Tripadvisor has been under sharp fire for a while regarding so-called fake reviews on their website and this week the British watchdog ASA has forced the company to remove their slogan, “Reviews you can trust”, from their website.
For years their brand mission has been all about providing “real reviews” from their users. Slogans such as, “reviews you can trust” and “reviews from real travellers” were spotlighted across their site . However, in September 2011, the British watchdog ASA started to investigate claims of fake reviews on Tripadvisor; the result was that the company’s ‘review’ claims were found to be misleading and their slogan rapidly changed to “reviews from our community” .
Tripadvisor receives 50 million online visitors per month and in 2010 achieved revenues of $ 486 million. For years the company has enjoyed an important leading status in the travel industry. In total they own 30 websites in 21 languages and has over 20 million members. The company has managed to create an immense travel community, enjoying an equally immense revenue.
Read also: Can you trust Tripadvisor?
The company KwikChex Ltd. and two unnamed hotels are behind the complaint to ASA; the case has received much attention, especially in the British travel market. The complainants claim that Tripadvisor is misleading consumers, and that many of the so-called ‘real’ reviews from travellers are actually not real at all, but fake.
It is also suggested that some travel businesses submit fake reviews about their competitors in order to harm their business and other cases suggest that guests blackmailed hotel owners with the threat that they would add bad reviews to Tripadvisor if they did not get a price reduction.
This weeks ruling from the British Watchdog ASA declares that you can’t necessarily trust the reviews on Trip Advisor and the world’s largest travel site just lost a serious amount of credibility.
The decision from the Watchdog ASA is only valid on the UK’s website, however it has prompted Tripadvisor to remove the ‘blacklisted’ slogans from all their websites.