Report uncovers market for fake TripAdvisor reviews

Report uncovers market for fake TripAdvisor reviews

A trade in fake TripAdvisor reviews undermines the review site's claims to be a reliable source of consumer-generated write-ups, The Sunday Times claimed this weekend.

Although TripAdvisor claims to have stringent procedures in place to weed out any suspect reviews, the paper claims properties are advertising for freelance writers to post fake reviews.

It claimed reviews are being bought from as little as £3 each and writers are urged to change email and IP address to hide their activities.

The Sunday Times says it found an advertisement on freelancer.com from a Vietnamese hotel offering $250 for information on how to write fake reviews that can go undetected by TripAdvisor.

Another advert seeks people who can write good English to post reviews about properties on holidaylettings.co.uk and airbnb.com.

The trade in fake reviews will add to suspicions about the veracity of TripAdvisor reviews and its vetting process, which it defends as rigorous.

And it increases concerns about how the reputation of hotels can be attacked by rivals using underhand techniques.

The Sunday Times quoted Chris Emmins from online reputation agency KwikChex who claimed the rise of new Rome hotel Deko to number one on TripAdvisor suggested the site can be manipulated. 

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