TripAdvisor Finally Admits “Disappearing Reviews Are Our Fault”
For months – going back to early spring this year – the TripAdvisor Owners Forum has been groaning under the weight of complaints from owners whose perfectly good reviews have been disappearing from their listings. Here’s a small sample:
TripAdvisor Reviews Disappearing
For an equally long time TripAdvisor has either been ignoring these complaints or, when they have bothered to reply, fobbing the owners off with a standard response saying that they can’t discuss reasons for reviews being removed:
Standard "Response" from TripAdvisor
For months on end these same excuses were trotted out, much to the owners’ frustration and anger. Heated discussions abounded on the subject.
The volume of complaints grew to such an extent that a “sticky” was added to the top of the Owners Forum, and whenever someone raised the issue they were referred to it – it has since been removed but here’s the gist:
Q. Why was the “sticky”, effectively telling Owners to “go away and stop bothering us”, removed?
A. Because finally, months on and after the disappearance of countless good reviews, TripAdvisor has come clean and admitted that it has been erroneously removing perfectly good reviews from its site.
Apparently it was “due to a bug”.
Massive Cock-Up Admitted
To give some idea of the scale of the problem, they are still working on trying to replace all the reviews they have wrongly deleted – three weeks after they admitted the problem (August 25th).
As of 13th September, TripAdvisor staff say it will take some time yet for the erroneously deleted reviews to be reinstated. TA also says there is no guarantee that ALL missing reviews will reappear – if some don’t they are covering their backsides by saying it’ll be because ‘they’ve been removed for other reasons’.
If you’re an owner whose perfectly good, genuine reviews fail to reappear you’ll never know whether it’s because the retrieval exercise has failed, or because TA deliberately removed your reviews, as it is TA policy never to discuss the reasons for reviews being removed.
I would be interested to know exactly how many reviews have been wiped out by TA’s “bug” but I doubt if TripAdvisor knows for sure (otherwise it would not be taking so long to try to sort the problem out), and it’s unlikely that they would tell us even if they did. Given the hundreds of owner posts on the subject, and the likelihood that most owners would not notice some reviews disappearing, there are probably thousands affected.
Marvellous. SNAFU, as they said in WW2.