I often look at TripAdvisor’s reviews, and have posted a reasonable number myself. I also like to think that I understand the art of reading reviews on TripAdvisor (and elsewhere) and sorting out the ones that can be relied on and those that aren’t so reliable. In particular, I distrust “1-time posters”, and I look for recurring themes in the reviews.
It seems that TripAdvisor has procedures to protect against “fake” reviews, but these appear not to be foolproof! Apart from the issues with Meriton, it’s been reported that a non-existent restaurant rose up the rankings to become TripAdvisor’s number 1 restaurant in London!
Supposedly the person behind this is called Oobah Butler, and it appears that he’s written the story behind this here. The story has certainly been reported in the media and here).
It seems that TripAdvisor were asked for comment, and Butler reports that they said, “Generally, the only people who create fake restaurant listings are journalists in misguided attempts to test us. As there is no incentive for anyone in the real world to create a fake restaurant it is not a problem we experience with our regular community – therefore this ‘test’ is not a real world example.”
Indeed! So TripAdvisor consign the fact that they were fooled to the “fake news” basket?
Disclaimer: I haven’t independently verified any of what Oobah Butler says, but apparently this is an archived link to the TripAdvisor review as at existed at some stage, which seems to suggest that there’s at least some basis to his article.