Watchdog to investigate TripAdvisor reviews

Travel advice website TripAdvisor is being investigated by the advertising watchdog over allegations that not all its reviews are genuine.







A formal complaint was lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over TripAdvisor's claim that it publishes "reviews you can trust".



The allegation is that some of the reviews may not be "real or genuine", an ASA spokesman said.



The complaint was lodged by KwikChex, a brand reputation management company.



TripAdvisor says its website attracts 45 million unique visitors every month and contains more than 50 million reviews.



Many of the reviews are posted by site users and help advise customers about hotels and restaurants.











Chris Emmins, of KwikChex, estimated that between five and 10 million user reviews on TripAdvisor could be fake.

"What we really wanted is to see an impartial authority examine TripAdvisor's claims of trustworthiness.



"We don't want them to reveal company secrets, we just want to know how they verify their reviews.



"Instead of saying 'these are reviews you can trust', they need to put a disclaimer up saying they cannot say whether the reviews are verified or not."



Adam Raphael, editor of the Good Hotel Guide, said the investigation is "long overdue".



"TripAdvisor is wide open to collusive and malicious reviews," he said.



Mr Raphael said he and others had set up bogus accounts to test the website's verification systems.



"We used very over-the-top language and obviously we hadn't been to the hotel but the reviews were published.



"One person I know wrote 127 fake reviews just to prove that the systems don't work," he said.



Customers often threaten hotels with bad reviews on the website to get preferential treatment, according to Mr Raphael.



"It's such an influential site, bad reviews can be extremely damaging," he said.



Angus Struthers, senior director of global communications at TripAdvisor, said: "TripAdvisor does not comment on current or potential regulatory investigations or litigation.



"We take the authenticity of our reviews very seriously and have numerous methods to ensure the legitimacy of the content on TripAdvisor, including automated site tools, a team of review integrity experts, and our large and passionate community of millions of travellers that help us identify suspicious content.



"We devote thousands of hours each year to battling fraud and improving our fraud detection efforts to ensure the integrity of our content."



A recent study commissioned by the website found that 98% of respondents have found TripAdvisor hotel reviews to be accurate of the actual experience, with 69% stating the reviews were "highly or extremely accurate".



The PhoCusWright study surveyed 3,641 respondents.

PA

News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
News
The show will be billed as Clarkson, Hammond and May Live
people
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

    £18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

    Guru Careers: Marketing and Communications Manager

    £Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence