Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cruise Critic Prostitutes Itself and Violates The Public's Trust!

Many of my readers know that I have had a very troubled "relationship" with Cruise Critic and the cheerleaders that are oh so favored on its boards. With the excellent work of a totally independent and heretofore unknown to me journalist, Anita Dunham-Potter, editor in chief of Expertcruiser.com, some of the "symptoms" I have been complaining about (see, for example, my July 2008 post Where Did the "Critic" In Cruise Critic Go? and my March post Another Reason for Caution When Relying on a Too Avid Poster , as but a few examples) now have an assigned "illness".

The "illness" is GREED. Cruise Critic has built its reputation on being a place where people can find accurate and useful information about a cruise line, a destination, or any other aspect of cruising. However, it has violated that trust by sanitizing its message boards (and reviews???) so that the "critics" are silenced or banned (Thank You very much - full disclosure!), debate is curtailed, and opposing opinions deleted into thin air. Why? Because those selling the cruises want a "happy place"...but only happy from a MARKETING standpoint. (Heaven forbid you actually wind up on the cruise line and ship that truly fulfills your needs and desires.)

Ms. Dunham-Potter has detailed in her article A Contagious Virus? Marketing Campaign Sinks Cruise Critic details how Cruise Critic has violated posters privacy by giving Royal Caribbean their information (albeit to provide these avid positive posters with a free cruise) and then deleted - as CC does - posts complaining about how these posters were essentially paid to continue posting good things. Folks, Cruise Critic makes its money by the sale of cruises directly and indirectly through advertisements. It is a for profit site that has sold its integrity to the devil...and sold its readers down the river.

I wish there was more I could write (the article really says it all and backs it up with sources), so I am left with the facts that support the illness that so many have suffered the symptoms of.

What is the cure for this cancer: Cut it out. It is, to my mind, so invasive that it is something that may go into remission if there is severe treatment (like boycotting the site), but it is so insidious that I am unfortunately too confident that it will return. And, regardless, how is that Cruise Critic could ever regain its integrity?

What a shame. And shame on Cruise Critic.

(I want to thank one of my Anonymous posters for letting me know about this.)