David Weston of the Bed & Breakfast Association 'fights the corner' for this £2 billion 'cottage industry'

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Ad Regulator Raps TripAdvisor

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld industry complaints against TripAdvisor, and ruled that it cannot claim to offer trustworthy reviews from genuine travellers.
Chris Emmins of KwikChex, which made one of the complaints, said “real people and their livelihoods are unquestionably being hurt very badly”.

Fake reviews have forced restaurants and hoteliers out of business and caused “great distress” to bed and breakfast owners who “ take it very personally”, he said. Mr Emmins said that he was aware of numerous agencies offering glowing reviews for a price.

“Some of them have hundreds of TripAdvisor accounts and they use proxy accounts [to disguise their identity]. TripAdvisor has absolutely no way of detecting them.”

The ASA upheld complaints that TripAdvisor’s claims to offer “trusted advice from real travellers” was misleading and could not be substantiated.

TripAdvisor argued that it had “advanced and highly effective fraud detection systems” and that the effect of “small numbers of fraudulent reviews was effectively negligible”.

As members know, this is something we have long been concerned about, and will again report on in the next issue of Bed & Breakfast News, due out on Monday (6 Feb).