There has been much comment in the travel industry about fake reviews especially on review sites where there is 'easy' entry. There is now proof that some review sites have more fake reviews than others.
TripAdvisor is in many countries the largest review site. Millions use it to decide on which hotel to stay at. But there has been a concern by some that because you can post fake positive reviews 'easily' ( ie no proof you stayed at the hotel) there is 'gaming' of the system ie owners posting or getting others to post fake positive reviews.
But it has never ever been studied properly until now. Its a Cornell study and the link is below. Its a bit technical but the 2 key findings are
1. the reviews on Expedia for example where you need to book to review are 3 times more reliable as TripAdvisor. ( or the other way around ie TripAdvisor reviews are only one third as reliable as Expedia)
2. that if on TripAdvisor reviewers that review only 1-2 hotels are excluded from the calculations that the reliability of TripAdvisor reviews approaches that of Expedia.
In summary it is the first study that proves what everyone suspects ie easy entry to a review system means more fake positive reviews.
The lesson for travellers then is to look at several review sites when travel planning and ensure you are looking at least at some that are not "easy" to post reviews on.
[Edited: 2012 May 07 05:07 - Ali:1 - formatting]
I would suggest using the review sites for factual information (distance to restaurants, types of pools etc) and ignore the opinions such as people being greeted nicely or the staff ignoring you at breakfast etc.
I always remember one main hotel i used to stay in for work in Melbourne and if you read the ta reviews it is completely mixed of good and bad. Yet it was exactly what I was after and i would rate it 10 out of 10 and i would have stayed there over 20 times. Obviously we all have different needs and wants and what one person thinks is fantastic might the be exact opposite for the next. It is all just a review and an opinion after all
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