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Is Trip Advisor paying for bad reviews?

Long and controversial discussion on the effect TripAdvisor has on businesses, opinions on both sides.
11 years ago, August 22nd 2008 No: 1 Msg: #46409  
N Posts: 6
Is it possible that Trip Advisor is generating bad reviews by employing people or technical means? When a bad review is posted, it not only has the offended business checking the site, but all the competitors in the area check on it too.

If this is true, then just think of all the thousands or millions of hits that are generated by this practice alone. Doesn't TA use these numbers to convince us of their validity and to also attract advertisers?

TA is ripe for abuse...who is watching them?

The FTC needs to do a full investigation into TA- What they state they are doing, their fair or unfair trade practices and if what they are doing is indeed legal.

Anyone can place a bad review on Trip Advisor. Anyone can file a complaint with the FTC. It is very easy to do, but unlike TA, you need to give a real name and real information.

I highly suggest anyone with concerns about TA place a formal complaint with the FTC so they become accountable for their actions. Reply to this

11 years ago, August 22nd 2008 No: 2 Msg: #46411  
Hello Mark 😊

I doubt they are paying people to give the bad reviews. But it would not surprise me if the competition of a particular service gives the service a bad review.

I stay away from whine sites. I dont trust what is said on them.

Mel Reply to this

11 years ago, August 23rd 2008 No: 3 Msg: #46508  
N Posts: 180
The hospitality industry needs to wake up and step up. Everyone who has a hospitality business needs to file a complaint with the FTC, contact associations, contact as many media outlets as they can, so the public can understand TA's motivation for posting bad, fake reviews. Hopefully, the public as well as their advertisers will stop using them and they will shut down.

I have stop using their site and I completely discount anything written on their site. They claim they use a secret algorithum to find fake reviews....the algorithum is made by them so they can get it to do whatever they want. They have to keep it a secret....otherwise we would all know that it doesn't even exist!

The people working at TA have given themselves all kinds of titles like "contentintegrity" Integrity...do they even know what the word means?

TA needs to be shut down before they do any more damage to the industry and individual businesses.

Everyone needs to get involved. Reply to this

11 years ago, August 24th 2008 No: 4 Msg: #46571  
I have been wanting to voice my opinion about these travel review sites. Thank you for starting this thread.

I absolutely agree that Trip Advisor needs to be stopped. The only time I look at it now is when I want to get a good laugh- so I guess it does serve some purpose. Saturday Night live may want to do a skit about it...lots of material to work with!

I just hope it doesn't take much longer for the public to realize how TA is manipulating them and the advertisers. They are making a mockery of the hospitality industry and making money in the process.

I hope that TA, their emplyees, their CEO, and sites like them, are proven liabel for all the damage they have done. A class action suit needs to be started. Are there any ambitious law firms wanting to make a name for themselves? Reply to this

11 years ago, August 24th 2008 No: 5 Msg: #46578  

Trip Advisor is making a mockery of the review process by allowing biased and unsubstantiated reviews to dominate their site.

How can a review system work if it is anonymous and there are no safeguards to prevent fraud? TA states they have systems in place to prevent fake reviews. They claim they use an algorithum. They have developed the algoriothum which means they can and may be using or abusing it to get the results they want. Of course, this is a secret process which makes it even more suspect.

They state "Get the truth, then go" TRUTH? Most of what is written is subjective nonsense. The reader cannot possibly weed through all the rhetoric written by mostly angry unhappy people trying to make themselves feel powerful by bashing the "powerful business" and its owners.

How can the readers possibly believe anything that is written when the writer will not identify themself?

I have read articles about how we have to balance how many good reviews versus how many bad reviews and how extreme they are. What? Why would I take the time to try to go through each business' reviews and then not be able to believe them? I have to figure out which is bogus? What service are they performing...other than making money by getting gullible advertisers to think they have huge traffic numbers?

In reality, these traffic numbers are generated by many thousands of businesses checking their reviews and the reviews of their competitors, not to mention how many of them are writing the reviews themselves.

I would like to see the hopitality industry take a stand on this and stop sites like TA.

From Stop Trip Adivsor
Reply to this

11 years ago, August 24th 2008 No: 6 Msg: #46581  

11 years ago, August 24th 2008 No: 7 Msg: #46583  

11 years ago, August 24th 2008 No: 8 Msg: #46596  
As a hotel owner, I can tell you that trip advisor will post anything regardless of validity or truth. Their motto is "get the truth then go". What a load of crap. I have never felt so powerless. They have full control of what they post, and when they post it. We have had several scathing reviews, that resulted from people that never even stayed at our hotel. Trip advisor will not validate, nor will they offer any proof. I took your advice Mell, and filed a complaint with the FTC. I urge everyone to do the same. It is very very simple. All you have to do is go to this website: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ Reply to this

11 years ago, August 26th 2008 No: 9 Msg: #46742  
N Posts: 180
Everyone should also contact CNN via "Ireport". You can post your REAL stories about Trip Advisor and what they are doing to corrupt the internet...all in the name of TRUTH. Reply to this

11 years ago, August 26th 2008 No: 10 Msg: #46743  
B Posts: 5,187
To the original question: "Is Trip Advisor paying for bad reviews?" - I doubt it very much.

But - are they accepting reviews from people who haven't actually stayed in the hotel? are hotel owners deliberatly placing bad reviews of their competitors on the site?

More than likely.

Are positive reviews from fake accounts also appearing?

This is a well known marketing tactic on the internet - probably from before the internet - but with the advent of sites like trip advisor it's never been as effective or as easy.

But - do we want to return to the days where a elite handful of hotels make it into a selective guidebook - in return for backhanders to talentless hacks who are treated like royalty in return for a favourable review? Reply to this

11 years ago, August 26th 2008 No: 11 Msg: #46827  
Ten years ago I wouldn't have thought so either, but after what Yahoo got caught doing...I wouldn't put it past any corporation to try to control the playing field. Afterall..controversy always sparks interest.

Actually, real reviewers do still do undercover reviews of businesses and the businesses are in no way paying for the service.

I like the idea of sites requiring some actual info. from the person in order to post a review. If there can be secure sites to buy items online, then why can't the same system work to post reviews? A system could work if the businesses gave guests an actual code to use to prove they stayed there which would be registered by the review site. The code could change on specific dates which would prevent abuse from people trying trying to do multiple reviews. To prevent businesses from doing their own reviews, a secure cc would be involved, so I don't think any business would give a cc card. I have no problem using my name when doing reviews, so the cc card would have to match the name used.

I think the anonymity is at the base of the abuse we are seeing. It is much esier for sites like TA to claim they are doing their job...but what is the incentive? Are they being penalized in any way for allowing the public bashing?

I think a time will come when sites like TA are seen for just what they are...useless! Reply to this

11 years ago, September 2nd 2008 No: 12 Msg: #47566  
N Posts: 180
I 'am also wondering if the Attorney General of MA should get involved...let's say the person writing the fake review is using a dial up...isn't that considered wire fraud?

I think we should all contact the Attorney General of MA and see! We should make as much noise as possible. Reply to this

11 years ago, September 5th 2008 No: 13 Msg: #48024  
I like to use trivago.co.uk as I feel that as it is a smaller site the reviews have more value. They also have a service where hotels can actually sign up themselves and talk to the people that are reviewing them. I've heard a lot about tripadvisor just hiring students to write reviews and make the site look good and I always feel that there is a lot of inconsistency throughout the site. Reply to this

11 years ago, October 1st 2008 No: 14 Msg: #50506  
When I am investigating a destination and lodging/dining options, I try to find a forum or message board closest to the source. Although, in some cases, it can be hard to weed through the sycophants, generally I find that a general discussion on a regional forum will give you the best and most honest information, often from people who can make informed comparisons and suggest alternative and more suitable arrangements. Trip Advisor is a waste land of biased and often ficticious reports. Reply to this

11 years ago, November 14th 2008 No: 15 Msg: #54588  
I'd like to add my 2 pence worth.

1. Anyone can leave a review regardless of whether they stayed at a hotel or not.
2. Anyone can say whatever they want regardless of facts.
3. Tripadvisor will not take down fraudulent reviews.
4. If a hotel owner requests the take down of a fraudulent review, they have to jump through hoops and provide "proof" that the review is fake (how on earth is this possible) and are threatened that there may be legal consequences when pursuing the take down of a fake review.
5. Tripadvisor allows fake reviews from people who blackmail hotels.
6. Tripadvisor will not accept any dissent, and will remove forum posts which challenge the review scam.
7. Tripadvisor will not allow hotel owners the same rights when giving a "management response" as the "reviewer" gets when leaving a fraudulent review. The management response isn't allowed to say that a review is fake.

See this thread for details: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g1-i12104-k2300549-Anti_Fake_Review_Ideas-Help_us_make_TripAdvisor_better.html <--- posts which were considered too honest were removed

I feel sorry for the poor travellers suckered into using that site. They're heading off on holiday with totally the wrong information in many cases. Reply to this

11 years ago, November 22nd 2008 No: 16 Msg: #55268  
I find this post very interesting, and I'm hoping to learn from what TripAdvisor is doing wrong and what is does right.

I own 2 vacation rentals in Barbados... so I can relate to the angry owners that have had bad experiences with vindictive scathing reviews. We've also just started a site very similar to TripAdvisor called (), which is a review site for Barbados accommodation.

We've had mixed reviews from accommodation owners in Barbados... some are scared to bits about getting a bad review, and others are not too bothered.

My belief is while it can be scary getting a bad review or fake review, it is a necessary risk in doing business today. I never buy an appliance or electronic gadget without looking for reviews, and most travellers today are the same way. I do agree with the post above that the property owner should be given the same right as the reviewer, to openly and publicly dispute the review, give their side of the story if it was from a real guest.

If a review is disputed, I think the reviewer should have to produce some proof that they stayed at the property, e.g. mail in a real receipt, and reviews should not be anonymous.

I honestly think it is pointless to talk about shutting down a site like TripAdvisor. The way the web is today, people are more interested in what other people think than they are in what pretty brochures, travel agents or certainly the property owners' own websites say.

Blogging, social networking and social media is the direction the web is moving in... and there is no stopping it. Perhaps what needs to be discussed is what can be done to improve the integrity and weed out the fake reviews.

One of the points raised in one of the related threads about hotel ratings based on the reviews was interesting. That is something we were thinking of doing on Great Barbados, but I think we may reconsider that, as it's not really fair to rate properties unless you have a truly unbiased system set up... which is something that would be really difficult to achieve.

Would love to hear what others think about making a travel review site fair to all involved... both the property owner and the reviewer.

Reply to this

11 years ago, November 25th 2008 No: 17 Msg: #55609  
N Posts: 180
I know PAII has had some communication with TA, but I don't foresee any significant changes since TA is making money...so what is the incentive to change? Most money generating businesses will only change practices or policy when they are forced to legally. I don't think they are motivated to change anything because businesses are being destroyed....they don't care. As long as their bottom line is being met, they won't change.

Any businesses that challenge them get a punative notation added to their listing on TA. Business owners cannot possibly be treated fairly the way the system is. Just the fact that TA censors owners replies proves the system is unfair.

My business was bashed by a nonexistent guest, who, incidentally, gave a rave review on the same day to one of my competitors. When we challenged them after about 30 emails, they took the rave review off of the other inn but left the very negative review about us. This rating of a "1", on the very subjective system TA has devised, had a very damaging effect. Interestingly, another negative review suddenly appeared. When we continued to challenge TA, they placed a notation on their site stating that we had interfered with their rating system and that this should be taken into consideration when contemplating a stay at our inn. The most outrageous part is that they took off 5 very positive reviews...one of which was a reviewer from a bed and breakfast website. The reviewer contacted them and did get that review reinstated. So.......my point being....they accused of trying to manipulate their system but were proven WRONG...but did they put back all the other positive reviews or take off the notation? NO!!!! You see...that would have proven that their system does not work!

If a business has no recourse how can the system possibly work? The key to all reviews is requiring proof that the reviewer was actually a guest.

Part of the problem is that all the small businesses don't have the resources to counteract TA and all the big businesses just see TA as a marketing tool. So who is TA helping? I now believe TA is for those people who are cowards that don't have the guts to contact businesses directly to voice a complaint.

Until TA can initiate a fool-proof system, they are not performing a service, but a disservice to all those places that will not be visited by prospective guests. Reply to this

11 years ago, November 25th 2008 No: 18 Msg: #55610  
wow, that is a terrible experience. It's unfortunate that when these businesses get so big, they stop caring about the impact they have on small businesses. Is it possible to have your property listing removed from Trip Advisor altogether? I am guessing not, right? Reply to this

11 years ago, November 26th 2008 No: 19 Msg: #55721  
We had the same experience as schotzi. We "dared" question the validity of one of the reviews posted about our hotel, and TA removed several good reviews, along with the bad one. When we challenged them, they refused to reinstate the good reviews. Finally, we threatend them with a law suit and they reinstated the good reviews. Reply to this

11 years ago, November 26th 2008 No: 20 Msg: #55722  
Did you know that over 70%!o(MISSING)f the people logging on to this site are owners/managers/marketing staff to check the status of their property. Take them away and Tripadvisor no longer gets the hits to make it the number one, so Tripadvisor imprisons owners once they are registered by a guest on the site? Many owners are there because members of Tripadvisor put them there not at their own request!! Should that be an acceptable method of joining?

Did you know that because of this amount of people logging on to the site, it is creating traffic through the site and thereby making it the No 1 site by moving it up the search engines etc?

Did you know that everytime you check on a link like hotels.com etc that you are making money for Tripadvisor because all the links on Tripadvisor are pay per click??

Did you know that TA is in the only site World Wide that refuses to allow property owners/managers/marketing representatives delete their property from the site? They delete the members who speak out, but never the owners they just BLACKLIST them and they never get another positive review, but now we have other sites to review Tripadvisors on - google Tripadvisor and find out all about them.

The figures are false because many property owners/managers and marketing representatives do not need this type of cheap marketing to advertise establishments that have taken years to build up, have a good standard and a large percentage of repeat business?? Many of negative reviews are rants, over exaggerated with management response edited before posting if they post them at all!!

The figures are false because if Tripadvisor deleted when requested the hotels, restaurants and guesthouses that made that request, the owners would not be logging on to check their properties and then Tripadvisor would soon become as far down as number 5 or 6.

Did you know that it is Tripadvisor that is holding the owners/managers and marketing executives to ransom by refusing them their right to delete their property from their site?

Do you know that many owners/property managers& marketing representatives actually tell people not to post on Tripadvisors for them because the site is open to abuse from Whingers, Cranks, Fake Reviews & False reporting? It is now more socially accepted within hospitality circles not to have any reviews on Tripadvisor than even 100s of positives . It is not the place to have your property listed. Full Stop!!

Do you know how many of the reviews (even positive ones ) have been disputed, but Tripadvisor ignore those disputes? Reviews on properties closed or that have changed ownership still remain on the site. It is the most antiqued Travel Site on the web with review remaing for years on end.

How many properties are listed on Tripadvisors that are no longer in business, with some not trading for up to 2 years?

Tripadvisor is holding management & property owners - many owners now reporting that guests are threatening tripadvisor on them if they charge cancellation fees, refuse to upgrade or allow late check out - Is this a fair system of review???

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