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We are recieving loads of Emails from people that have interesting stories to tell about TripAdvisor. The email below was sent to us a few days ago, and although we have had numerous messages telling us that TripAdvisor can be payed off to have certain reviews smudged, this message offers us more and detailed info.
To whom it may concern.
I am following your site with interest, and would like to share an experience I had with tripadvisor 2 years ago.
Between 1998-2009 I owned a small hotel in the heart of Bristol. At the time we were #4 in Bristol. We had I believe about 80+ excellent reviews on tripadvisor, and a hand full of “Good” and “OK” reviews. In 2006 we suddenly received 2 “terrible” reviews back to back.The reviews were clearly either a mistaken identity, or a purpose lie from someone who had never stayed here, because they mentioned a “filthy bath”, and “cold microwave meals for dinner” We did not have any bath tubs, just showers, and we did not offer any food at all. At first I ignored the reviews, but I noticed that we dropped from #4 to # 11 I contacted tripadvisor, asking them to please remove the reviews, seeing as it was clearly not true, I received one email back from them that said the reviews would stay, telling me that most people would look beyond the 2 negative reviews, and see all the positive reviews. i wrote back again twice, stating that the reviews were not true, and I did not potential customers to read this about my hotel.. I never heard back from them. That was until I got a strange email about 2 weeks later.
The email came from someone who claimed to know someone at tripadvisor who could do me and my hotel “favors” for a small fee. How small the fee was, was not mentioned, and I was very doubtful about the whole email. I replied to the email ( that was a Yahoo address ) asking how small was a “small fee” and how could I be certain they could be trusted.
In the reply I got, they would replace the two negative reviews for 2 positive reviews, and make sure any negative reviews in the future would not get posted, or be removed if they did get posted. All of this for £200 A YEAR! To convince me they were genuine, and could be trusted, they told me they would add “Although the bed was comfortable” to one of the bad reviews, and as promised, within 3 days it was added to the review. It was indeed an insider behind this.
I took the plunge and sent £200 to a PO Box in Edgeware London, and true to their word, my 2 bad reviews became excellent reviews, and I never received another bad review, and I never received any emails from this person.
A year passed and I expected to get “another bill” but it never came.
I sold the hotel in 2009 still with zero bad reviews.
I am sending you this information, because I agree with you, that tripadvisor should act more on making sure the truth gets posted not lies. Even after sending tripadvisor solid proof that the person who wrote our bad reviews were making things up, they still refused to remove the reviews. Lies like this can be very damaging.
For me it was a well spent £200, and there is no doubt in my mind I was not the only one paying for this favor.