TripAdvisor PR Firm Faked Travel Blogs

TripAdvisor PR Firm Faked Travel Blogs

TripAdvisor has appointed Edelman PR in the UK to defend it against increasing criticism and legal challenges over the credibility of its reviews.

Edelman has been briefed to monitor the hospitality and political landscapes, passing on the message that the site is a ‘trusted source’ and communicating the benefits of TripAdvisor to the UK tourism industry.

How strange that in order to defend its waning credibility TripAdvisor should choose the PR agency that set up fake blogs in the USA to promote another client.

Wal-Marting Across America

A few years ago the Wal-Marting Across America blog documented the supposed adventures of Jim and Laura, a couple traveling the country in a recreational vehicle and camping in Wal-Mart parking lots.

Along the way they chatted with happy Wal-Mart employees, like the guy whose company health insurance saved his son’s life, or the woman who worked her way up from cashier to corporate manager.  Everywhere they parked up they met happy Wal-Mart employees – a surprise as Wal-Mart was notorious for being stingy with wages and benefits.   The blog turned out to be a fake, its pro-Wal-Mart message an invention of the Edelman PR firm.

http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/oct2006/db20061009_579137.htm?campaign_id=rss_topStories

Shortly after,  three contributors to two other blogs were also identified as Edelman employees working for Wal-Mart.

http://www.marketingvox.com/more_fake_walmart_blogs_edelman_fesses_up-022878/

The story of Edelman and Wal-Mart became instant folklore in the world of PR and marketing.  Clearly someone at Tripadvisor has a great sense of humour to employ the same company for this particular PR task!

Beware blogs and people posting stuff in praise of TripAdvisor, folks!

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6 responses to “TripAdvisor PR Firm Faked Travel Blogs

  1. Pingback: Carlton Hotels & Fake TripAdvisor Review Allegations

  2. you should pick up the “Destination Expert” problems again. My own question would be exactly what their qualifications as experts are apart from having a lot of time to spend on the internet and an overpowering confidence in their own insight.

    I get a bit fed up of TA asking me for money each week while not controlling the review process for our business and allowing so called experts, often not even in the same country, to produce a never ending stream of nonsense

    • Whilst not wishing to “diss” every “Destination Expert”, a lot of them do appear to fit your description. 🙂

      • some of the experts are providing a great service, I don’t see a good way for anyone reading the stuff to know which ones they are though.

        I’d have preferred my gravatar not to have appeared there just because I entered a valid but hidden email address.

      • The problem is that some of the “experts” get tagged by TA for areas that they know nothing about. As an example there’s a guy who knows lots about a certain coastal area as he lives there, but he’s also nominated as “expert” for inland towns for the region, about which he’ll happily admit he knows very little.

  3. PR firms should adress transparency issues

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