Is Expedia Censoring Negative Reviews?

Christopher Elliott has an interesting post about an Expedia customer ran into trouble getting his negative review posted to the site. Bob, the customer in question, says:

Expedia flatly refused to post my review. I have followed their rules, but they have repeatedly told me they won’t post it because I’m not following the rules. They will not tell me which rule I didn’t follow.

I firmly believe Expedia has a policy to not post unflattering reviews of properties they represent.

Bob’s review concerned a dispute with the hotel over amenities and accused Expedia itself of inaccuracy. Expedia responded:

Due to the nature of the information he provided regarding inaccuracy on the hotel infosite (the information pages with detailed information about each ESR hotel we offer), his review was temporarily declined so that we could verify the information he provided and make necessary changes to infosite. His review was in queue for approval but has been expedited and should be up on the site.

It looks like Expedia treated this particular review as a complaint and checked it out before posting it, which seems reasonable.

Has anyone else run into trouble getting their negative reviews posted?


Is Expedia censoring negative comments about its resorts?
[Elliott]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. UpsetPanda says:

    I’ve seen plenty of scathing reviews on Expedia…I have seen some that, if truly effective, could drive away so many customers that a hotel might close down. But maybe, if this is true, Expedia is letting in a few poor reviews so it can pretend to be balanced?

  2. MercuryPDX says:

    it’s up there:

    [www.expedia.com]

    Search for “Bob L from Seattle”

    He gives it a 1, amidst a sea of 5’s (and one 4).

  3. snoop-blog says:

    @mercurypdx: that’s probably why they wanted to investigate before posting. maybe to make sure he wasn’t one of those impossible to please types.

  4. m4ximusprim3 says:

    It looks like expedia looked at his comment about their incorrect website, fixed their website, and then put up his comment.

    Not totally a bad thing, but would be nice to have an editors note stating that he’s not a nutjob and his points were valid at the time they were posted.

  5. Black Bellamy says:

    or disgruntled former desk clerk fired for pocketing day rates

  6. xamarshahx says:

    YES, when I was looking for a review for hotels in South Beach, Miami, all of their reviews were rosy while tripadvisor.com gave me the real deal. i always read the top reviews and the bottom review to find out whats really going on, along with checking the star rating. expedia never has completely negative reviews.

  7. JustAGuy2 says:

    @xamarshahx:

    FYI, expedia owns tripadvisor.

  8. GothamGal says:

    I’ve heard this before about Expedia, but I have never experienced this myself.

  9. Blue says:

    I once heard of a travel review website(sadly, I’ve forgotten it) which fanatically vets posts so as to avoid merchants spamming the reviews with positive, disingenuous posts. Maybe Consumerist can write an article to list which travel sites are best for genuine reviews.

  10. youbastid says:

    I’ve run in to trouble getting negative reviews posted on citysearch.com. I posted a very well written (and rule-abiding) negative review of a restaurant that got denied, twice. Positive reviews seemed to go right through, though.

  11. chiieddy says:

    I always do multiple searches for reviews on a property. Google often will have reviews from multiple sites linked up if you go to maps.google.com and search on the business as well.

    I even managed to find a hotel for my summer trip this year that doesn’t even do online reservations, but had very good reviews overall.

  12. BlondeGrlz says:

    We used the Travelocity reviews to find hotels for our trips to London and Paris. They were very helpful and accurate, and the hotels were exactly as they were described.

  13. rjhiggins says:

    In fairness, Expedia doesn’t generally include the really dumpy places, so you won’t find as many negatives. Whereas a Trip Advisor pretty much includes everything.

  14. Techie9 says:

    I found the same behavior on doctoroogle.com. I had a horrific experience with one dentist (which was confirmed by the oral surgeon) and tried to post a negative review. No matter how positive and even-handed I tried to make it, my overall negative review was not posted. The positive reviews that I had of the oral surgeon and another dentist were immediately posted.

  15. doe3001 says:

    Here is another customer complaining that EXPEDIA tried not to post negative reviews: [ed.gatzke.googlepages.com]

    Besides, they tried to scam me once. Read my case and hundreds more at: [www.expedianews.com]

  16. Geekybiker says:

    I wonder how much trip advisor checks out reviews. I’ve actually heard hotel employees admit they went on the site to post glowing reviews for themselves.

  17. mgyqmb says:

    The problem with these sites is that there is no coordination between them and the airlines/hotels. I booked a flight to Morocco through Spain using Orbitz, and when I randomly saw that my arrival time in DC on the home-bound leg was moved to 10 minutes before I was to get on another flight to St. Louis. I would have had to negotiate customs and the security check again to get to the plane. Which of course, can’t happen.

    I called to report this problem to Orbitz. First off, they do not speak english. It seems as though each of them has a strong mexican accent. Second, they told me that I needed to call Iberia, because Iberia changed the flight. Iberia told me to call American, because the flight technically was under their jurisdiction. American said my agent (Orbitz) needed to do it – you get the idea. With multiple airlines and a travel agent, it just makes the whole process unbearable.

    What really irks me is that Orbitz was considered, and bills themselves as “travel agents”, but they refuse to do any of the work!

    Argggh

  18. ldavis480 says:

    Expedia is owned by Microsoft, therefore I have a lifetime boycott in effect. Microsoft has a long sordid history of being a very unethical consumer unfriendly corporation in my opinion.

  19. mimigarg says:

    This happened to us last month. My negative report kept being rejected, with no real reason given. I kept rephrasing it to see what would work. Finally, taking the words “Expedia package deal” out seemed to push it through.
    ============================================
    Original review:
    Review Title: smoky rooms on non-smoking floor

    Hotel Review:
    We asked for a non-smoking room and the room we got on the “non-smoking” floor reeked of smoke. We had to call the front desk multiple times to get someone to come and try to get the smoky smell out of the room. The entire floor reeked of smoke as well. The front-desk staff was very unhelpful. Looks like this hotel has some renovated floors(the upper floors- we checked) but we got a room on the non-renovated floor.Its possible they reserve these rooms for people buying packages online from sites like Expedia. The only good thing about the hotel was its location. It is a few blocks from Robson street, and walking distance from hotels on Robson and Davie streets.
    ==========================================
    Accepted review:

    smoky rooms on non-smoking floor

    We asked for a non-smoking room and the room we got on the “non-smoking” floor reeked of smoke. We had to call the front desk multiple times to get someone to come and try to get the smoky smell out of the room. The entire floor reeked of smoke as well. The front-desk staff was very unhelpful. Looks like this hotel has some renovated floors(the upper floors- we checked) but we got a room on the non-renovated floor. The only good thing about the hotel was its location. It is a few blocks from Robson street, and walking distance from restaurants on Robson and Davie streets.
    Traveler’s tip on getting the most out of your stay

    The cafe across the road has good mochas and free wi-fi.

  20. whirlybird says:

    Mr. Elliott apparently censors the comments placed on his blog, as well. I think the term is “industry shill”.

  21. He says:

    I know newegg has bounced at least two of my bad reviews for no reason. I assumed because they were negative, but the site has a lot of negative reviews, so maybe because they were negative reviews of a clearance product.

  22. chiieddy says:

    @He: I’ve never had a problem with NewEgg. They’ve always seemed even handed and crappy reviews are all over the site.

  23. asten77 says:

    I did a hotel review once, it was mostly positive, with the only non-positive thing being that the hotel was undergoing renovation and some rooms were renovated and the un-renovated ones couldn’t be renovated soon enough. It was rejected, and when I inquired why – they have very specific rules, none of which I even flirted with – and they told me it must have been accidentally flagged and to resubmit it. Same thing happened again and I gave up.

  24. asten77 says:

    @LDAVIS480

    You should refrain from making such comments when you don’t know the facts. Expedia was originally started by Microsoft, but they spun it off in 1999. It was owned by another company until 2005, at which time it was spun off again and is currently a public company traded on NASDAQ under EXPE.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I think Expedia censors reviews. The other day I was searching for a particular hotel on Google and an Expedia listing came up. The wording on Google showed a negative review of the hotel, apparantly taken from the last time Google crawled the page. When I clicked on it, the Expedia page did not have the negative review posted anymore. It was simply not there. The negative review said something like “the amenities listed by expedia are actually not available at this hotel”. I found it interesting. If you want real reviews, I think Tripadvisor is the least biased.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Apparently Microsoft is still majority owner of Expedia. According to this from their website, anyhow.
    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1999/nov99/expediapr.mspx