It’s a question I’m often asked by clients – how can we control user submitted content?  Generally, I advise the client not to micro-manage customers and let them share freely.  If they bring up problems, respond and resolve the issue publicly so everyone can see that the brand cares about real people.  If they bring up an issue that isn’t easy to deal with, consider it insight and do something about it.

However, there are occasions to steward a brand, even if it means saying no to a customer.  I recently came across a good example at TripAdvisor: they rejected me!

Well, not really me; rather, my photos.  I was shocked at first.  However, they acknowledged my review of Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and thanked me.  They explained that they don’t accept photos that are “altered in any way that distorts the scene being depicted.”

I got their point.  It is so blatantly rational and makes sense within the TripAdvisor experience – they want people to tell it and show it like it is.  I got over the rejection pretty quickly and decided to be a good community member and submit some realistic documentary shots.  After all, I am a brand believer.

Pics rejected for lack of realism:

Pics accepted because the realistic 'documentary' style fit the brand:

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