Imagine waking up one morning and reading an email your employer sent you concerning a TripAdvisor Review that claims you are a pedophile to make things worse the review is online for the whole world to see. It’s only 7 am in the morning, your wife and 3 children are just getting out of bed, because the kids need to be taken to school..
The unvalidated person who wrote this life destroying unvalidated review claimed to be a 14 year old. TripAdvisor had no problems at all approving and posting this review, without for one second thinking of the severe consequences this allegation would have on a whole family. Read how TripAdvisor destroyed this families life here
Now if this was just a “one off” review that slipped past someone, you would imagine that a company like TripAdvisor that likes to claim stuff like “Reviews you Trust” would just apologize to the family, and remove the review. That never happened, the review, even after the family contacted TripAdvisor remained online for well over a year. It finally got taken down because of media interest.
Fake reviews, both good and bad are here to stay, weeding them out is impossible, and trying to weed out negative reviews will mean that a lot of genuine reviews get removed in the process, which of course is not a good thing. Genuine users that take the time to sit down and share their opinions are not going to take it well if their reviews are flagged as fake.
However if you like to believe TripAdvisor, it is virtually impossible to post a fake review, the boast about having not 1 or 2 filters, but more than 25 sophisticated filters!! WOW that is impressive. So the 50 reviews a MINUTE TripAdvisor receives trickles through these 25 sophisticated filters, and removes all the fake reviews. How many reviews are filtered, no one knows, but, the reviews are then looked over by a team of DETECTIVES, what exactly they are looking for that the 25 sophisticated filters didn’t find is unknown. Then the final stage is the review gets policed by a community of over 60 million users.
Here is how TripAdvisor’s Emma Shaw puts it..
Spokesperson for TripAdvisor, Emma Shaw, said that she could not comment “on the specifics of threatened or pending litigation.” However, she went on to say that it is TripAdvisor’s top priority to ensure the content featured on its site is authentic. “We dedicate significant time and resources to that end, including a host of more than 25 sophisticated filters, a team of detectives, and our community of over 60 million users who help us police reviews.
WOW, you have to admit, that is pretty darn impressive. SO, how was / is it possible that a ( obvious fake ) review that has such damaging consequences still gets approved by TripAdvisor, and even after the family contacted TripAdvisor, they still did not remove it!, does this mean that maybe Emma Shaw is “Full of it” or even a blatant liar!, or does it mean that TripAdvisor does not care at all about the consequences of their actions?
Among boasting about their authentic content, their more than 25 sophisticated filters, their team of detectives, and their community of over 60 million policing users, they like to boast how “Transparent” they are. We really appreciate that, and it would not be fair to post all the above, and the below without giving TripAdvisor the chance to respond.
We contacted TripAdvisor with this article, and asked if they would like to comment / respond to it. As of yet, we have not heard back from them, but we understand that they are very busy combating fake reviews, so we will leave this space open, and as soon as they get back to us, we will post their response below.
When it comes to the internet, no one knows what the laws are, even seasoned lawyers have not got a clue. Freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, defamation, defamation of character, libel, slander etc. etc.. they are all in a grey area when it comes to the internet. Luckily for TripAdvisor, because in the “Brick & Mortar” media, TripAdvisor would not last 2 seconds!.
The good news is, that it is just a matter of time before the internet laws catch up with the “real world” laws, and it is without a doubt that TripAdvisor will be nothing like we know it today, and to be honest, we doubt they will be able to ride the wave.
In a real world these below reviews would never have been printed in a newspaper or magazine, or broadcast on TV. Now don’t get us wrong, we believe that everyone should have the right to share ideas, thoughts experiences etc on the internet or any other form of media. However Defamation of Character is a VERY serious issue with huge consequences, and once it is on the internet, its almost impossible to remove it, even if the original source removes it, others would have blogged about it, and shared it on numerous social networking sites etc..
For example, TripAdvisor did remove the disgusting review they had posted for more than a year claiming an innocent father of 3 was a pedophile. However even though the review has gone, it is still on the internet. If in the future the person in question applies for a new job, or a mortgage or other loan, or even the neighbors just doing an online search, will see him linked to being a Pedophile, all thanks to TripAdvisor posting an unvalidated review from an unvalidated reviewer.
As mentioned, the internet laws are changing fast, and there are THOUSANDS of examples of reviews that are destroying reputations and lives. Soon, very soon TripAdvisor have a HUGE legal problem on their hands, while TripAdvisor continues to destroy lives, groups of people are preparing to destroy TripAdvisor. Is TripAdvisor here to stay?.. we doubt it very much, their hole has been dug, they are standing in front of it, now all they need is a push…
Who is to blame here? the reviewer or TripAdvisor
they are both to blame, however it is TripAdvisor that is doing the damage. They are offering ANYBODY a means / platform to post life damaging reviews like the above. Nor the reviewer or the review has been validated. We are not talking about the soup being cold, or the pillows being too soft, we are talking about innocent people being accused of being a pedophile, or rapist, drug addicts, sexual predators and mentally deranged. Also honest people trying to make a decent living are having their business trashed online, more than often by the competition. Owners are being blackmailed and threatened for goods and services, or else face damaging reviews like the ones above.
Is this what TripAdvisor started out to be?.. absolutely not, the TripAdvisor concept was and is brilliant, however like everything else you have to adapt and make changes along the way. TripAdvisor has grown too big for their boots, they have become extremely arrogant and self centered. Yes, the concept is great, but the execution of the concept is very outdated, and it will be their downfall. But there will always be someone else to take over..