Recently TripAdvisor contacted me to verify that I authored an unfavorable, three star review five years ago. They gave me two weeks to respond or else my review would be removed from their site. That’s right, before I questioned Trip Advisor’s authenticity I was a frequent contributor.
So why, 5 years later, has TripAdvisor questioned my review?
- The email indicated that the verification process is random. Having never received such an email, however, I’m frankly suspicious about whether that is true.
- I noticed that the hotel I wrote about has responded to virtually all negative reviews. Is it possible they asked TripAdvisor to authenticate mine?
Too little, too late.
I can appreciate that, just perhaps, TripAdvisor is making this effort in order to attempt at least some form of verification. After all, if you write fake reviews, you may have some trouble keeping up with all of the different email addresses in order to respond timely and thus keep the post active.
Here’s what I suggest TripAdvisor do:
– Implement a Real Name feature like we see on Amazon reviews. This requires that the reviewer confirm his/her identity with a credit card.
– Link reviewers to their hotel booking if their stay was booked on an Expedia site.
Why won’t TripAdvisor clean up its act?
There appears to be far more financial value in quantity of visitors and reviews than in having a virtually assured review authenticity.
While consumer generated content (reviews) have definitely changed travel, reviews simply will not be trustworthy unless a credible identity verification process is in place. Until then, TripAdvisor reviews will remain corrupted by the travel industry, and thus I suggest using them with a great deal of scrutiny and skepticism.