Chris Emmins, reporting for KwikChex, says that the legal action TripAdvisor is now taking against hotels that solicit and post false reviews, is “tearing TripAdvisor apart.”
KwikChex the dogged, Wikipedia-like global reputation protection company based in the UK, just reported that TripAdvisor has proceeded against hotels that have egregiously faked positive reviews on their sites.
The biggest offender apparently is the Riverside Hotel in Evesham, UK.
Evesham is the “bread basket” of England and is part of the famed Cotswolds region.
KwikChex reports that TripAdvisor has been formally asked by authorities to “disclose the information that TripAdvisor relies on to substantiate the allegations they have made” as part of the pre-action protocol for defamation claims.
It’s unlikely they will, setting the stage for more legal wrangling and possible damage to the giant review site’s reputation.
Apparently the owners of Riverside are subject to criminal charges if it can be proven that they willfully encouraged false positive reviews in exchange for free stays or other kinds of rewards.
Riverside’s owners vehemently deny the charges and claim to have suffered serious financial damage as a result of the TripAdvisor’s charges.
The TripAdvisor page on the Riverside Hotel, carries a bold, red warning saying that TripAdvisor “has reasonable cause to believe that individuals or entities associated with or having an interest in this property may have interfered with traveler reviews and/or other popularity index for this property.”
TripAdvisor has its sights set on other offending properties.
But, as KwikChex’s Emmins says, because TripAdvisor’s “sophisticated filters” are not filtering out fake reviews, fake reviews continue to proliferate, so (the site) is launching aggressive attacks on business owners who publish such reviews.
But it’s unlikely TripAdvisor will reveal the evidence that they have to back up their accusations.
And that refusal will result in more legal challenges to TripAdvisor, even as the “fake” reviews continue to circulate.
Seems like a “lose-lose” situation.