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Which TripAdvisor Reviews Should You Trust?


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Saturday, December 4, 2010 — (ABC News: Travel) –


By LAURA BLY
USA TODAY



NEW YORK





Consider the numbers being tossed around at a first-ever workshop to help U.S. hoteliers make the most of TripAdvisor.com:




A decade after its launch, the world’s most popular travel site draws 5 million visitors a day who contribute an average of 21 comments and photos per minute in 19 languages. The site includes more than 40 million reviews and opinions, most of them directed at 450,000 lodgings worldwide, and its travel forums are so popular that 98% of posted topics receive replies within 24 hours.



No wonder, then, that TripAdvisor’s “wisdom of the crowd” has become “a big factor in people’s decisions to stay with us,” says workshop attendee Stacey James, reservations manager at New York’s Hotel 41. The travel industry’s 800-pound gorilla “is mentioned at every staff meeting,” she adds.



At the same time, its anonymity and increasing clout have sparked suspicion from both hotels and their guests.



TripAdvisor, which partners with USA TODAY on reader surveys, requires a valid e-mail address but not a poster’s real name or proof of stay, and the Expedia-owned site now encompasses 17 other travel brands from Airfarewatchdog.com to Virtualtourist.com.



Among the most recent pushbacks: A British reputation management company, KwikChex, is threatening a two-pronged defamation action against TripAdvisor and individual commenters on the site. It charges that unnamed and unverified reviewers have unfairly accused its hospitality clients of criminal actions, from assault to racial discrimination.



KwikChex and others argue that TripAdvisor is more than a neutral distributor by promoting such roundups as “hotel horror stories” and “top 10 dirtiest hotels.”



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“These (user review) sites are massively abused by rogue posters attacking reputable people and businesses, and by unscrupulous businesses posting fake good reviews to dupe consumers and boost search-engine results,” says KwikChex owner Chris Emmons.



To view the original article, click here: http://feeds.abcnews.com/click.phdo?i=4d90820eadb99c4f0f759dcf98c112c3


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