"I wasn’t impressed. See, a customer who actually flew the airline – and had a bad experience – made more of an impression on me than a series of (undoubtedly highly expensive) paid ads. (I would add that I’ve flown on Delta occasionally without problems, but that’s beside the point.)"
There’s nothing new here, but it did cause me to think of a recent restaurant experience. We went to dinner at Mantra in Palo Alto on Saturday night and proudly displayed was a poster highlighting Mantra being a Chronicle "top 100 Bay Area restaurant".
As we were sitting there having a cocktail I was quietly thinking to myself "so what? I really don’t care what the Chronicle says about a restaurant, I’m more interested in what Yelp or Citysearch has to say in the ‘people like me’ reviews". Why OpenTable doesn’t have user reviews is about as big a missed opportunity as I can imagine.
The real backstory here is not about restaurant reviews but rather how newspaper publishers no longer have a lock on telling us what is good and what is not. Witness the demise of movie critics, once the staple of movie trailer advertising, or perhaps the once mighty NYTimes bestseller list. If I am curious about a book I am more likely to go the the Amazon bestsellers list because there I can get reviews from people who have read (or claimed to have read?) a particular book.
How does advertising embrace user generated content? One technique seems pretty obvious, banner ads and search engines should have a flyover that highlights blog posts that are, ideally, favorable to the thing being advertised.