Trip Advisor is firing back at a report which accuses of the travel site of not doing enough to block fake reviews.
If you've traveled anywhere, then you've probably used Trip Advisor at some point. Either you booked your flight, or your hotel, or your bus tour, or your car rental, or you just used the site to see which restaurants in the area you're staying are any good. It's a one-stop-shop for anyone to do anything travel related.
Even if you don't use it to book anything, you've probably used Trip Advisor to see what establishments are quality and which businesses to avoid. Trip Advisor's extensive review system allows anyone to post a review to either steer people clear or toward certain landmarks.
The problem is that Trip Advisor is so large that companies and businesses have started trying to game the system by posting fake reviews. It's a problem that began years ago and Trip Advisor is still struggling to get it under control.
A recent report from Which? Travel, a UK-based consumer advocacy group, says that Trip Advisor has improved but fake reviews can still be found all over the site. Which? Travel checked 250,000 different reviews for the top 10 hotels and top 10 tourist destinations around the world and found that one in seven reviews is fake.
Which? Travel took their report to Trip Advisor where the site admitted that 14 out of the 15 worst cases "had been caught with dodgy reviews in the past year." Six of those establishments had been given some sort of disciplinary action, while two had been given "red badges", a severe warning to potential customers to stay away because the hotel/destination has been caught cheating and refuses to cooperate with Trip Advisor's own investigators.
"We analyze hundreds of data points about each review -- most of which only we have access to -- and we combine that data with a wealth of knowledge and understanding of review patterns that our team of experts has gained from tracking hundreds of millions of reviews over a near 20-year period," Trip Advisor said in response to the report.
"This includes an ability to track and analyze first-time reviews in far more detail and with far more rigor than Which's team was able to do."
Even still, Which? Travel recommends checking out reviewers themselves. If you spot a bunch of reviews given by new accounts that have only ever posted a single review score, then those are probably fake.