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How Do People Get Away With Writing False Reviews On TripAdvisor - Tips And Tricks To Beat The System

Updated on March 17, 2012

False Reviews On TripAdvisor

In this day and age, almost everyone will do a little research online before booking a hotel, or making plans for their holidays. TripAdvisor is by far the most popular website offering online reviews, and most people trust that what they see on TripAdvisor is fairly accurate. The reality is that potentially almost half of what is written on TripAdvisor, and similar review websites, is not authentic reviews from non biased sources, but shill posts from business owners, and in some cases negative reviews posted by competitors. These false reviews have become such an issue that the government of The United Kingdom recently forced TripAdvisor to remove their slogan "reviews that you can trust", from their website, replacing it with the slogan: "reviews from our community". TripAdvisor has issued statements assuring us that they are working with some of the leading online security firms to eliminate any fraudulent reviews, and they are confident that they have the situation under control. The problem with that is, the hackers are always one step ahead of those who are trying to track them, in this article we will discuss the techniques used to identify false reviews, and how people get around this and abuse the system.

Online Identity Tracking
Below are a list of the most common methods used to track the identity of online visitors to a website, it is easy enough to beat the system if you know what it is that they are looking for. These techniques are used rather unsuccessfully by not only TripAdvisor, but also: Paypal, eBay, Facebook and others.

- This is the easiest way to identify you, websites can log your IP address each time you log in, and they will be able to see exactly what you are up to. Hackers will get around this by using free public WIFI, or by using a proxy, or a modem that generates new IP addresses for each connection.

2: FLASH COOKIES - The use of cookies as a method of tracking users is similar to using your IP address, only it is your browser that gives them the information. They plant cookies on your browser in order to act as a beacon each time you use their website. This is avoidable by using a different windows user account for each time you log on, and or using a variety of different browsers such as Firefox, IE, Chrome etc.

3: EMAIL ADDRESS - This is pretty straight forward, if you use the same name, email address, DOB or any other personal details, most websites will be able to match your details with other accounts. Hackers will use a variety of fake email addresses, carefully using a new one each time they write a review.

4: DUPLICATE CONTENT - If you try to cut and paste text using the same word for word description, whether it be a positive or negative review, or any other written content, this will be identified immediately by their security software.

5: UNUSUAL ACTIVITY - An unusual increase in activity will always send red flags to security monitors, this could be a sudden increase in sales on eBay, adding too many friends on Facebook, or in the case of TripAdvisor, writing several reviews for the same company in a short period of time.


While it is clear that many of the reviews on TripAdvisor are false, and there is no way to verify which are real or fake, this doesn't mean TripAdvisor is useless. Those who write fake reviews still have no control over those who write true reviews, and with a little common sense, many of the false reviews will likely be easy to spot. For example, if a hotel is getting great reviews from a variety of users, and then all of a sudden there are a few negative reviews, you might have to wonder about their legitimacy, especially if they lack believable detail. In the same respect, if a company has received less than favorable reviews consistently over a period of time, and then get a burst of great reviews, saying "this place rocks", or "simply the best", without offering detail as to why .. you would have to wonder.

What Do You Think?

How Accurate Is TripAdvisor?

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    • profile image

      Arm 3 years ago

      What a charming and weel-managed guest-house! Many thkans to everyone at Ca' Amadi for making our visit comfortable and pleasant.Marta, George and Alexandra from California August 2012

    • profile image

      Jon 3 years ago

      Dear valentina,thank you for a woufrednl, but too short, stay in your beautiful Ca' Amadi in gorgeous Venice. We must come back and visit again, for longer next time.Lisa, Sarah and Julia Chung from Texas August 1st, 2012

    • tanveerbadyari profile image

      tanveerbadyari 5 years ago

      Trip advisor is a ORM website where people search hotels reviews or information before booking or going to that place. before few years it had a very accurate reviews as it was known to less people. now it has become a platform for spammers. Any one can login there and launch reviews under fake names. about 70% of this website reviews are not genuine. either posted by hoteliers or their friends,families knowing the importance of clients they will generate based on these reviews.

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      If you think that the courts of the United Kingdom forced a company like TripAdvisor to change their slogan over 1 false review, then you are quite naïve. You can call my opinion an unproven theory if you like, some people would say the same thing about evolution.. There is a mountain of proof that indicates a large percentage of reviews on TripAdvisor are false, of course nobody can say for sure the exact percentage, but an estimate of roughly 50% is not all that far fetched.

    • profile image

      bored 6 years ago

      presumably if it could be proved that even 1 review was questionable then they could be asked to change their slogan. {quote} - The reality is that almost half of what is written on TripAdvisor and similar review websites, is not authentic reviews from non biased sources, but shill posts from business owners, {end quote} Stating that 50%ish of reviews are fake is your opinion and unsubstantiated. Also, if you are of the opinion the people writing false reviews on trip advisor is a bad thing then why tell everyone how to go about doing it?

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia


      You're still not using your real name, and you aren't making any sense either. I can assure you that I just don't pull things out of a hat, I do my research, which is a lot more that you can say for yourself. Here is an article in the NY Times, give it a read :

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      So who is "making it up"? Myself, TripAdvisor or the British Government? The fact is that they are legally not allowed to use the slogan "reviews that you can trust", I am fairly certain that a certain amount of evidence was presented in order for the courts to come to this decision.

    • profile image

      bored 6 years ago

      so if you can't prove it you just make it up so it sounds good..?

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      I love it when those who criticize have not got the guts to use their real name. There are no statistics to prove that any percentage of TripAdvisor reviews are either accurate or false, this is exactly why the UK government has forced them to remove the slogan "reviews that you can trust". I think this legal action against TripAdvisor is proof enough to suggest that there is a legit concern that a significant amount of their reviews are not legitimate. If they were able to prove otherwise, they wouldn't have stopped using their slogan .. think about it!

    • profile image

      bored 6 years ago

      What proof do you have for your statistics? care to share?

      While some reviews may not be legit I think suggesting the 50% of them are bogus is massively exaggerated. But I guess it makes a good article!


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