Daily Telegraph: TripAdvisor Reviews – Can We Trust Them?

Telegraph Article on TripAdvisor By Charles Starmer-Smith

Log on to (TripAdvisor’s) website and type the words “racist” or “racism” into the search engine and you might be surprised by what you find: together they crop up more than 2,300 times in reviews. “Pervert/perverted” features in 353 reviews, “homophobic/homophobia” in 295, “rapist” in 33, and “paedophile” in 10. Often these defamatory terms are used to describe hotel or restaurant staff, b&b owners, waiters and receptionists.

“There is a real risk of getting raped here,” wrote one reviewer of a hotel in Munich; “the proprietor “is one of the worst paedophile priests”, said another of a guesthouse in Scotland; “the woman that runs this bar is a racist – fact!”

Can we be sure that these reviews really are the “truth”?

Read the full article and comments here:



2 responses to “Daily Telegraph: TripAdvisor Reviews – Can We Trust Them?

  1. Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that anonymous review + commercial interests = recipe for disaster.

    It’s wider than that. Everything about the way Google works is a recipe for exploitation, defamation and generally ‘gaming’ the system – from the respectable use of Adwords right through to the black arts, fake reviews, malicious libel and mass spamming.

    I’ve been tracking a hotel in Cornwall that’s almost certainly faking its own 5* reviews. There are 180+ genuine-looking ‘terrible’ 1* reviews and 200+ formulaic, gushing 5* reviews.

    The 1* reviews have a far greater % of multiple contributions compared to the register-and-post 5* reviews.

    The 5* reviews follow a cynical formula that Tripadvisor is now well aware of (see this post http://t.co/hubS60w ). Despite this (and the fact that it has removed something like 25 5* reviews for this hotel in the last 6 months – presumably because they DID think them suspicious after our constant ‘reporting’ of the reviews) TA will NOT take serious action against this hotel.

    Of course it won’t. In the ‘user-generated-content’ business model that Tripadvisor operates, deleting content (hotels) is tantamount to cutting its own throat.

    And there you have the fatal flaw in the whole model – and that’s why it CAN only end in tears.

  2. Shocking. Just another reason why TA should be taken to task over what they allow to remain in print!

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