Once again, given how many of such emails we have received over the years, almost daily, it is a surprise that TripAdvisor has taken so long to promise action against such bogus companies! Kaufer added: ‘TripAdvisor will take the strongest action possible against these firms, as well as any property attempting to engage with these companies to distort the content available on TripAdvisor. It is common that owners have reported that once they engaged with these types of companies, they have been subjected to blackmail, extortion and financial fraud when they have tried to disengage from their services. Once you violate the law, you no longer have the protection of it – and the unscrupulous individuals involved in the optimisation industry know it’.
Obviously aimed at warning hospitality businesses to not deal with such bogus optimisation businesses, Kaufer warns: ‘The good news is that we’re very effective at catching them. Our investigation team uses advanced technology and investigation techniques similar to those used in the banking and finance industries to track the activity of optimisation companies all across the globe. TripAdvisor has a zero tolerance for fraud, in fact; so far in 2015 we identified, investigated and shut down more than 30 optimisation sites, and will continue to pursue these companies until they are no longer a risk to our community‘.
Using language that reminds one of the promises made by such bogus optimization companies, Kaufer writes: ‘We are tireless in our efforts because we know that, like us, most hospitality business owners want a clean system that allows every business to compete fairly. But we also know that with your help, we could be even more effective in shutting-down these businesses. This is where you come in’.
‘If you have been approached or contacted by a company offering to boost your ranking, provide content or reviews to your listing or any activity that would violate TripAdvisor’s policies, we would like to hear from you. Any information you provide, no matter how minor, can assist us in our investigations. All reports should be made to our Content Integrity team and will be investigated and kept confidential. With your help, we can continue to improve the service TripAdvisor provides to travelers‘, added Kaufer.
Whilst TripAdvisor sounds caring in sending the email, it has little credibility in waiting so many years to clean up its site and remove fraudulent reviews, something we and many others have written about for years! One can ask why only now TripAdvisor?!
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here