had the problem of inserting videos into my posts solved, I confidently tried to do just that. You guessed it! I still couldn’t get those little movie boxes to cooperate. They just didn’t want to come over to my blog, no matter how I tried to entice them. They didn’t care how well I wrote, at least to my way of thinking, nor did they care about all the great photographs keeping them company. Those YouTube videos just wouldn’t budge…so help me.

Funny how the old saying comes to mind, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I think, perhaps, that it’s not so much the inability to learn new tricks, it’s probably that one needs to empty one’s mind of how the tricks were done in the past. You know “Out with the old; in with the new.” So intent was I on trying to add YouTube videos the old way, I wasn’t really reading their current directions about the new shortcut. I thought I was, but obviously I wasn’t. My brain assumed that the words in front of my eyes, said what they’d said the last time I read them. 

Bench Press illustration

Image via Wikipedia

Guess who got me to read what was in front of my eyes? My roommate…better known as my hubby. It may be that WordPress has become second nature to me, that I think I know everything about it. I know I’m kidding myself, but I like to live the fantasy. So when I ran into this technical “brick wall,” I asked my husband to tinker with the problem. Mind you, he doesn’t know WordPress from a bench press. But clear thinking has always been his forte.

Michael Jackson, cropped from Image:Michael Ja...

Image via Wikipedia

After taking him to a YouTube video of Michael Jackson’s career altering moment when he moonwalked for the first time in public, at the Motown 25th Anniversary celebration on TV, my husband figured out, after some hemming and hawing, that rather than copying the “share” URL for the video, he copied and pasted the URL at the top of the screen. The reason being, he said, and which I confirmed, was that the “share” URL spelled “youtu.be,” instead of the usual “youtube.” That period between the u and the b made all the difference in the world. Lightbulb moment!!!

My husband thinks the “share” URL might bring too much excess verbage with it that WordPress would prefer not to have clogging up its system. Makes sense to me. But as I explained to my daughter, I can mimic what’s being said. I can follow instructions…to some degree. Obviously not always. But I don’t necessarily understand the why-fors, where-fors, and what-fors. Or else I’m too impatient to get started, to get on with it, to check it off my “to-do” list. Thank goodness I’m not the breadwinner in my house.

The glass of water

Image via Wikipedia

…we might be subsisting on bread and water…not a bad thing since we’re always fighting the battle of the middle-age belly…hugmamma.

halleluja! for small favors

Tried to leave comments on my blog buddies’ blogs. Thank goodness 2 of them worked, jeanne’s blog and The Daily Dabbler. I posted 2 comments on each consecutively, to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, as well as to celebrate the moment. Gotta love those small moments! Not so lucky with Scriptor Obscura and Sage Chronicles. Am letting them know via this post that I’ve left comments which disappeared into “thin air.”

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

Bought a book which might help me understand the machinations of the internet better, especially the manipulations of others to get ahead of the pack. I think the title speaks for itself, Get to the top on Google,” by David Viney. Someone left a comment a while back asking how it was I got to the top of Google’s ranks. I responded that I had no clue. Remember I’m a writer, not an internet guru. I’ve no clue about Akismet, let alone Google. I write. I click. And it’s out of my hands. Except for checking stats on my blog, I rarely venture out to see what’s happening with my site on Google. When I do, I’ve no idea what to make of what I see. I do see a lot of sites using my posts, but I just shake my head not knowing what to make of that.

My brother’s more tech savvy, so he’s been trying to clue me in on what’s what. I guess manipulation is part of life. We all do it, to some degree, to get our way, to get what we want. But when it oversteps, in the hopes of hurting others, then it’s in another league altogether. But I’m not going to go there. Just want to let readers of my blog know in case your comments are hijacked too. My advice? Don’t stress. Celebrate the small things that do go right.

thank you, jeanne, and the daily dabbler…for “taking my calls”…hugmamma.