I have been saying for a while now that TripAdvisor is an advertising network. They are already calling themselves the TripAdvisor Media Network (see the bottom of this press release as an example).
The combined network is carrying some 32 million unique users per month. To put this in perspective I understand that ValueClick Media is the second biggest of the independent advertising networks (here is a list of the top ten from Dec 07). By independent I mean one not owned by a large publisher such as Advertising.com (AOL), BlueLithium (Yahoo!) and aQuantive (Microsoft). ValueClick claim 137mm uniques it their ad network. 32 Million for TripAdvisor is still well short of the ValueClick mark but still more that enough to be a top network. I predict that very soon TripAdvisor will start selling ads for sites they do not own.
I have been keeping a running list of the TripAdvisor acquisitions. Here it is
- Virtual Tourist;
- SeatGuru.com; and
Guillaume over at hotel-blogs has generated a nice graphic to capture them all.
Update - report that Expedia/TripAdvisor paid $85mm for VirtualTourist and OneTime.