Trip Advisor number one rated restaurant in London is only a website

The only problem was that the restaurant didn’t exist. It’s only a website made up by a blogger.

When planning a trip, most people rely on travel review websites such as Trip Advisor to see how tour companies, hotels or restaurants stack up. Years ago, reviews were the domain of those who did this for a living or were involved in the travel industry, but today regular folks write most online reviews.

The system has become more democratic, or at least that’s the theory. We don’t have to rely on travel agents, guidebook authors and other so-called experts to tell us what’s hot and what’s not. We can also tap into the experiences of ordinary travelers who have done the trip or stayed at the hotel. But when anyone and everyone can write reviews, often anonymously, how reliable is the information?

The simple answer is that we don’t know. Was that negative review justified, or was it done by a  complainer who is seldom satisfied with anything? Was the “everything was perfect” review done by a happy-go-lucky guy who never complains? Even people with the best intentions may not get the facts straight.

Sometimes it gets sinister. A positive or negative rating on Trip Advisor can make or break a travel-related business, so there’s tremendous pressure to be portrayed in the best possible light. While most reputable businesses play by the rules, the anonymous nature of the online world makes it relatively easy to cheat. A hotel owner might get several friends to send glowing reviews to Trip Advisor and even negative reports about the competition. Shady companies may provide services to boost a travel company’s rating through fake reviews.

While such fraudulent practices aren’t allowed and companies involved are penalized if found out, the chances of getting caught are slim enough that it remains a problem. Trip Advisor even indicates on its site that it does not fact-check reviews, authenticate a reviewer’s name, or verify that a reviewer stayed in the hotel.

When the story of the scam broke, it caused quite a fuss and called into question the integrity of online review sites.

The website of this restaurant used to get the Trip Advisor listing is still active

Here is a link to this incredible story on the Washington Post

Are you part of this story?

  • Add this story to our main publication, eTurboNews, to be seen by up to 2 Million readers and submitted to major search engines, news aggregators, newsletters, social media, syndication, audio, and language translations. Click here

Leave a Comment