TripAdvisor Barred from Claiming Reviews are Honest, Real
Hotelmarketing’s web site today broke news saying that a UK advertising “watchdog” ruled, that since TripAdvisor’s reviews can be posted with no form of verification, TripAdvisor “must no longer claim all of its reviews are honest or from real people.”
What can this possibly mean to a company whose entire reason for existence is based on reviews?
James Hall, Consumer Affairs editor at the Telegraph noted that the language the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority used was very strong, telling TripAdvisor, “not to claim or imply all the reviews on the website were from real travelers, or were honest, real or trusted.”
While the ruling “only” applies to TripAdvisor’s UK site, the implications for the company are enormous, likely resulting in other investigations, and certainly a loss of confidence in reviews in general and TripAdvisr’s in particular.
In defense, a TripAdvisor spokesperson said that an average traveler reads dozens of reviews before making a travel decision and that they “have confidence that the 50 million users who come to the site have confidence in the site which is why they keep coming back.”
TripAdvisor’s problems were triggered last year by reputation firm, Kwikchex and co-founder Chris Emmins, reports Tnooz. But, the site says, other rulings questioning the use of unverified testimonials in advertising will have broader implications and constitutes a very slippery slope.
For now, TripAdvisor is hitting back, hard. But the damage may be too much to contain, especially give theprevalence of fraudulent reviews across Internet sharing and review sites.