A little discussion...
Errr... Why are Oz Experience being allowed what amounts to free advertising on the Travelblog pages???
This is wrong. Has Travelblog sold out?
Stop it now. Delete this thread.
Well - we haven't sold out - I don't think it's free advertising either.
The thread came from the fall out of Oz Experience Bus - DON'T DO IT!!
which hasn't shown Oz Exp in flattering light - and is currently sitting at number 3 in google searches for "oz experience"...
We'll leave this thread - it would be better if you sent criticisms like this to either mods or the admins in future though.
Just wanted also add - we remove spam asap - this is different;
Oz Experience are well known to travellers - I think that if we have the opportunity to have them answer and ask questions in a public but neutral environment like the travelblog forums then we should take advantage of this.
I don't think this needed to be reported to mods or admin as it is me doing exactly what the "Oz Experience Bus - DON'T DO IT!!" thread did: expressing my opinion.
It is a shame that a negative forum about a company is having an impact on them - but that is the nature of the internet. Look up McDonalds, BT or even hostel reviews: any company can get negative press. It comes with the territory. Travelblog is not righting a wrong or balancing an argument by allowing Oz Experience to have their own Q&A session on this site.
Clearly there is interest in what Oz Experience has to offer but if people have questions about Oz Experience they can go to the Oz Experience website which is well equipped to deal with enquiries.
Since I've been a member of this site I have been impressed by the manner in which Travelblog has maintained its neutrality. You have deleted threads and entries, particularly from Asian tour guides and companies and allowed discussion to be based on the experiences of your users rather than the companies and corporates they have chosen to conduct business with.
The current "Oz Experience Bus - DON'T DO IT" thread is perfectly valid and probably gets more hits than Oz Experiences own website (there's no such thing as bad press) - however, it should be up to travellers with experience of Oz Experience Bus to respond to it and offer their own thoughts as has been the case until recently (there are plenty of thread entries there that support Oz Experience and reject the view of the thread author).
What I think is far more damaging for Oz Experience Bus than the creation of the "Oz Experience Bus - DON'T DO IT" thread is the response of users such as gregc
who claims to be involved with Oz Experience and offers by way of argument what seems to be little more than a torrent of abuse towards the initial author.
I don't mean to be a moaning old git but if Travelblog is to remain the public but neutral environment that we have all grown to love then I think you need to be wary of allowing travel operators and companies to have their own threads unless it is under a dedicated "Advertisers" or "Travel Companies" forum.
The expression sold out would suggest that Oz Experience Bus somehow cajoled TravelBlog into allowing them so much air time.
They did no such thing. There were no free gifts or bribes given or anything else to win favour .
They merely have an established reputation in the backpacker world and TravelBlog is a site that is frequented by many backpackers.
It is true that spam is not to be encouraged as there is so much of it, that it creates a nuisance on internet fora. Therefore we remove most of it.
Yes, gregc made comments which are against the forum rules of TravelBlog so we sniped them out. It is up to Oz Bus Experience to deal with anything he said which is against their own rules.
But maybe you have a point Bob. Maybe the Oz Bus Experience thread belongs in the Other Travel Sites Forum. That forum has been set up especially for those who want to share other travel related sites with the members of TravelBlog.
You are right. The expression "sold out" was reactionary and over the top - I apologise for using it.
What I was trying to convey was my concern that by allowing companies (regardless of their reputation in the backpacker world) to conduct their own Q&A session, a precedent is set that other companies may seek to follow, compromising the neutrality and credibility of the excellent Travelblog forums which are built on the experiences, advice and discussion offered by a community of independent, unaffiliated travellers.
No Problem Bob. 😊
Take a look in the Other Sites Forum.
You will see that there are all kinds of companies and individuals sharing links.
Some have their own web sites, some want to give the website for the tourist board in their country....
There is however a fine line between what is deemed worthy of being in that forum and what is Spam.