...some of the 700 or so members of the hospitality business who have either committed to, or are contemplating, legal action against TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel review site, over what they regard as unfair reports...While there could be some "sour grapes" responses from establishments getting mixed or bad reviews, it seems possible that if there are a limited number of establishments in a town or resort area, someone wanting to help their own situation could leave bad reviews for their competitors.
The Guardian spoke this week to a hotelier in the south-west of England who said he believed his business had been targeted on TripAdvisor by a sacked member of staff. The unfavourable review claimed the person had been bitten by fleas and seen rats...
Central to any case will be whether TripAdvisor, based in Newton, Massachusetts, and a part of the online travel firm Expedia, can be held liable as its business is based on publishing user-generated content – the opinions of others...
...a spokeswoman [for TripAdvisor] said: "We believe our more than 35m reviews and opinions are authentic and honest from real travellers, which is why we enjoy tremendous user loyalty and growth. If the reviews people read didn't paint an accurate picture users would not keep coming back." All reviews were screened by online tools and "quality assurance specialists" investigated "suspicious" ones. Hoteliers had the chance to post a response to reviews. TripAdvisor said it advised travellers to disregard the "anomalies that appear overly critical or overly complimentary".
24 September 2010
Hotels and B&Bs may sue TripAdvisor
Excerpts from the story at The Guardian: