Love it or hate it, TripAdvisor is damn big these days
But here, with remarkable timing given that some financial analysts considered its Q2 2012 results to be slightly short of their expected numbers, are a string of new and eye-watering figures from TripAdvisor.
The top-line number the user review giant always talks about is the number of reviews on the system. In the space of a year the volume of reviews on the system has jumped from 50 million to 75 million.
Yes, that’s 75 million.
The number of members (those with accounts and known to have contributed at least once) now stands at 32 million, a similarly massive leap from the 20 million just 12 months ago.
What other eye-candy data is TripAdvisor sharing today as part of what it calls a “milestone” announcement?
The number of contributions to the site per minute has doubled from 25 to 50 in a year and it now features over 11 million user generated images, up by four million over the same period.
Figures for May 2012 from ComScore say TripAdvisor globally attracts around 56 million visitors every month.
Of course, all this astonishing growth may well help to sooth any worries emerging within the financial community (as well as this), but it will also only further anger those who question TripAdvisor’s model and protocols around collection and managing of reviews.
Many hoteliers (and perhaps even consumers, though their voices are rarely heard) would like to see some kind of verification process put in place so that content is only submitted by users that can prove they stayed at a property or visited an attraction.
There are also issues around the process for getting rid of old reviews from the system.
Yes, hoteliers can ask for reviews to be removed which were written when a property was under former ownership, but the algorithm used to weed out reviews which are just old and probably irrelevant is still a closely guarded secret.
And some might question whether many are thrown down a user review black hole at all given that the number has just soared to 75 million in the space of a year.
Nevertheless, TripAdvisor is a different beast these days and now has investors to think of since its IPO in December last year.
Its latest results, covering for the second quarter of 2012, might have been met with slight disappointment by analysts (or the analysts are just over-egging their expectations), but the company is still making a lot of money.
Revenue for that quarter was up 7% to $197.1 million from the previous period and up 16% y/y from Q2 2011.
Adjusted EBITDA was $96.9 million in Q2 2012, up 15% from Q1 and up 5% y/y.
Anyway, this was the 75 millionth review (perhaps not the most informative piece of content) on the site:
Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.