Tim Hughes is a respected blogger from Australia who writes for Orbitz’ site. He comes out swinging in a post about one of the travel web’s 800 pound gorillas…Trip Advisor. Like we all used to do with Professional wrestling, we ask…”Is it real or made up?” Phocuswright analyzed a key problem with these hotel review sites…nobody can really effectively check their truthiness.
Hughes cites an ironic example on the entertaining TripAdvisor We’re Not Making This Up Blog (in the post called “Exactly”) where an irate hotel DOS is complaining that all of the reviews he is writing for his own hotel are being pulled down.
What is missing is independent confirmation that the customer actually stayed in the hotel. My view is that these three steps are not enough. Technology and human review will simply not be enough to screen out the “gamers”. The only way to be truly clear of fraud is for TripAdvisor to move to a “no stay, no say” rule. A means of verifying that the person writing the review has stayed at the hotel. This could be achieved though a combination of approaches such as a feature like the Amazon Real Name service, using the enormous amounts of transaction and searching data that the Expedia Inc empire collects, drawing on information from advertising partners and other verification mechanisms.”