Having had one of our colleagues here on MoneyHighStreet recently write about needing to take care over TripAdvisor reviews, I have just read with interest an article which states that the site is changing the slogan ‘reviews you can trust’ with the phrase ‘reviews from our community’. A good move.
According to an article in the MailOnline, the website is being investigated by the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) following allegations that some reviews posted on the site are not genuine, that they are totally fake.
The question therefore is how trustworthy are these reviews?
Whilst the site says it takes the authenticity of customer reviews very seriously, as KwikChex has raised with the ASA, are they effective in ensuring that this is the case? KwikChex have raised evidence of abuse, flaws and distortion of reviews carried on the site and as a result the ASA are carrying out a formal investigation.
As our own team members experience showed, even if reviews are not questionable in their truthfulness, there are certainly manipulated reviews on the site. Whether it be hotels or holiday cottages, with a site that purportedly gives trusted reviews to the 45 million or so users that use it, of course there are going to be some who see an opportunity to get better reviews posted from ‘happy’ guests. After all it’s a good way of cheap marketing which will hopefully generate a number of referrals.
I suppose I don’t see any harm in this kind of manipulation. After all, as a nation we are all too quick to complain and no doubt use such sites to do so. We are not so quick to give praise and therefore a ‘gentle’ reminder by the holiday establishment asking us to do so when we are happy is perhaps just the ‘jog’ we need to do so.
What must be outlawed though are any aboslutely fake entries, either negative or positive. Unless this can be done, albeit I’m not too sure how it can be, it will render sites such as TripAdvisor pointless, won’t it?