TripAdvisor Under Investigation
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has confirmed that it will be investigating the popular travel review site, TripAdvisor after thousands of complaints from hoteliers.
TripAdvisor has regularly found itself in the public eye following claims that many of its reviews are untrustworthy and malicious and therefore compromise the social media strategy and online reputation of UK brands and hotel businesses.
Advertising Code Breach?
Rather than investigate the authenticity and honesty of individual reviews, the ASA will investigate whether TripAdvisor is in breach of the advertising code. The company claims that, “you’ll find real hotel reviews you can trust at TripAdvisor” – and the company will have to provide evidence to support such claims.
The ASA investigation was triggered after reputation management experts KwikChex filed a complaint on behalf of thousands of hoteliers.
The company claims that epidemic levels of abuse, flaws and distortion are being rebutted at present only with standard statements from TripAdvisor repeating clams of diligence and trustworthiness – and a formal investigation by an independent body is needed to objectively review the evidence on both sides.
In a statement, KwikChex claimed that, “in addition, the process of challenging the ‘immunity’ that has been claimed by TripAdvisor under section 230 of the communications decency act is now nearly complete and we believe that when all the evidence is viewed together, there is a strong case that will demonstrate they are no innocent bystander.”
Could this be the beginning of the end for TripAdvisor? Certainly, it will force user-generated review websites to more vigorously identify and remove misleading, fake and defamatory reviews posted about hotels and restaurants.