Feeds

TripAdvisor: OK, not all our reviews are trustworthy or real

ASA raps largest travel site for ... not telling the truth on the interwebs

Website security in corporate America

Online travel review site TripAdvisor has been forced to admit that not all of the reviews posted on its site are trustworthy or real.

The Advertising Standards Agency has asked TripAdvisor to take down the claims that it offers "trusted advice from real travellers" and features "more than 50 million honest travel reviews and opinions from real travellers around the world".

In the ruling today, the ASA said that TripAdvisor could not be certain that the reviews posted on the site were from genuine travellers or that they accurately reflected those travellers’ experiences. Responding to TripAdvisor's defence that site visitors tended to read dozens of reviews before making any decisions and that they had a "healthy scepticism" about the quality of the reviews, the ASA said they did not believe that consumers would necessarily be able to detect and separate non-genuine reviews from genuine content.

The ASA added that asking reviewers to tick a declaration stating that their review was "genuine" was not enough of an incentive to ensure that the truth was told.

The ruling came following a complaint brought by KwikChex, a "Reputation, Reassurance and Resolution service", and two hotels. The "reputation service" and the hotels questioned the ad body on how TripAdvisor could tell that its reviews were from people who had actually stayed at the hotels they were reviewing.

KwikChex, which seems to have led several campaigns against TripAdvisor suggested that the site should look at more in-depth ways of authenticating its reviewers – such as getting hotel owners to confirm the names of guests before allowing them review their hotel.

TripAdvisor describes itself as the world's largest travel site with over 50 million unique monthly visitors – as judged by comscore – with 60 million posted reviews and opinions.

According to the BBC, the ASA's ruling will only apply to TripAdvisor.co.uk and not the international .com site as the ASA's remit only extends to UK websites.

It is a ruling that could have implications for other sites that run user-generated content and make claims about the veracity of such content. However the ASA will have its work cut out if wants to take on people for talking crap on the internet. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.