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Published on Friday, March 2, 2012

TripAdvisor under fire for new ratings system

TripAdvisor is coming under fire again, this time for a new ratings system.

The new scoring system has been criticised by reputation management company KwikChex, which argues that it will produce even more mistrust and distortion.

It claims in the last 24 hours it has been inundated with concerns about the new ratings systems.

"They are coming from many who have always supported TripAdvisor, including consumers," said chief executive Chris Emmins.

"Many are saying that the new content has also been generated from 'pop-unders', which were so annoying they just put anything in them in the hope they would go away.

"It seems astonishing that at a time when there is rising concern about deception and malice on the web and a growing desire for greater reliability and an end to anonymous bullying, that TripAdvisor should apparently introduce the least diligent system yet and produce greater levels of mistrust and distortion.

"This seems to be an extension of the quantity rather than quality model - adding to already existing factors such as the number of ridiculously out of date reviews on the TripAdvisor site - we estimate around 30 million are of no use for that reason alone, making the statistics quoted so often by them more puffery than real substance."

Emmins pointed to complaints about the new system on TripAdvisor’s own forums. Click here and here to see.

He said in the next two weeks KwikChex will introduce a suggested voluntary code of practice for feedback resources that is intended to give consumers a better perspective of the degree of trustworthiness on each site or resource.

"We will also be publishing further specific reports that will contain information on reliability factors and specific evidence of how easily and substantially feedback resources and review sites are abused."

In its defence, TripAdvisor said the recently highlighted ratings "provide yet another source of insight from which travellers can make an educated decision when planning their trips".
It said the scoring out of five system allows travellers to rate hospitality businesses to compliment standard reviews, giving users another source of insight when planning their trips.

"Ratings come from either Facebook or TripAdvisor members, all of whom we have profile information on," said a spokesman.

"All content on TripAdvisor is systematically screened by our frequently upgraded proprietary site tools. These tools scan reviews for biased material, monitoring a wide range of attributes associated with electronic correspondence. Suspicious activity is then flagged for further inspection by our team of dedicated agents who use a variety of additional confidential investigative methods designed to identify potential fraud.
"The highlighting of ratings is a recent addition to the site and the feature is in development. As with all other content on the site, users will shortly be able to report them as inappropriate. As always though, TripAdvisor users are able to make educated decisions when choosing a hospitality business based on the wealth of content available on the site, which now includes ratings.
"We take the authenticity of all content of the site extremely seriously as the integrity of the content on TripAdvisor is fundamental to our success."

by Bev Fearis

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  • Fake, fake, fake!!!!

    I've read all the tripadvisor reviews about a hotel where we recently stayed.They were all excellent, so we went there.Then I also wrote a review, because I didn't agree at all.They posted it, after that I received a personal e-mail from the hotel manager, very rude and insulting.And in two days, my review was removed from Trip Advisor, AFTER they initially posted it. It wasn't even "bad", I rated them "average". Now they're again "excellent" on Trip Advisor, and I disabled my tripadvisor account and I will never check with them again, I'm very, very disappointed.

    By Raluca Gliga, Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • The final straw for many

    As a Destination Expert for London since around 2006 witj over 26,500 forum posts, I have defended TA for many many years against the ambulance chasing likes of Mr Emmins. I have always maintained that anyone with any sense could tell when a review was false or if the rankings were being manipulated and it was very much a case of buyer beware. However this new crackpot idea of incorporating ratings into the overall rankings will be the death of Tripadvisor as we know it. Many of my friends, who are all experienced in the ways of TA, were so upset by these pop-unders that they gave one star (or indeed five stars) to every single thing the were invited to rate just to get rid of the blasted things. Some have removed their ratings but many are still not aware of the accidental harm they have done. If TA do not drop this hamfisted and thoughtless idea then the site will become little more than a Facebook for travel and this wonderful industry of which I am proud to be just a small part of will have lost a vital tool in encouraging people to travel not just be a tourist.

    By Adam Cummings, Friday, March 2, 2012

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