TripAdvisor Criticised By Consumer Report For ‘Fake Reviews’

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Can you trust anything these days? Fake views, fake followers, fake Influencers and now consumer group Which? Travel has criticised TripAdvisor over ‘suspicious’ and ‘fake’ reviews which are ruining peoples holidays and dining out experiences.

Those in the restaurant/holiday trade know that this goes on and people are now very wary and savvy about which reviews they trust and which ones they don’t.  The latest investigation by Which? Travel analysed almost 250,000 reviews for the top 10 ranked hotels in 10 popular tourist destinations around the world, finding that one in seven of these 100 hotels had reviews which carried the hallmarks of fake reviews, while others raised serious concerns.

Fifteen of the worst cases had been promoted with fake positive reviews last year, raising concerns that repeat offenders are being allowed to abuse the rating system.

The website Fakespot.com is simple to use and helps identify fake reviews from real reviews. All you have to do is put in the URL from TripAdvisor for a restaurant you wish to check and wait for the detailed analysis which appears in seconds. – Check it out here by simpling clicking this red text!

What The Investigation Found:

Nearly 80 per cent of the five-star reviews for one highly-ranked hotel in Cairo at the time of the study were left by first-time reviewers.

After Which? reported its findings, TripAdvisor amended its listing no longer citing the hotel as the ‘best in Cairo’.

In Las Vegas, two of the 10 highest ranked hotels received almost half (48% and 41%) of their hundreds of five-star ratings from first-time reviewers who had never made any other TripAdvisor contributions before or since – raising suspicions that the reviews could be fake.

Spotting Fake Reviews:
  • Repetition: TripAdvisor’s ‘Travellers Talk about’ section highlights phrases used repeatedly by reviewers. If you see the same phrasing or language repeated, it might indicate that a template is being used for fake reviews.
  • Strange Timing: A flood of five-star reviews after some bad reviews could indicate a concerted “push” of positive reviews has been coordinated.
  • Low scores elsewhere: Check reviews on other sites. The hotels that had the most suspicious reviews tended to have lower scores on other review sites such as Yelp and Expedia.
  • Fakespot.com: Although TripAdvisor strongly disputes its methods, this fake review analyser correctly gave its lowest reliability rating to the hotel that had 730 reviews removed.
This is not the first time:

Septemeber 2018: In one of the first cases of its kind, a court in Lecce in the southern region of Puglia ruled that writing fake reviews under a false identity is a criminal offence.

The unnamed businessman, who ran a website called Promo Salento, tried to sell more than 1,000 fictional reviews to hundreds of restaurants and hotels as a way of boosting their rankings.

He charged €100 for 10 reviews, €170 for 20 and €240 for 30.

As well as the jail term, he was ordered to pay €8,000 in costs and damages, in what TripAdvisor called “a pivotal legal ruling”. Read the full story here via the Telegrapgh.co.uk

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