TripAdvisor and Yelp, two of the biggest names in crowdsourced reviews, say that Google is using its position as the dominant online search engine to push Google-backed reviews ahead of links to review sites. [More]
Things Are Looking Up For Federal Law Banning “Gag Clauses” That Prevent Customers From Writing Honest Reviews
While most companies understand that honest negative feedback is, at worst, an inevitability of doing business, and maybe even a chance to improve, some companies try to use non-disparagement, or “gag,” clauses that use threats of legal action or financial penalties to prevent customers from writing or saying anything negative about that business — even if what’s being said is 100% true. We’ve seen these in everything from cheapo cellphone accessories, to wedding contractors, to hotels, to dentists, to weight-loss products, to apartment complexes. California recently enacted a law banning this sort of behavior, and some courts have deemed these clauses unenforceable, but there is still no nationwide consensus on their legality. Previous attempts to create a federal ban on gag clauses have been dead on arrival at Capitol Hill, but the latest effort appears to have some life to it. [More]
It’s no secret that some airlines have little love for online travel-booking sites. Southwest only lets travelers book fares directly through the airline and Delta has cut ties with a number of booking/listing sites, including TripAdvisor. The airline industry claims that booking directly will get consumers the lowest prices on airfare, but is that true? [More]
Travelers often turn to travel websites to search for the cheapest fares and quickest flights out there, but a group of more than a dozen sites now says Delta Air Lines has shut them out, and is keeping its data to itself.
Many consumers look at crowdsourced reviews on TripAdvisor or Yelp and understand there is a possibility that a review could be bogus. Sites like these generally have methods for detecting and blocking fake write-ups, but regulators in Italy say that TripAdvisor isn’t doing enough to stop the faux reviews and has to pay up or enact stricter policies. [More]
A couple visiting the English seaside town of Blackpool only paid about $57 for their one-night hotel stay, but when they slammed the place with a TripAdvisor review that called it a “rotten, stinking hovel,” the hotel hit back with a $157 fine. [More]
We know that the proper response of a business to a bad online review shouldn’t be to post their own fake positive ones, or to fine wedding hosts for the bad reviews by their invited guests. Yet what should the proper response be when someone expresses dissatisfaction with your business…or when you take over a business with a history of bad reviews? [More]
The relative anonymity of online review sites makes it tempting to vent one’s anger toward a company in an over-the-top way, but does the use of a screen name prevent you from being held liable for making knowingly false claims? One hotel in Oregon says no, and is suing an unknown TripAdvisor reviewer to prove that point.
You might be the coolest person you know, but are you listed among your city’s top tourist attractions? Didn’t think so. But one woman in Scotland had at least temporary bragging rights as the 87th best attraction in Glasgow after a mix-up on TripAdvisor yesterday. [More]
So, you’re planning a much-needed vacation to a beautiful destination, but you don’t know any of the hotels in the area. You do like most consumers and turn to online review sites like TripAdvisor or Expedia. But are these hotel sites really trustworthy? [More]
Christopher is supposed to be traveling right now. If he did manage to schedule his trip, he didn’t do it through TripAdvisor. That’s because as far as TripAdvisor is concerned, yesterday never happened. If he were trying to schedule on February 29, 2013, they would have a point, but there is a June 30 pretty much every year. [More]
Earlier today, we told you about the Texas hotel that offered guests up to $5 if they posted positive reviews on any number of popular travel sites. A rep for the hotel has since responded to say that this was a case of an overzealous employee acting on their own. [More]
Here’s a tip to hotel managers around the world — Paying for reviews is bad enough. Advertising that you’re willing to pay for positive feedback is only going to communicate to your guests that you run a bad hotel and that you expect them to not have anything nice to say about your establishment. [More]
TripAdvisor has fallen afoul of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s rule about fare advertising, resulting in a fine of $80,000. The rule went into effect in January, and stated that ticket agents and airlines must display fares as the total of what a consumer will pay, taxes and fees included.
Well, this is depressing. Travel review site TripAdvisor has chosen to abandon the genius idea of releasing a “Dirtiest Hotels in America” list. Why? They want to “focus on the positive.” What the hell? Who wants to read about a bunch of clean hotels full of happy people? Bah humbug!
It’s no secret that hotels put bogus user reviews of themselves on sites like TripAdvisor, but usually they’re more discreet than this. TripAdvisorWatch found an example of an owner of several hotels in Hanoi posting on freelancer.com under his real name asking “if anyone can teach me the way to write reviews on this forum in which my reviews can not be found as fake and be removed.”