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Published on Monday, March 5, 2012

TripAdvisor bows to pressure over new ratings system

TripAdvisor has decided to remove its new ratings system following criticism from hospitality businesses.

The review website introduced a new scoring system out of five last week but the initiative immediately came under fire.

Reputation management company KwikChex said it had been inundated with concerns about the new ratings systems, even from people who had always supported TripAdvisor.

"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," said KwikChex chief executive.

Initially TripAdvisor defended the new system, but later on Friday it contacted TravelMole to confirm that it has decided to withdraw the system until it has done further work.

"We’re always trying to make TripAdvisor even better for both travellers and businesses, and as an innovative tech company we constantly test new features to make the site even more useful," said Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson.

"We are always open to the results of these tests and have listened to the valuable feedback we have had over the past few days. From this feedback, we recognise we have some work to do to ensure that ratings are as useful as they can be and so we have decided to remove displaying ratings from a business’s listing page today.

"We believe that the TripAdvisor community is seeking many ways to provide feedback, whether via ratings, photos, room tips or other opinions, and we will continue to look at ways to gather these opinions to help travellers plan and have the perfect trip. Importantly, businesses should note that during the test phase, we did not include ratings in the Popularity Index, so their ranking on the site has been unaffected during this test."

KwikChex thanked TripAdvisor for its swift action in removing the ratings system.

"We believe that the public are now demanding real proof of reliability when it comes to reviews and ratings of business standards," said Emmins.

"We hope that TripAdvisor will be one of those businesses that participates in our new voluntary code of conduct in this regard, which is very much geared to creating a more honest, accurate online perspective and putting real transparency into the invaluable business of consumer feedback."

by Bev Fearis

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