Gulliver of the Economist provides insights for the world travelers. In a recent article "Trusting the people" here, he states the following regarding online sites providing reviews of travel services:
"...the small storm stirred up by the news that Royal Caribbean cruises had contacted people who had repeatedly put up positive reviews about them—mainly on the CruiseCritic site (owned by Tripadvisor)—and offered them rewards in return for more positive online coverage."
"As a result Gulliver finds himself increasingly drifting away from such sites in favour of single-source guides, such as Alastair Sawday or Mr and Mrs Smith. It's not that the accumulated wisdom of online reviewers is to be sniffed at; more that the crowd's objectivity is not always guaranteed."
I believe this is the new social media trend that has been prevelant and now going mainstream.
For further reading, please see my blogs, "Debunking "Wisdom of Crowds" Myth - Two Examples" here, "Crowds, Their Self Management - Empirical Data" here and "Mind-Meshes" here.