A big thanks to Jennifer Cobb for the link to this New York Times article entitled “Swatting Down Startups That Help Consumers.” The gist is that there are a raft of startups that act on the behalf of customers in interacting with big brands (These kinds of services can be thought of as “fourth party” services.) Some examples:
- Customer-benefitting booking engines for car rentals
- Airline milage program points aggregators (think Mint.com, but for points)
- Airline seat watchers that automatically rebook you to a better seat when one opens up
A number of brands (American, Soutthwest, Hertz, etc.) have acted in ways to restrict the ability for customers to use these services to attempt to improve their travel experience.
The linked article above is worth a read.