One man wants to bring an end to the dark recess of the internet that is fake online reviews
Ah, the old TripAdvisor conundrum.
Once it was an indispensable tool for scoping out where to eat; it's now a system seriously open to unfair, hyper-exaggerated and, in some cases, even false reviews.
The idea? To pressure the site into enforcing a policy where users must scan a receipt of the restaurant they're reviewing. This will prove that they've actually been there and will hopefully stop rival eateries/disgruntled former employees/anyone with a grudge from dragging down ratings.
It's already got a fair bit of backing online: not least from Observer restaurant critic Jay Rayner.
Restaurant owners seem to be in favour, too:
Will it work?
But the people behind TripAdvisor haven't been too receptive. A spokesman for the company says: "If a verification model was better for consumers, we would have adopted it years ago. We have considered all the verification options out there and have elected to use our current model for one simple reason: the volume of opinions provides for the most in-depth coverage of consumer experience, and it is the model consumers prefer.
"We believe every experience counts, not just that of the person who paid the bill. For example, if four friends go out to dinner there will be four different opinions but under a verified model, only the person with the receipt would be able to leave a review.
"If we required people to submit a receipt, a lot of people who have had a genuine customer experience wouldn’t have a voice and that goes against what we stand for."
Hmmm. We do see their point.
They then go on to say: “Requiring a receipt to write a review also wouldn’t prevent the most common type of fraud — property boosting — as nobody has better access to receipts than a property owner themselves.”
Ah. OK … Not likely to change their minds soon, then?
What do you think? Should TripAdvisor be more closely monitored? Or would that stop too many people from sharing their experiences? Let us know on Twitter @Homemade.
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