TripAdvisor trapped once again

2 min reading time

Published on 08/07/15 - Updated on 17/03/22


An Italian newspaper invented a restaurant to test the online opinion site, which was more than lured into the trap, appointing the fake establishment as the best address in top rankings.

This is a new blow to the reliability of the reviews posted on TripAdvisor. The community site fell into the trap set by the Italian newspaper Tavola, which invented a restaurant in Moniga del Garda. A month after the publication of the profile of the fake establishment and ten positive reviews, the fictive Ristorante Scaletta ended up in the ranking of the best restaurants in the Lombard town, ahead of another restaurant with over 300 favorable reviews.

TripAdvisor was once again singled out due to the lack of verification of the information published on its platform by users, in regard to both the reviews and even the very existence of establishments. In this matter, the website had already been condemned by the Italian competition authority to pay a 500,000 Euro fine for making consumers believe that the comments published on the site all emanated from tourists while some were posted by professionals.

This is not the first time that TripAdvisor has recommended dubious addresses. After classifying a hotel for the homeless in its Top 100 in the UK, the platform made headlines for suggesting another nonexistent restaurant. This first trap was set for the community site by a British businessman who was annoyed by the site's unreliable comments.

In its defense, the spokesperson for the American company told The Independent newspaper that "It is a pretty meaningless experiment to create a fake listing or reviews just to try and catch us out. We have been tracking reviews for well over a decade, so we can spot what is normal reviewer behavior and what isn't- that is how we catch fraud".

Also read:

  • TripAdvisor under fire in Italy
  • TripAdvisor: walking the line between opinion and libel, on voth side og the Atlantic
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