I administer several travel websites – including accommodation properties – and each site has a unique email address. For the accommodation sites I get emails related to running a hotel business, including services that offer to post fake TripAdvisor reviews.
The emails are usually from a Gmail account with a name that doesn’t identify it to any company (of course). Here is the latest email I received offering to fake reviews:
Hope you’re doing well.
If you have travel holiday hotel Let me introduce you about TripAdvisor yelp.com reviewcentre.com a premium travel reviews site,most of people who travel worldwide first make a check out about hotels on this site.
Do you know how they choose Hotel & restaurants? They select upon reviews,the hotels or restaurants which have maximum positive reviews they select them as simple as that.
So what actually we do?
We provide review service, amazed you think you can also do that? Off course you can,but do you know if you submit reviews from same IP,TA will ban you & you won’t be able to submit more reviews.
We use different IP for each review,so they stay permanent & they won’t be deleted.
We charge $12 per review,reviews will be permanent as we’ll use different IPs for each time.
What we need to post a review.we’ll need following information for posting a review.
Ratings (There is rating from 1 star to 5 star)
Customer name (We’ll make email address from your customer’s name & then we’ll submit)
Month they visited.
If you want see an example of our review we can send you also.
Also in a month from an IP we can post only a single review, if we post second from same IP TA won’t approve it.
So we use different IPs to post them,therefore reviews stay permanently.
Let me know your thoughts about this.
Looking forward to have more work from you.:)
Note how the fake review even uses a real customers name and the time when they stayed there. What is the probability of a customer who never leaves a review of seeing their name on a fake review? If your hotel is from a small city, adding one paid fake review per week over a year can stack up to a top ranking hotel.
When I travel I enjoy meeting people who are regular travellers that have no affiliation with the travel industry or blogging. I ask what websites they use for research and if they read blogs. Tripadvisor is always a popular choice, which is not surprising given their total domination of the Google SERPs.
I remind them that ratings sites that use user-generated content for reviews are open to abuse. I will now point them to emails like this if there is further doubt about this claim.