September 05, 2011

TripAdvisor’s fake reviews sickness goes critical

TripAdvisor is now officially under investigation by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority. The formal investigation has reportedly been launched on the heels of complaints TripAdvisor’s reviews problems have reached monumental levels.

What the allegations and the investigations are leading to, is that reviews on sites like ‘TripAdvisor, without some kind of viable safeguards - well, such reviews are worthless. In the case of TripAdvisor in particular, no reviews means no TripAdvisor. If the ASA finds against TripAdvisor – the “spun off” Expedia ad monster may be doomed. Detractors will say, Expedia and TripAdvisor had time to fix this.

News from the Wall Street Journal may suggest Expedia already started distancing themselves from TripAdvisor and the potential negative backlash. CFO Michael Adler will be leaving Expedia once the TripAdvisor “‘spin-off” is completed. For the reader who is behind the curve on fake reviews and the online credibility issue, concern has been ongoing since the FTC began looking into sponsored reviews of products. “Reviews you can trust” may have just set online travel back a few years. But, there’s a bigger problem.

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