Expedia's (NASDAQ:EXPE) TripAdvisor is going to have to find a new friend to confide in when it's time to buy a new HDTV set. DigitalAdvisor -- a site it launched three years ago to work community-driven magic on consumer electronics the way that TripAdvisor has excelled in travel -- wants to be free.

A bizjournals.com report detailed the tactical shift earlier this month. DigitalAdvisor participated in a round of venture capital financing last month, in anticipation of its break from TripAdvisor.

If you're not familiar with TripAdvisor, you don't know what you're missing. As critical as I can be of Expedia's slowing portal business, I'm a huge fan of the TripAdvisor site that uses member reviews, ratings, and forums to unearth great places to stay and things to do while on vacation. TripAdvisor attracts 20 million monthly visitors, amassing destination guides as well as 10 million user reviews, opinions of area hotels, and travel tips.

I don't hold out too much hope that DigitalAdvisor will equal TripAdvisor's success. Why? Well, because consumer electronics is already a crowded market. From CNET (NASDAQ:CNET) to Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) Engadget to Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) Tech, there are plenty of unbiased reviews out there already. They are usually accompanied by telltale snapshots and rich video, already setting themselves apart form the plethora of Web 2.0 community-driven sites. DigitalAdvisor runs a collection of niche sites, covering everything from satellite television to camcorders, but this isn't virgin soil.

There is also the problem of data manipulation. The ability for consumer-electronics manufacturers to game the system -- by praising their own wares while talking down the competition -- is too easy on a small site. A recent edition of The Wall Street Journal discussed how that can be a problem on an influential site like TripAdvisor. Just imagine how much easier it would be to game a smaller site for big-ticket purchases, where it won't take as many opinions to skew results.

Don't get me wrong, though; I love community empowerment. I also believe that the TripAdvisor model is one that can be cloned in other areas. It's just that the competition is too established and innovative to be easily disrupted in consumer electronics.

Let's see whether DigitalAdvisor as a standalone entity can prove me wrong.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz really does use TripAdvisor before every time he travels to somewhere new. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.