There is no doubt that the new Tourism New Zealand web strategy of giving over the content generation to anybody and everybody is both awesome and bold. In my opinion from a visitor to New Zealand’s point of view they will be getting more authentic content based on real experiences rather than the typical sanitized content that an Official Tourism Organisation would normally create. I am making the assumption that the cream will rise to the top and that through the “like” functionality users will identify the best and most useful articles and these will by nature become the most read. If this does not happen then of course you run the risk of everyone spamming the website.
I have just done some tests as to whether the site will generate traffic. Lots of people around New Zealand have commented to me that they are scared shitless about the site because they barely have enough resources to manage their own web content, plus the social media, let alone to be generating content for Tourism NZ. But the feeling is if they don’t they will be missing out. Small businesses are concerned that because bigger businesses have the resources so they will be able to dominate the content and thereby generate more traffic. I think this is a fair call. I guess it remains to be seen if the site is a major generator of traffic and if so perhaps there is a possibility to out-source the production of content to someone like Xebidy, after all we are already looking after a number of companies social profiles in Twitter, Facebook, or blogs etc. This may simply be another important medium.
From a search engine optimisation point of view there is nothing really to be gained from having your website linked from NewZealand.com as the links all contain no-follows tags which means Google does not count the link toward your overall Page Rank.
So the big telling point will be whether the site generates traffic to those that generate content – if so then it will be a vital tool for everyone in the travel industry – and more importantly probably we will need to work on ways to game it to ensure that the content we need to be most popular is.
Probably the one thing I don’t like is the ability of someone to edit someone else’s article – the idea is that the site is like a Wiki but not quite. Only the author has the right accept or reject the comment – not the whole community. I edited an article by Sarah Berry from Ministry of Development – adding a link to NZbyBike. It is a justified addition – but whether she lets it stay is another thing. It certainly did not feel right editing some of the other articles which are personal pieces.
I will report back on the success of my tests over the next few weeks in terms of traffic etc., but whatever the outcome you have to applaud Tourism NZ for the whole development and braveness of the experiment if it works it will genuinely be delivering better quality content to potential visitors to New Zealand that is truly reflective of New Zealand – or alternatively it will be a big spamfest!
What’s your opinion – are you going to be generating content on this site? Are you scared of it or can you see some benefits to your business?