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